The Waiver Wire – For The Week of November 30th – December 6th
Better Than You Think
Tyler Bozak C, TOR – Every other fantasy GM’s mistake can be your win if you grab Tyler Bozak this instant. He has the lowest ownership rate (63%) of any first-line center in the league who also gets top line power play duty. He contributes in virtually every stat category – notably potting two shorthanded goals, two game-winning goals, and eight power play points. He’s money across the board, and yet, he gets virtually no respect. Yes, we’re aware the he doesn’t have the cache of a Ryan Getzlaf or Eric Staal, but he’s on pace this year to put up similar numbers (both have less points-per-game) while still remaining a free-agent in a large number of pools. His career progression has shown that this performance is not unexpected; if it weren’t for an injury last year, he would likely have approached the point-per-game threshold – this year is just a continuation. He’s better than you think, and showing it every game he plays. Do yourself a favor and pick him up.
David Perron W, EDM – When Perron was traded to Edmonton in the off-season two years ago, we were hopeful that his veteran presence and leadership would help turn around the Oilers’ fortunes. Fast-forward two years, and nothing of any substance has changed. Edmonton is still a bad team, and rumor has it that Perron has quietly requested a trade. Early prospects have a deal worked out with Columbus, but that hasn’t been made official yet. Any team that ends up getting Perron will get a 50-plus point player with a traditionally great plus-minus, and a good number of PIM – a fantastic second- or third-line addition to any play-off team that is gearing up for a deep post-season run. Fantasy GMs should pay close attention: if you excluded his plus-minus this season (-12), his point totals would have him in the late-100s in rank, rather than the mid-400s. A trade to a good team would put him back on pace for where he should be in his career.
John Klingberg D, DAL – Seemingly from out of nowhere, Klingberg has landed in the NHL in a big way. Coach Lindy Ruff has thrown the young Swede into the fire – playing him on average 23 minutes a game in his first nine NHL games – and has received immediate results. Klingberg has eight points, and has looked far more mature than his 22 years. His success in among the top four rearguards on the team has also netted him time atop the first line power play; ironically, that has been slow to assist his production, only accounting for one point of the eight. He’s also a responsible plus-five in those nine games, and even contributes with six PIM. What we may be seeing here is an early breakthrough, and with ownership numbers in the high 20s, if you’re in a deep league, we would advise grabbing him.
Matt Beleskey W, ANA – The young Duck has put up some impressive consistency this year, recording ten goals and two assists in 24 games. Important to note is that he hasn’t had a stretch of longer than four games without a point, which he only did once. It’s also interesting to note that, where he was more of a playmaker in previous years, netting far more assists than goals, this year, he’s the finisher on whatever line he happens to be playing on. These days, he’s riding atop the big Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry line, a favorite position of ours for recommendations. He’s also playing on the first line power play unit, and doing fairly well in that spot, recording three power play goals amongst his ten. With an ownership rate of 19%, he’s a wise investment in many mid- to deep-level pools.
Steve Downie W, PIT – It’s a rarity in the league to see goons with scoring ability; the ability to pound the scoresheet or someone else’s face is something that few in the league have. Fantasy GMs love to have guys like this because PIM categories are hard to secure week-over-week without taking large sacrifices in point producers. While he’ll certainly never be mistaken for his teammate Sidney Crosby, his ten points this year put him second in the league in scoring for players who have more than 50 PIM so far; only Antoine Roussel is better with 12 points and 53 PIM. He’s also owned in only high-30% of leagues, so he’s also remarkably available. Any mid-depth team with PIM as a category should be clamoring over themselves to add Downie with his double-threat ability. Ignore this advice at your own peril.
Kris Versteeg W, CHI – After winning a Cup with Chicago in 2009-2010, Versteeg has bounced around the league, never really finding another home like he did with the Blackhawks the first time around. Stops in Toronto, Philadelphia, and Florida were all fruitless, with him finding early success, then petering out to eventually finding himself on a bus out of the city. His latest stint in the Windy City seems to have stuck; his current assignment has him on the second line with Brad Richards and Patrick Kane, resulting in 16 points in 19 games, including top line power play time and three PPP to show for it. His ownership rate of 30% is sure to go up in the coming weeks as his exposure and press grows – he’s been quite good this year, and it doesn’t look like simply a hot streak. His game log is consistent, and of late, he has nine points in six games. He’s a great addition to any mid-depth team.
Jason Demers D, DAL – Dallas seems to have made off like bandits in the trade with San Jose; in addition to picking up a valuable draft pick, they also have added Demers to their top four. His addition to the lineup has immediately paid dividends, recording two points in his first three games including a power play goal. We were fans of his in San Jose, especially in his quarterbacking of the PP units he was a part of. His ability to step in while Brent Burns was moved to forward was key to their success last year. Dallas now has the benefit of his puck movement skills – and wise GMs should add him in deep pools. His ownership rates are low (31%) and his potential for power play points on what should be a potent unit should make him a good risk to take.
Colin Wilson W, NAS – While he’s never put up significant fantasy numbers in any of his previous years, Wilson seems to have taken the instructions from coach Peter Laviolette to heart. He’s started to think more offensively, and has been rewarded with additional ice time and power play responsibility. In his last six games, Wilson has two goals and three assists to accompany a plus-six rating. He’s also shooting more – recording 16 shots in those games. While we’re not sure what his long-term prognosis is, he’s worth a watch at this point. Nashville is a hot team right now, and Wilson’s contributions are a reason for their success. Flag him for follow up in the coming weeks.
Tomas Jurco W, DET – While still young at 21 years old, Jurco, like many of the other Detroit prospects, is still an unknown quantity. Where Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar burst on the scene to rave reviews, Jurco has been slower to develop. In his last eight games, he’s recorded two goals and four assists to go along with a plus-four and four PIM – following a traditional Red Wing template of hard defensive play and timely scoring. We’ve watched him a number of times, and he seems to be ready to really break out of his youthful shell, and into a solid two-way player that can contribute with 50 points and a solid plus-minus. Put a flag on him and watch him over the next few weeks; we think this scoring trend may be an indicator of what we can expect in the coming years.
Stephen Weiss C, DET – The Detroit center had a season to forget last year, and one that he’s trying diligently to ensure that others forget as well. This season also didn’t start well, with Weiss missing most of the start with a groin injury. With him only playing 25 games in the last two years, and less than 50 in the last three, little was expected as he returned from his conditioning stint in Grand Rapids. In a wonderful surprise, he has five points in three games patrolling the left wing with linemates Darren Helm and Johan Franzen. While it is still far too early to recommend investing for most GMs, Weiss was a coveted player, twice hitting the 60 point mark in his career. If he could find some of that spark while a part of the Red Wings, he could be a fantastic pickup in deep leagues. Keep an eye on him – his ownership rate is at 5%, but that could double or triple overnight if he keeps this up.
Darcy Kuemper G, MIN – We are huge fans of Minnesota, and the potential they have to become a force in a very powerful Western conference. Coach Mike Yeo has that team organized and well trained; something we wish we could say about our beloved Leafs. Their biggest weakness right now has been in net. While Kuemper’s record has been reasonable at 10-7-3, he’s been wholly inconsistent; in his last ten games, he’s allowed three goals or more four times, and was pulled once after allowing two goals on his first two shots. Contrast that against his performance to start the year, where he posted back-to-back shutouts against Colorado, and you have a situation where the Wild may be regretting their waiving of Josh Harding. In the interim, we would recommend benching Kuemper against any reasonable team, and instead, spot starting him against weaker opponents.