Every week, we’ll mine the waiver wire for widely-available assets to help your fantasy hockey squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft format, and we’ll also toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who might be overvalued — in the short or long term — for one reason or another.
Atkinson admittedly doesn’t truly qualify for this space, as he is rostered in more than two-thirds of ESPN leagues, but we’re making an exception, pointing to a potential end to the winger’s dry spell. The 28-year-old was a healthy scratch just the other night against the visiting Arizona Coyotes, but he is back in the lineup on a forward unit with Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner. That trio has enjoyed its fair share of success. Sometimes it’s just a matter of hitting the reset button. With only six goals and three assists in 25 contests, Atkinson was due such a reboot. Consider targeting the dynamic winger as a trade candidate before he breaks out. After all, 35 goals and 27 helpers came only a year ago.
After a rather ho-hum October, Pearson has collected 15 points in 19 games, including seven in his past six. He’s earned one measly assist with the extra skater, but anticipate an improvement in the 25-year-old’s power-play numbers once Jeff Carter eventually returns between Pearson and Tyler Toffoli. Until then, know that Los Angeles’ second scoring line is still contributing on a regular basis.
Prediction: Haula is going to finish the season with more than 30 goals and 65 points, and he’ll still be available in three-quarters of ESPN leagues. The 26-year-old’s lack of fantasy popularity makes little sense. Centering a scoring line and top power play with James Neal and David Perron and averaging more than 19 minutes per contest, Haula has scored a goal in four of his past five contests. At least add him in the short term, people!
Following his three-year stint in the KHL, Sobotka is on pace to easily hit double digits in goals for the first time in his NHL career. While that stat isn’t likely to wow many fantasy managers, Sobotka’s steady gig in St. Louis’ top six (currently skating with Vladimir Tarasenko and Paul Stastny) and his 18 points through 31 games merit attention in deeper leagues. The 30-year-old veteran also brings a bit extra to the fantasy table by averaging 0.84 penalty minutes and 1.48 hits per game.
In his second game back after missing three with an upper-body injury, DeBrusk earned 17 penalty minutes while going toe-to-toe with Casey Cizikas, then scored the winning goal in Saturday’s 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders. A regular in the Bruins’ top six and on the secondary power play alongside center David Krejci, the 21-year-old rookie already has six goals and seven assists in 23 contests. The 2015 14th overall draft pick has much to offer in deeper leagues this season and beyond.
Without making any rash moves, keep an eye on Rodrigues’ role as it develops following his recent promotion from the AHL. Two goals and one assist in three games (plus-two) is a good start. We’re further intrigued by the former Boston University forward’s role centering sniper Evander Kane and Sam Reinhart, while also serving on the Sabres’ top power play.
Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes (6.9 percent)
Chychrun is averaging more than 22 minutes per game in his four contests since returning from offseason knee surgery. The 19-year-old already has a goal and assist. Drafted 16th overall in 2016, Chychrun amassed 20 points in 68 games in his rookie season — as an 18-year-old defenseman. That’s impressive. He should be spoken for in all dynasty leagues of significant size.
Vince Dunn, St. Louis Blues (0.5 percent)
More will be asked from the 21-year-old rookie while Alex Pietrangelo recovers (IR, lower-body injury), particularly with the extra skater. Dunn is tasked with anchoring the Blues’ No. 1 power play, and we’ll see shortly what the young defenseman makes of these increased responsibilities.
Subbing in for Cam Talbot (upper-body injury), Brossoit has literally improved game-by-game since taking over for the Oilers’ No. 1 at the end of November. That speaks well of the 24-year-old’s growing confidence, and with Talbot expected to be out a while yet, Brossoit might serve as your own fantasy dark-horse substitute in the meanwhile.
Allowing a total of 17 goals in his past four starts, Jones just isn’t playing well. At the same time, San Jose backup Aaron Dell has permitted only two goals in three consecutive contests, all wins. While we don’t expect the Sharks to recklessly topple their goaltending hierarchy, you might see a little more Dell and a little less Jones while the club’s No. 1 regains his rhythm. Shelf Jones for other netminding fantasy options, if possible, until then, and by all means enlist Dell in relevant spot-start and daily fantasy situations. The Sharks have a back-to-back set with the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks this Thursday and Friday.
As far as maintaining a somewhat healthy roster is concerned, the Ducks can’t catch a break. Just as Ryan Getzlaf (face) rejoins the lineup, down goes Perry with a lower-body injury, a suspected knee issue that was serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. The top-line winger is considered week-to-week. We could see Jakub Silfverberg slide in next to Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell for now, with either Ondrej Kase or Logan Shaw joining second-line center Adam Henrique. Keep an eye on how the top six washes out in the next couple of days.