Fantasy Hockey

2013-14 Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Outlook: Week 16

The waiver wire in fantasy hockey has been deep with talent this season. It also feels as if now is the deepest it has been in talent that can be added and plugged into your lineup immediately. Some of the depth is coming from younger players, especially forwards, that have made the step up to the senior circuit. The goalie position has been in flux for majority of the season. Supposed stone-cold locks in net such as Ottawa’s Craig Anderson and Carolina’s Cam Ward (when healthy) have been out-played for large chunks of the season by their backups. One of those backups, Anton Khudobin of the Canes, could be in line for the majority of his team’s starts in the coming months.

With the ups and downs of any season, it is important to keep an eye on who is in and who is out of hockey lineups. This season however, has been one where a fantasy owner’s eyes and ears have had to be particularly tuned in to the NHL’s transactions.

Forwards

Craig Smith– Nashville Predators (Owned in 24% of leagues): Smith is playing especially well for a Predators club known for a defense-first style of game. Smith’s 13 goals leads Nashville, and he is currently skating with center David Legwand, who leads the team in assists. Their chemistry has yet to fully form, but pairing the top goal and assist players in the Music City could lead to huge dividends.

Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat– Tampa Bay Lightning (69% and 64%): Martin St. Louis has been paired with the twenty-somethings for some time now, and to no one’s surprise, have taken off offensively. The two have combined for five goals and seven assists in seven January contests. Johnson’s fantasy value shortens by the day, as star center Steven Stamkos is progressing well in his rehab from a broken leg. Valterri Filppula has a stranglehold on the second line center position, so Johnson could fall out of offensive favor by default.

Nathan Gerbe– Carolina Hurricanes (15%): Gerbe has 21 points in 46 games. The numbers may not be high, but what is escalating is his shot total. Gerbe is averaging 2.9 shots per game, which is more than likely the highest on the waiver wire depending on the size of your league. If you are looking for a shot boost in any format, Gerbe is a great addition to your team and should contribute close to .5 points per contest.

Nick Foligno– Columbus Blue Jackets (21%): Wayne Simmonds has earned praise for his ability to score and rack up penalty minutes in pro-penalty minute leagues. There is a good chance he is not available, but with 63 minutes in the sin bin, Foligno is becoming a solid multi-category option. He is shooting at a  17% clip, well above his career 11%, so expect that to come down some, but anticipate his assist total of 14 to increase. Foligno is seeing time on left wing with center Ryan Johansen, who is playing all sorts of great right now.

Defense

Travis Hamonic– New York Islanders (30%): Dehydration has caused the minute-muncher to missed one game and leave another early, but when at 100%, Hamonic is worth a roster spot. He is averaging 24:58 of ice time per game and has a healthy 97 shots on goal. After the Islanders hit a rough patch, the streaking Isles and Hamonic have played well enough to improve his plus/minus to a minus-three. His ice time and shots are worth spot starts alone, and any points should be icing on the cake.

Jonathan Ericsson– Detroit Red Wings (1%): Ericsson is skating, and if you have watched any Detroit Red Wings games, then you know they need help on the blueline. His eight points is easy to dismiss, but a plus-nine plus/minus and 21-plus minutes on ice per game can only help a team depleted of consistent defensemen. Ericsson, Danny DeKeyser, and Niklas Kronwall are the only three on the back line on the right side of a zero plus/minus.

Goaltenders

Tim Thomas– Florida Panthers (77%): Thomas has started five consecutive games and has only wins in two of them. The real positive from those starts his save percentage of at least 90.5% in each contest. He is the unquestioned starter in Florida, and for as sad as the Panthers are, a concrete option in net is hard to find on the waiver wire.

Darcy Kuemper– Minnesota Wild (11%): Someone has to start for the Wild, right? Kuemper has given up one goal in his last two starts, facing 63 shots in those games. Niklas Backstrom has been abysmal for majority of the season, as his 89% save percentage indicates. Tread lightly with Kuemper, but enjoy any wins you get out of him with Josh Harding continues to adjust to new medication intended to handle multiple sclerosis.

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