Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Outlook for Week 3
The NHL season is entering a point where team trends become more obvious and more likely to be factors going forward. Team trends lend way to player trends a little farther into the season. Early returns could bode well for owners who took Avalanche and Lightning players, while teams playing Rangers and Sabres are second-guessing their draft decisions. With over 70 games left in the regular season, trends will shift and potentially shatter going forward.
There are some hot waiver wire additions to be made. Not every pick up is going to be a long term addition. Injuries are piling up, and some familiar names (Kari Lehtonen) have opened spots on your bench. Suspensions are being handed out like flu shots, as well. Owning players will questionable decision-making and/or suspension histories come with a larger risk than injured players. A player returning from injured reserve is welcomed back much more often than a guy costing his team by spending time in a suit because they can’t follow the rules.
Sean Monahan- Calgary Flames (owned in 37% of leagues): Scoring a goal in four straight games (including a game-winner) will get fantasy owners’ attention. Monahan is playing on the third line, but has seen his ice time rise nearly five minutes early on. While his time on ice is less than desirable, the increased role Monahan has earned could lead to time on the power play and/or a promotion to the top six. Add now, and monitor his role over the next 7-10 days.
Frans Nielsen- New York Islanders (30%): The Isles continue to score, and Nielsen is on the offensive guest list (yeah, that’s a bad joke). Nielsen has two power play points, best for New York early in the season. Nielsen also saw a staggering 23:40 of ice time Tuesday night. Expecting 18:00 minutes per game on average appears to be on the horizon as he averages a shade under 17:00 currently.
Mason Raymond- Toronto Maple Leafs (58%): I mentioned him before, and I have to again because he needs to be owned in at least 90% of leagues. Any unknown player getting times on the power play and top lines with the likes of Phil Kessel and assist monsters such as Dion Phaneuf need to be owned. Raymond is seeing the same and more time on the man advantage as Kessel. Randy Carlyle makes a lot of questionable decisions, but plugging in Raymond everywhere has paid off. Raymond’s speed makes him a candidate for a short-handed goal or three, as well.
Mark Arcobello- Edmonton Oilers (3%): Arcobello is seeing more time with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, and assisted on three goals against Toronto in his second game playing over 16 minutes. If the ice time increases (15:45 now) because of his role on the top line, Arcobello will be a must-own sooner rather than later. Adding him now may be premature, but that could change in a hurry.
Seth Jones- Nashville Predators (68%): An injury to Roman Josi has given Jones the chance to play opposite of Shea Weber. Jones scored his first goal on the power play over the weekend, and has three points in his last four contests. His ice time is a healthy 23:30 per game, so any concern with a drop in average time on ice (ATOI) is null and void. His plus/minus appears to be his only concern so far.
Sami Salo- Tampa Bay Lightning (3.5%): Salo has been playing well as of late. In his last three games he has four assists (two PPP) and has a plus-six plus/minus. Unsustainable? Yes. Injuries have been his crutch over the last handful of seasons, and the 39-year old isn’t on the Benjamin Button plan. Worst case he is a defenseman you play while he’s hot. His best case could be as high as a 15-20 power play point blue liner.
Jared Spurgeon- Minnesota Wild (59%): Talking bad about Spurgeon on The Fantasy Fix hockey podcast must have brought Spurgeon back to life. Since discussing his slow start, the 23-year-old has played no less than 19:20 in a game and has three assists. Spurgeon has 30 point upside with a chance to play upward of 22:00 minutes per game.
Josh Harding- Minnesota Wild (58%): Niklas Backstrom’s back up is shining in his absence. Harding has been one of the best secondary backstops over the past few seasons, and should prosper in his limited starting role. Harding has won three of his four starts, and stopped all six shots he faced in relief of new back up goalie Darcy Kuemper Tuesday evening.
James Reimer- Toronto Maple Leafs (37%): Jonathan Bernier has been as good as advertised in the early going, but Reimer has won two of his three starts, including a 36 save performance Tuesday night. Owning him may not yield a lot of wins for the season, but if Bernier were to slip enough, Reimer’s role would increase. Having a dependable back up on a playoff-caliber Toronto club means spot start wins in fantasy.