Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Outlook for Week 5
The waiver wire is a place where owners overreact and let good players go when they see little production over a small period of time. As the NHL season enters its fifth full week, star players are shining bright, off-the-radar players are now blips on the radar, and disappointments (see: Flyers, Philadelphia) are working their way down to zero percent ownership.
This cannot be stressed enough: don’t give up on your studs. Unless unusual patterns are becoming commonplace, then there is no reason to even think about dropping them. The bottom of your roster is the only place to consider changes. Sleeper not producing? Feel free to look elsewhere. Fringe fantasy player not living up to his upside? Someone on the waiver wire is.
Don’t get cute.
Dave Bolland– Toronto Maple Leafs (Owned in 70% of leagues): Bolland’s role within Toronto’s top six forwards is paying dividends in real life and fantasy hockey. As a Blackhawks fan, it is good to see him playing a lot of special teams and producing. Bolland is still being asked to shut down top players/lines (Sidney Crosby is a witness to that), his strength, and is still blending in well. Add and play with confidence.
Mikhail Grabovski– Washington Capitals (50%): If an owner in your league dropped, pick him up and taunt that owner. Grabo’s ice time is raising eye brows (16:03 per game and dropping) but his five power play points out of ten total is eye-popping. The Caps are mixing him in with the third line, even though the hockey world saw how that worked with him in Toronto. Grabovski is excelling on the man advantage, and deserves a roster spot solely for that.
Alex Tanguay– Colorado Avalanche (35%): The elder statesman in Denver is playing well. The fountain of youth has found Tanguay, who is scoring just under a point per game and is an impressive plus-eight. His minutes per game are respectable at 17:45 a night, which also shows that the coaching staff knows that stretching Tanguay too far is not beneficial. The Avs continue to score, and those playing top nine minutes should be on your team.
Mikeal Granlund- Minnesota Wild (18%): Granlund is a great option for your watch list after notching four points in three games. The 2010 first round pick of the Wild is starting to while playing with proven scorers like Jason Pominville. Granlund is getting longer looks on the power play, as well.
Matt Irwin– San Jose Sharks (74%): Irwin needs to be owned in at least 90% of leagues. He is playing 20+ minutes per game, playing on the man advantage, and is a solid plus-five. Dan Boyle is still out, and Irwin is just one of the blueliners stepping up (37 shots from the back line) for one of the West’s best teams.
Radko Gudas- Tampa Bay Lightning (26%): 53 penalty minutes. That is all you need to know. Gudas takes dumb penalties, but has managed to contribute one goal and five points while averaging 19 minutes a contest. Gudas is not a sexy add, but he covers a handful of categories for those of you in roto leagues.
Kris Russell– Calgary Flames (1%): Essentially traded for nothing, Kris Russell has thrived for a Flames team that we all knew was looking for anything good from anyone. Russell was never a bad defenseman in St. Louis, but lost time because the Blues have been able to build a solid corps without him. Russell was the embarrassment of the riches, so to speak. He is a plus-six and playing a shade on 22 minutes per game.
Steve Mason– Philadelphia Flyers (80%): Swallow your pride and get Mason on your roster. His 2.15 goals against average and 93 save percentage are better than those of Jaro Halak, Craig Anderson, and Ben Bishop, among others. You could do much worse as a third goaltender/injury replacement (Carter Hutton, anyone?).
James Reimer– Toronto Maple Leafs (60): Smell that? That’s the smell of a goalie controversy brewing up north. Reimer has started Toronto’s last two games, and has given up one goal while stopping 79, including a 43 save whitewash of Edmonton. If you own Jonathan Bernier, you have to have Reimer with the expectation that the starts will be split down the middle.