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Waiver Wire Watch - Week 1

by chewy 7. October 2013 13:40

Just about a week into the 2013-14 season, and we already have a fired coach.  With NHL GM's quick and desperate to make a move, you ought to be just as alert in the early going in managing your fantasy squad.  Typically, a handful of top notch fantasy options get swept up in the first few weeks of the season to early waiver watchers.  With a few games played, here are some early waiver options to consider adding to your lineup, if someone else hasn't snatched them up already.

 

OFFENSE

 

Lars Eller (MON)

Through the first two games, Eller tallied 3 goals and 5 points, earning #2 Star honors.  He won't keep this pace up all year, but he may provide decent value on the year.  It's about time the Habs got some return on the deal that sent Halak away to the Blues.

 

Mikail Grabovski (WAS)

Grobovski started the season in fine fashion, tallying a hat trick in Game 1.  He put up an assist in the game 2 and has now has 5 points in 3 games.  Given a helping of solid playing time with Ovechkin could mean a career year for the castoff Leaf.

 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM)

The young Oiler center wasn't expected to start the season until November, but made a surprise early recovery.  He's expected to play this week, so snag him, and hope he's what Edmonton needs to get the offense on track.

 

 

DEFENSE

 

Jason Garrison (VAN)

Garrison has displayed streaks of fantasy gold in the past, but has never been a go-to guy over the long haul.    He has 2 goals and 2 assists through 3 games for Vanouver.

 

Matt Niskanen (PIT)

It's uknown how long Letang will be out, but as long as he is, Niskanen will carry some value as a depth defenseman.  He's filling that gap on the potent Penguins as a key puck carrier on the back end.  He registered 3 assists through the first two games.

 

 

GOALIE

 

Jaroslav Halak (STL)

I have been touting Halak as the solution for the Blues all pre-season, so it's not surprising to see him off to a hot start.  What is surprising is that he's still available in many leagues (just not any of mine, as I drafted him…).  Get him now.

2013-14 Fantasy Draft Gambles

by chewy 30. September 2013 12:50

 Take your chances with these guys. May pay off, or it may backfire. In other words, we're not offering any guarantees on these puppies.

Offense


Joe Pavelski             SAN     
Pavelski is rather streaky in terms of fantasy production. He has gone on incredible tears (particularly in the playoffs), but he has also hit some massive dry spells. He has become the more important Joe in San Jose and should he find consistency, could be a steal.

Jason Pominville             MIN     
Pominville has been a consistently good, but not great, fantasy forward for about a decade. Upon arriving in Minnesota, he had a nice offensive outburst before being hit by a concussion in the playoffs. He will be counted on to contribute on the top 2 lines for the Wild, but it remains to be seen if the head problems will linger.

Alexander Semin             CAR     
While Semin acquitted himself nicely on his first venture outside of Washington, he still carries a level of risk for investing an early pick. He put up good numbers last season and did his best impersonation of a team player. If he can stay content and rekindle his scoring touch, he could still have plenty of upside. Big swing in terms of how good and how bad he could be this season.

Chris Stewart             STL     
If you're looking for safe, consistent production each week, you may not have the stomach for drafting Stewart. Since coming to St. Louis, he has failed to live up to his potential that he flashed in Colorado, except in small spurts where he looks brilliant. Should he find consistency, he could be a steal. However, it's far from certain. Consider him a gamble worth taking.

Jiri Tlusty             CAR     
Tlusty suprised many with his consistent goal scoring last year, elevating expectations for fantasy owners. Perhaps higher than they should. Don't overreach based on one good season. On the other hand, should he remain paired up with Erik Staal for any length of time, he just may do it again.


Defense

Andrei Markov             MON     
Last season, Markov was shockingly healthy and remarkably productive. His talent and reliability have never been an issue when he's on the ice. However, last season's full slate of games was clearly an anomoly. You're rolling those dice to believe he can do it twice in a row. If the gamble pays off, you could have a top 5 fantasy option. More likely, you'll get production for 3/4 of the season and nothing for the rest.


Goalies

Brian Elliott             STL     
Elliot seemed to regain control of the goalie situation down the stretch and into the playoffs last seasons. He failed to live up to the insane standard he set the previous year, but made a strong case for #1 job. However, Hitchcock has proven to be quick to change, given his options in net. Should he secure the net full time, his stock could rise. Seems more likely to endure another split crease in 2013-14, which severely limits his viability.

Ray Emery             PHI     
High Risk, High Reward is the overused phrase that most applies to Ray Emery in the goalie discussion. Emery has paid his dues and shaken the poor reputation he earned early in his career. He put together a fantastic effort as 1B in Chicago last season, and he's ready to make a go at being the Main Man again. His only hurdle will be to dispose of Mason in training camp. His value comes down to two factors: 1. Health. 2. Flyer Rebound. Philly has to be better this year, but that depends on them finding their way defensively. Assuming they prove 2013 to be a fluke, the Flyers should re-establish themselves as a contender, making Emery a very nice (and probably cheap) option for your fantasy squad. Snag him mid-draft and look very smart come Winter.

Jaroslav Halak             STL     
Should the Blues ever settle on a goalie, the winner of that lottery will emerge as a solid fantasy starter. Halak, Elliot, and newcomer Allen split the action 3 ways last season, to the detriment of each other. It's a bit of crap-shoot predicting the front runner, but I'm betting on Halak re-emerging this season as the top option for St. Louis. His GAA over the past two seasons has been among the best in the league. Don't bank on him as your #1 man to start the season, but you can take a flier on him late in the draft and potentially strike gold.

Jonas Hiller             ANA     
Should the specter of the shared crease be vanquished, Hiller could see his stock rise. However, given the effective split with Fasth last season, and the success Anaheim enjoyed with the pair, it's unwise to bank on a full slate of games from Hiller.

Steve Mason             PHI     
The Flyers aren't committing to either Mason or Emery heading into camp. So in theory, Mason could find himself as the starting goalie on a decent NHL squad this season. Comparing his performance over the past 4 seasons versus that of Emery, it seems more likely that Mason rides it out as a backup. Consider it a significant gamble to put your faith in Mason this season.

Avoid These Draft Day Busts

by chewy 20. September 2013 06:27
Everyone likes a big bust.  Until draft day.  On draft day, a big bust can ruin your day.  The guys in this list will get drafted far earlier than they should. Don't get caught up in the hype. Sit back and let the less-informed GM's waste a pick, while you go for value.

Offense

Chris Kunitz             PIT     
Last season was special for Kunitz.
It was fantastic. But it will never happen again. Kunitz finished 2nd overall in fantasy points and was a legitimate challenger for the Art Ross Trophy once it was clear that Crosby wouldn't return. But without Crosby, the production slowed down considerably. He should continue to provide piggy-back value from Crosby and/or Malkin, but a repeat of last year's magic is extremely unlikely.

Daniel Sedin             VAN     
It's been two straight down seasons for Daniel Sedin, following his monster effort in 2010-11. With the culture (and coaching) shift in Vancouver, it's not a warm-fuzzy feeling about the prospects for a Sedin revival. He, and brother Henrik, will probably be drafted too early based on name-recognition. Don't overreach here.

Martin St. Louis             TAM     
Sure it was somewhat cheapened by Crosby's absence, but a scoring title is a scoring title. At age 38, it was one of the great accomplishments in hockey in the last 25 years or more. Just don't bank on a repeat. He will absolutely be drafted too early based on last season's success. As long as he stays paired with Stamkos, you can count on another good season (many assists), but another scoring title has to be out of reach.


Defense

Francois Beauchemin             ANA     
Beauchemin had a surprise breakthrough / comeback season last year, even earning some consideration for the Norris at various points. At 33 years of age, it's hard to envision any amount of upside beyond a 35-point production. The positive buzz last season will likely carry over, causing some poor soul to reach too early. Wait on him as a depth option.

Drew Doughty             LOS     
Each season, expectations are out there that Doughty will be a fantasy beast, the way he was in 2009-10. After three straight mediocre seasons, the shine has started to fade. He's still a solid #1 option, but cannot be considered among the elite at this point (at least in fantasy circles).

Victor Hedman             TAM     
Hedman entered the NHL with enormous fantasy expectations, due mostly to his high draft status. While he has been serviceable for the Lightning in the real world, he has yet to become a significant factor in the fantasy world. His points per game did tick in the positive direction last season, but not enough to get overly excited. If you're satisfied with 8 goals and 32 points, he's your man.


Goalies

Carey Price             MON     
Montreal put together a surprising start, but were somewhat exposed towards the end of the season and into the playoffs. At the same time, Price was steady, but not spectacular. His stats were actually the worst he's posted since 2009. Your view on Price's value will largely be driven by your view on Montreal's direction. I see them moving in the opposite direction this season and missing the playoffs. Likewise, I don't see Price being much more than a mediocre #2 option for your fantasy squad.

Cam Ward             CAR     
With Ward, it's important to know your particular league's point system. If saves are heavily rewarded, he's your man. Ward faces more rubber each night than most, playing behind the pourous Carolina defense. However, if more traditional stats, such as GAA and Wins drive your point system, Ward may be a bit overrated. Through 8 seasons, he has gone below a 2.5 GAA just once. Last season, in limited action, he posted a 2.84. Not exactly "good" by today's NHL standards. His job in Carolina is never in doubt, so he will get his chances. Consider him a serviceable #2 goalie option.

Rebound Players for 2013-14

by chewy 16. September 2013 06:49

 Sometimes you have to just forgive and forget. Last season is in the past and let's move on. Here are some guys who should see a significant rebound in their production this season.

 

Offense

 

Jordan Eberle                     EDM         

Eberle's production slipped a bit in his 3rd NHL season, failing to build on his previous year's success. He was still a decent fantasy winger. Look for a major rebound in his numbers in 2013-14. He should deliver near point-per-game output and is a very good bet for 30 goals. If the stars align, he could join teammate Taylor Hall in the hunt for a scoring title this season.

 

Marian Gaborik                     COB         

Gaborik struggled through a rocky season in 2013 with the Rangers before being dealt to the Jackets at the deadline. He is now the showcase attraction in town once more. It remains to be seen what he will do in a full season with Columbus, but you should figure on a serous rebound from last year's disappointing numbers. Two straight healthy seasons have me willing to take a gamble on him.

 

Milan Lucic                     BOS         

Lucic completely disappeared as the season wore on, to the point where he was a healthy scratch going into the playoffs. That all got sorted out nicely in the postseason, as he returned to his beastly self. Look for a big rebound in 2013-14.

 

Corey Perry                     ANA         

After a dominating 50-goal, MVP season in 2010-11, Perry followed it up with 2 disappointing efforts. With Bobby Ryan out of town, and Selanne fading or retired, all eyes will be on Perry to provide the goal scoring for the Ducks. Expect a nice rebound this season. Even if the goals don't pile up, he contributes enough in every category (especially PIMs), to make him one of the most reliable fantasy wingers in the game.

 

Tyler Seguin                     DAL         

Is he mature enough to be the leader most projected him to be when drafted #2 overall? Who cares, as long as he rebounds from last season's poor fantasy showing. Which I say he will. The fresh start in Dallas should spur him on to fantasy stardom. I'm expecting big things from Seguin in Dallas this season.

 

Jeff Skinner                     CAR         

After winning the Calder Trophy in his rookie season, Skinner has slipped back, due to several bouts with concussions. Should he shake the headaches, Skinner certainly has the potential to reemerge as a fantasy star for the Canes. Look for a big rebound this season.

 

 

Defense

 

Tyler Myers                     BUF         

A dude this big and talented can't continue to plummet like this. Following an enormous fantasy season, his production has dipped steadily with each passing season. It's now or never for Myers to redeem some of that promise that earned him that Calder hardware in 2009-10.

 

Alex Pietrangelo                     STL         

Following two fantastic seasons to kick off his career with St. Louis, Pietrangelo was a slight disappointment last season. He ranked 35th in total fantasy points among defensemen.  Expect a significant rebound from Pietrangelo this season.

 

 

Goalies

 

Roberto Luongo                     VAN         T

he goalie trade finally materialized for the Canucks, but of course, it didn't go according to the plan. Luongo now finds himself as the surprise unchallenged starter for Vancouver. Assuming everyone can kiss and make up, this has the makings of a potentially strong comeback season for Luongo on the fantasy front. On the downside, if Coach Torts has his way, Luongo will see less shots than he has been accustomed to, meaning the saves column will take a hit. Still, the increased volume of play will make him a viable #1 option in net once more. The added incentive to play his way into the #1 job for Team Canada won't hurt much either.

 

Jonathan Quick                     LOS         

Simply put, Quick tanked last season. He showed no signs of the man who dominated the position for the prior two years. That changed in the playoffs, as he returned to form and carried the team for 2 rounds. That run brings hope to fantasy owners looking for a top notch goalie that may be underrated at this year's draft. He didn't even crack the top 20 in fantasy points by the end of last season. Look for a rapid return to the top 5 this year.

 

Pekka Rinne                     NAS         

Rinne, along with the entire Nashville team, took a big step backwards last season. Maybe they missed Suter that much. Despite the slip, Rinne remains the epitome of the word "workhorse". He will continue to own the pipes for 85% of the action in Nashville, which means wins should continue to pile up. Look for a bounce back in other categories, with a Preds team that just has to be better this season.

Breakout Fantasy Players for 2013-14

by chewy 10. September 2013 06:23

If you're in it to win, and not just have a good showing, you need to capitalize on a breakout player or two.  Finding these guys is a challenge.  Here are a few players that seem poised to post huge jumps in a numbers over their previous highs:

 

Offense

 

Jamie Benn                     DAL         

Benn has been on the cusp of breaking out as a fantasy star for several seasons. With the retooling in Dallas, this could finally be the year he wins you a championship. If all pans out and he meshes well with newcomers like Seguin, he should easily set some career highs.

 

Beau Bennett                     PIT         

Bennett should be the one name on everyone's list of potential breakout players in 2013-14. He showed flashes of offensive magic in limited action last season, but couldn't stick on the top 2 stacked lines in Pittsburgh. The Pens made a point of announcing that he will have a much larger role this time around, immediately following the embarrassing playoff sweep.

 

Jonathan Drouin                     TAM         

It's scary to think how productive this rookie could be, should he find his way onto a line with Stamkos and St. Louis. He's my pick for Rookie of the Year and one of the only rookies I would spend a draft pick on this year.

 

Alex Galchenyuk                     MON         

Galchenyuk had a fine rookie season and is poised for a potential breakout campaign in his second year with Montreal. Despite playing 3rd line minutes, he made a strong case for the Calder. He should move up the depth chart for the Habs this season and become a worthy fantasy factor.

 

Evander Kane                     WIN         

Kane had a bit of a breakout in 2011-12 with a 30 goal effort, but with a relatively paltry assist total, he finished with just 57 points. This should be the year that Kane breaks out into clear star status. Another 30 goals should be a given, but expect a better showing in the 2nd column.

 

Nail Yakupov                     EDM         

Yakupov was good enough in his rookie campaign to give fantasy owners something to be excited about this time around. As the season progressed, he started to earn much more ice time. He finished the year with 6 goals in the final 3 games. Take a chance on a monster breakout season.

 

 

Defense

 

Jonas Brodin                     MIN         

While he has yet to display much goal scoring acumen, the rookie performed quite well for the Wild last season. He logged huge minutes for a first year defenseman and moved the puck well. There is much offensive upside. As the Wild improve, so will Brodin's fantasy value. Look for a potential breakout season here.

 

Simon Despres                     PIT         

The Pens intentionally held Despres back last season, despite his enormous potential. Minutes after being bumped from the playoffs, the team made a point of saying that Despres will enjoy a much bigger role with the team in 2013-14. With the amount of goal scoring that goes on in Pittsburgh, that means plenty of potential. This will be the breakout season for Despres.

 

Oliver Ekman-Larsson                     PHO         

Ekman-Larsson continues to progress, heading into his fourth season in the NHL. He has been a bit overshadowed by Yandle in Phoenix, but that shouldn't stop you from snatching him up mid-draft. He should set a career high in points, and may make a go at 50.

 

Dougie Hamilton                     BOS         

Hamilton entered his rookie season with high expectations. At times, he met those, at other times, he faded from view. Ultimately, he had a respectable set of numbers by season's end. Look for the progression to continue this season. He could easily bust out with a big 40-50 point season.

 

Travis Hamonic                     NYI         

As an all-around fantasy contributor, Hamonic has the potential to break out this season. Despite his stature, he piles up the pentalty minutes. The playoffs last season showed what an enormous pest he can be. Too bad there's no fantasy stat for annoying. Sticking to the stats that are counted, his production continues to improve entering his fourth NHL campaign. Definite upside here.

 

Justin Schultz                     EDM         

An ugly number in the plus/minus column scarred an otherwise solid rookie season last year. Given a full slate of games and a more mature team around him, Schultz could become a household fantasy name in 2013-14. He'll be the go-to guy on the backend for an Oilers team prime to score a metric buttload of goals. Don't be surprised if he tops 15 goals himself.

 

Slava Voynov                     LOS         

Voynov has flown somewhat under the radar outside of the LA in his first two NHL seasons. During that time, he put together two very solid seasons, logging big minutes and putting up decent point totals for the Kings. He was rewarded this summer with a big six year deal, so the Kings believe he's their man on the blueline. His numbers in the playoffs were even better, as he contributed 2 goals in each of LA's 3 playoffs series. Look for a potential breakout season for Voynov as he starts to get the fantasy attention he has earned.

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