Every week, we’ll mine the waiver wire for lesser-rostered assets to help your 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 may be overvalued – in the short- or long-term – for one reason or another.
Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, St. Louis Blues (76.5%): Stretching the definition of lesser-rostered here, but it’s worth mentioning that Tarasenko is loosely expected to return to action during the club’s current road trip. According to St. Louis coach Craig Berube, the power forward can’t wait. Shelved since undergoing shoulder surgery (again) in September, Tarasenko recently participated in full practice on a line with Brayden Schenn and David Perron. Goodness knows the Blues – losers of seven of their past 11 – could use the former 40-goal scorer. Check to see if he’s somehow available in your league.
Tim Stutzle, LW, Ottawa Senators (31.6%): This kid is already fun to watch and he’s just getting started. Since Valentine’s Day, Stutzle has a goal and five assists while averaging a hair less than four shots per game. That works out to 3.03 fantasy points per contest in ESPN.com’s standard league. Not bad. Competing on the Senators’ top power play, the 18-year-old should be spoken for in a much larger number of re-draft leagues. It should go without saying he’s a must-roster in keeper/dynasty assemblies.
Andrew Mangiapane, C/LW, Calgary Flames (14.1%): After disembarking earlier this season, I’m clambering back aboard the Mangiapane fantasy train. Following an altogether dry January, the 24-year-old blossomed for eight goals and three assists in February. Never mind the helpers, that’s better than a goal every second game. Settled on a top-six line with Matthew Tkachuk and secondary power play, Mangiapane is also shooting on net more often and averaging big on-ice minutes. No question he has a place in deeper re-draft leagues. The Flames face the Senators three times this week, and the Oilers once.
Trevor Zegras, C, Anaheim Ducks (13.4%): A must-add in any and all dynasty associations, this future NHL star might soon merit serious consideration in deeper re-draft leagues as well. Skating on a scoring line and No. 1 power play with Sam Steel and Jakob Silfverberg, Zegras won’t be long for earning his first point of many. Before making his NHL debut on Feb. 22, the 19-year-old tallied four goals and five assists in eight games with the AHL Gulls. Not too shabby for his first turn as a pro. That the Ducks aren’t expected to win much this season also helps in keeping the pressure off.
Victor Rask, C, Minnesota Wild (4.1%): The Kirill Kaprizov/Rask/Mats Zuccarello unit is having quite a time of it at present. Combining for eight goals and 16 assists in five games – all of them Wild victories – that dynamite scoring line has helped muscle Minnesota into second spot in the West, ahead of both St. Louis (by winning percentage) and Colorado. There’s no hotter team in the league. While Kaprizov, rostered in 85% of ESPN.com leagues, would be my first fantasy choice, Zuccarello (57.9%) ranks a close second. If both are unavailable, which is likely, Rask makes for a solid option in deeper leagues. As long as he keeps a grip on that coveted center position between the other two.
Colin Blackwell, C, New York Rangers (3.0%): He’s hot. Seeing top-six minutes alongside the likes of Ryan Strome, Chris Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad, the 27-year-old AHL regular has four goals and one assist in six games. While there’s little chance this surge in production lasts, Blackwell deserves attention as a Daily Fantasy and streaming asset in the here and now. The Rangers face the Sabres, Devils (twice), and Penguins this week. Plenty of scoring potential there.
Matt Grzelcyk, Boston Bruins (17.6%): Recovering from a lower-body injury, the Bruins defender is due back soon. If not Wednesday versus the Capitals, perhaps by the weekend. With so few solid blue-line options widely available across ESPN’s fantasy spectrum, Grzelcyk strikes as particularly appealing. Charlie McAvoy has been doing more than his share of the heavy lifting from a production standpoint. Once re-settled in the top-four and on the B’s power play, Grzelcyk should help contribute in that regard.
Ilya Sorokin, New York Islanders (28.9%): Coach Barry Trotz has flat-out said Sorokin would get his “fair share” of playing time as the Islanders move into a busier stretch of their schedule (sixteen games in March). While Semyon Varlamov remains the club’s top go-to, the rookie back-up should be a great deal more active than he has been. Considering Sorokin is coming off two straight shutouts – 12 days apart, mind you – that expectation is hardly absurd. Fantasy managers with net-needs should give Sorokin some serious thought.
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (90.7%): The Canadiens’ No. 1 netminder is struggling. He’s letting in goals that should be stopped and his confidence appears shattered. While those out front of the net merit some of the blame for not playing well enough defensively – led by Shea Weber, who’s also performing below his own personal standard – Price has to figure it out himself. Whether it’s an issue of “overthinking things” (his words) or, more likely, a combination of factors. Maybe a few intense sessions with goalie coach Stéphane Waite will help turn matters around. Until then, Montreal’s franchise goaltender is too much of a fantasy liability and managers should look to others.
See also: Igor Shesterkin, G, New York Rangers