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Fantasy hockey waiver watch – Smith, Goligoski can give your playoff squad a boost

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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.


Forwards

Craig Smith, RW/C, Boston Bruins (39.1%): Having incessantly highlighted Smith as an underappreciated fantasy asset for several weeks now, this is my final push for the productive right-winger. At least for this season. The former Predator has four goals and 12 assists in his past dozen games. He’s skating on a dynamic scoring line with David Krejci and new Bruin Taylor Hall. Boston is winning games. Smith should be spoken for in more than four of 10 fantasy leagues.

Mats Zuccarello, RW, Minnesota Wild (44.1%): The diminutive winger is on a tear again, with four goals and one assist in five games. A good gaggle of fantasy managers bailed on Zuccarello when he went a bit quiet at the conclusion of March through the start of April. Well, that early-spring lull is over and the veteran forward is fixed again on a top line with Kirill Kaprizov. Get him back in your lineup asap.

Josh Norris, C, Ottawa Senators (21.7%): Just one of several young Senators expected to shine in Ottawa for years to come, Norris is smoking hot at present. Competing on a top scoring unit and power play with Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson, the 21-year-old rookie has seven goals and five assists in 14 contests since mid-March, averaging 2.35 fantasy points per game. And he’s been at his most productive of late. Worth picking up in a variety of fantasy leagues, the 19th-overall draft selection (2017) is a must-roster in dynasty and keeper competition.

Tyler Motte, C/LW/RW, Vancouver Canucks (17.2%): In truth, no one knows how Motte is going to feel after clearing COVID protocol and returning to the ice, or how long it may take him to get back up to speed. What we do know is the Canucks forward is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday after sitting out Sunday’s first tilt with Toronto. As it stands, Vancouver is scheduled to play 14 contests between now and May 13, when ESPN’s fantasy competition concludes (then a handful after). If Motte is near as effective as a presence – in leagues that count hits and blocked shots – as he was to start the season, he could amass a good bundle of fantasy points over the next three-plus weeks.

Casey Mittelstadt, C/RW, Buffalo Sabres (6.9%): Whatever Mittelstadt is doing differently these days, he shouldn’t change a thing. Centering Buffalo’s second scoring line, the 2017 eighth-overall draft pick has seven goals and three helpers in his past 11 games. The 22-year-old is also seeing valuable minutes on the top power play, helping to account for this month’s pair of goals with the extra skater. It’s taken a bit longer than the Sabres would have liked, but Mittelstadt appears to have finally found his scoring groove. He’s particularly useful in deeper leagues that heavily reward goals.

Sam Bennett, LW/C, Florida Panthers (3.8%): The former Flame is already off to a nice start in his new hockey home. Making his Panthers’ debut Saturday, Bennett registered two assists in a 5-3 win over the Lightning. Oh, and he’s centering a scoring line that also includes Jonathan Huberdeau and Anthony Duclair. Pretty nice gig. Maddeningly inconsistent through most of his career in Calgary, the 2014 fourth-overall draft pick is poised to wrap up 2020-12 with a bang in this much-needed fresh start. For those looking ahead, the 24-year-old (still only!) is a proven playoff performer as well.

Ross Colton , LW, Tampa Bay Lightning (3.5%): It won’t be long before the 24-year-old rookie averages more than a dozen or so minutes a game. Potting six goals in nine contests this April, Colton now finds himself stitched onto a scoring line and secondary power-play with Anthony Cirelli. That first point with the man-advantage should count soon enough. Outside of deep, conventional leagues, this young lad also strikes as an intriguing outside-the-box asset in Daily Fantasy play. Especially versus the Blue Jackets this Thursday and Sunday. Colton scored in each of his previous three games against Columbus. That’s a nice little streak.

See also: Max Comtois, Anaheim Ducks; Denis Gurianov, Dallas Stars

Defenders

Alex Goligoski, Arizona Coyotes (32.2%): Something clicked for the veteran defender in the final week of March. After logging one assist in January and zero points in February, Goligoski has since strung together two goals and 10 assists in the span of 13 games. Playing heavy minutes, he’s piling up the fantasy points at present. With so few strong blue-line options available, the 35-year-old presents as a gem of a free pickup.

See also: Vince Dunn, St. Louis Blues

Goaltenders

Darcy Kuemper, Arizona Coyotes (50.2%): If his most recent performance serves as an accurate barometer, Kuemper is feeling just fine after losing nearly six weeks to a lower-body injury. The 30-year-old stopped 20 of 22 shots in Saturday’s vital 3-2 win over St. Louis. In a fierce battle with the Blues for fourth and final playoff spot in the West, the Coyotes will need Kuemper to be at his stingy best. Once again healthy, he should get the call to start more often than Antti Raanta, who wasn’t great in his latest outing. Kuemper could be in for quite a strong finish to this rollercoaster of a campaign.

See also: Ilya Sorokin, New York Islanders; Devan Dubnyk, Colorado Avalanche

Lowered expectations

Kaapo Kahkonen, G, Minnesota Wild (41.3%): It’s “Talbot Time” in Minnesota. Starting 11 of the club’s most recent stretch of 14 games, Cam Talbot has won all but three of them. Since March 20, we’ve only seen Kahkonen between the pipes when Minnesota has played consecutive days. The Wild has only three back-to-back sets remaining. Unless Talbot falters or falls hurt, Kahkonen probably won’t see much action between now and the postseason.

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