Hockey

Fantasy hockey waiver watch – Turn your attention to Kasperi Kapanen

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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

Kasperi Kapanen, RW, Pittsburgh Penguins (37.6%): Initially projected to slide in alongside Sidney Crosby following his trade from Toronto, Kapanen has instead forged excellent chemistry with Pittsburgh’s other prominent center; the Evgeni Malkin/Kapanen forward duo has combined for seven goals and 11 assists since March 2. Considering they’ve won six of those seven contests, the Penguins certainly aren’t complaining about how it’s all worked out. And while Malkin is overwhelmingly spoken for across the ESPN.com fantasy spectrum, his new favorite winger is not.

Alex Killorn, LW/RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (28.7%): The 31-year-old veteran is enjoying a rather productive March altogether. Rooted on a scoring line with Steven Stamkos and Yanni Gourde, Killorn has four goals and three assists on 22 shots in his past six contests. Three of those seven points counting with the man-advantage, thanks to his gig on Tampa’s top power play. After scoring 26 goals and 23 assists in 68 games last year, Killorn appears back in a similar swing. He’s useful in deeper leagues.

Tyler Motte, C/LW/RW, Vancouver Canucks (16.3%): The Vancouver forward could return as early as this week. Before suffering an ankle injury, Motte collected five goals, one assist, 16 blocked-shots and — here’s your key stat — an astounding 70 hits through only 15 games. He still leads the Canucks in that category despite sitting out since Feb. 6. Motte merits rostering in just about any league that rewards physical play.

Wayne Simmonds, RW/LW, Toronto Maple Leafs (3.9 %): The Maple Leafs could have Simmonds back in the lineup when they return to action Friday, if not, soon after. Before suffering a broken wrist in early February, the winger scored five goals in six games, three of them counting on the power play. You can bet your bottom buck he settles in again on Toronto’s top unit — which has struggled of late — once back to speed. Simmonds is also usually good for a few penalty minutes here and there. Having lost five of their past six, the Leafs could certainly use his energy.

Kieffer Bellows, LW/C, New York Islanders (3.5%): If the young skater feels at all intimidated at replacing captain Anders Lee on the Islanders’ No. 1 line, he’s certainly hiding it well. Yes, it’s only been a couple of games, and sure, both of those contests were against the struggling Devils, but three goals are three goals. Fantasy managers in need of a roster shake-up should give the 22-year-old rookie a long hard look. Drafted 19th overall in 2016, Bellows has enjoyed success in scoring at the AHL level. Also, Lee has been ruled out for the remainder of the regular season. For now, the top-line gig is Bellows’ to lose.

Janne Kuokkanen, LW/C/RW, New Jersey Devils (0.9%): Competing on a scoring line with Travis Zajac and Yegor Sharangovich, the inexperienced forward is building a solid case for himself as a legit member of the Devils’ top-six. Sure, it would be nice if he’d shoot more, but Kuokkanen still deserves his due for scoring in four-straight games. Give the 22-year-old a whirl in Daily Fantasy competition before he runs out of steam. New Jersey faces the Sabres Tuesday.

Defenders

Kevin Shattenkirk, Anaheim Ducks (19.9%): The two goals and four assists in five games — averaging 3.16 fantasy points per contest — is more of what we expected from the offensive-defenseman in his new California digs. He’s also shooting with greater frequency, which helps. Anchoring the Ducks’ top power play, Shattenkirk merits consideration in most ESPN conventional leagues. And unlike most other useful fantasy blueliners, the veteran is widely available.

Goaltenders

Cam Talbot, Minnesota Wild (59.6%): The Wild netminder makes for an appealing asset this week in particular, coming off two dominating victories over the Coyotes, including a 25-save shutout. Minnesota faces Arizona again Tuesday before visiting the Avalanche for a pair of contests in Denver. Sporting a 1-1 record and 2.51 goals-against average versus Colorado this season, a more-confident Talbot projects to give MacKinnon and company a difficult time. Perhaps most importantly, he finally looks like the best version of himself again. The only concerning issue is how much playing time Talbot will get, competing in tandem with Kaapo Kahkonen. Minnesota’s other netminder has won eight-straight.

Lowered expectations

Anton Khudobin, Dallas Stars (82.9%): The Stars goalie is one of the league’s most volatile performers at the position right now. A dominating performance over the usually offensively-gifted Lightning on Feb. 2 was followed up 48 hours later by a weak showing versus the much-less-dangerous Blue Jackets. After nearly shutting out Chicago, Khudobin stumbled and earned the early hook versus those same Blackhawks two days after. No small wonder Jake Oettinger — rostered in only 4.5% of ESPN.com leagues — is playing more often. Khudobin’s fantasy managers have every right to worry about their netminder’s playing time down the stretch.

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