NHL Hockey Column: Waiver Wired
No Respect for Berglund
We’re only two weeks into the season and yet plenty of teams have already played eight games, more than 15% of the schedule. With the shortened campaign, you have less time to overcome a rough start and more proactive owners might be the ones that prevail.
With that in mind, here’s a handful of players worthy of consideration if you’re looking to make a move:
Sam Gagner (C, LW – Edmonton Oilers) – With all the skilled forwards on the Oilers, it’s surprising to see Gagner, who has never risen above the fringes of fantasy relevance, ranking second on the team with eight points in seven games. He’s gotten a point in every Oilers’ contest this season and while he will obviously cool down at some point, he’s going to consistently get top-nine minutes on a team with plenty of scoring depth. He’s already gotten playing time with Ales Hemsky, Nail Yakupov, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Taylor Hall at various points this season and has reaped the rewards. It wouldn’t be shocking if he ends up with close to 0.7 points per contest for the remainder of the season. Just keep in mind he can’t be counted on to get much playing time with the man advantage. At the time of writing, Gagner is owned in 27% of Yahoo! leagues.
Kyle Turris (C – Ottawa Senators) – Turris had a rocky 2011-12 campaign, but by the end of it, he had settled in as a top-six forward with the Ottawa Senators. Now he’s averaging 18 minutes per game and his role should only increase with Jason Spezza out indefinitely with a back injury. Like Gagner, Turris should cool down somewhat but still end up with around 0.7 points per game for what’s left of 2013. That being said, you should take Turris over Gagner if both are available unless you need Gagner for his LW eligibility. Turris is the safer bet due to his more vital role with the Senators and he should get far more power-play ice time than Gagner. At the time of writing, Turris is owned in 22% of Yahoo! leagues.
James Reimer (G – Toronto Maple Leafs) – If you need a starting goaltender, Reimer might be the only one available. The reasons for that are simple: He’s coming off a terrible sophomore season and netminder Ben Scrivens is a legitimate threat to take the starting job. However, Reimer has shined thus far and that’s not entirely unexpected. Keep in mind that his sophomore season was derailed by a concussion, but that’s behind him now. Reimer isn’t one of the better starting goaltenders out there, but you shouldn’t be afraid to grab him if you’re hurting for starts. He’s owned in 24% of Yahoo! leagues.
Patrik Berglund (C – St. Louis Blues) – Berglund extended his points streak to five games with a goal against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. The Blues are a team with balance rather than much star power and the result is there’s a litter of St. Louis players who are potential waiver wired candidates. What sets Berglund apart is that he was a potential breakout candidate going into this season and his five goals and seven points in eight games might be more than just a hot start. For the cost of a waiver wire pick, he’ll be worth the gamble for a number of teams in standard leagues. He’s currently owned in 12% of Yahoo! leagues.
Victor Hedman (D – Tampa Bay Lightning) – We’ve been waiting for Hedman to become relevant in standard fantasy leagues and this might be the season it finally happens. Hedman has three full NHL seasons under his belt now and is part of a team that has been winning by overwhelming their opponents offensively. That’s helped Hedman score two goals and five points in seven games this season. He’s a guy you can grab while he’s hot and might turn into a more permanent part of your squad. Hedman is available in 79% of Yahoo! leagues.
Frans Nielsen (C – New York Islanders) – Nielsen is a 28-year-old who has never recorded more than 47 points at the NHL level. So why is he worth picking up now? He has been getting some playing time with John Tavares lately and that’s served him well so far. Nielsen has seven assists in seven games this season. At the time of writing, he’s owned in just 4% of Yahoo! leagues.
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