We’re two weeks into the shortened 2021 NHL season, and much has happened already. There’s a handful of players seeing an increase in value due to their circumstances, and you should be able to find many of them on your fantasy hockey waiver wire.
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Week 2 Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire
LW James van Riemsdyk, PHI (41% Ownership): Last week I suggested a couple of Flyers to pick up, and now I’m suggesting another. Philadelphia has three scoring lines, and each is posing to be legitimate threats offensively. He has formed great chemistry with Jakub Voracek, and the pair is playing with Kevin Hayes. JVR is also seeing time on the top power-play unit, which has resulted in three power-play goals in his last three matches. Granted, he may find himself back on the second unit once Sean Couturier returns to the lineup from his rib injury. The winger has five goals and seven points in as many games, along with 20 shots and four power-play points.
C Paul Stastny, WPG (38%): After a slow start that saw Stastny kept off the scoresheet for four contests, he’s making up for it. He has a pair of goals and four assists in his past three games. He’s centering the Jets second line with Nikolaj Ehlers and playing on the top power-play unit. He is very likely to be bumped down to the third line once Pierre-Luc Dubois is able to join the team. It’s worth streaming Stastny until that happens, but you may want to wait until later in the week to claim him, as Winnipeg’s next game isn’t until Saturday when they play the Canucks.
LW Nick Ritchie, BOS (28%): Ritchie struggled early on since arriving in Boston. He had two points in seven outings, then just a single point during the return to play. He did have 35 PIM across those 15 games, for leagues counting penalties. Ritchie is now playing on Boston’s second line with David Krejci, and his stats reflect that. Six points in as many games, with his PIM dropping to just four. Ritchie is more importantly seeing time on the Bruins lethal top power-play unit. Just in the past three contests, he’s scored two power-play goals and a pair of power-play assists. He’s worth streaming until David Pastrnak returns from his hip injury. Beyond that, he could still bring value should he continue to focus on offense, while still being able to rack up the PIM on any given night.
C/LW Nicholas Paul, OTT (16%): The 25-year-old was a regular for the first time during 2019-20 when he played 56 games and scored 20 points. He’s carried that forward to 2021, earning a spot on the second line next to Artem Anisimov and new addition Evgenii Dadonov. So far Paul has two goals and two assists in six appearances. He has a plus-4 rating, eight hits, and three blocks, to help out with some category coverage. Paul is likely only worth picking up from the waiver wire of deeper leagues. However, his team’s next two meetings are with the Vancouver Canucks, who have allowed a league-worst 34 goals against. Granted, Ottawa lost 7-1 to Vancouver Monday night, but that means Paul and his Senators will be looking to bounce back in a big way.
C/LW Andrew Copp, WPG (15%): With Patrik Laine traded to Columbus, Copp is taking advantage of the void left on the second line wing. He’s been on fire, scoring nine points in his last five games. This is capped off by a four-point performance against Edmonton Tuesday night. Copp’s career-high in points is 28, which he set back in 2017-18. He’s primarily been used in a bottom-six role, but his scoring rate has increased the past couple of seasons. He’s showing he has a higher offensive ceiling than many (including myself) thought he was capable of earlier in his career. If he can hold down that second line position, he could be in line for a breakout campaign playing alongside Dubois and Ehlers. Like with Stastny, you may want to wait a day or two to pluck him off the wire.
D Connor Murphy, CHI (38%): Not typically known for his offense, Murphy has been producing for the Blackhawks. Two goals and five points in seven games, with 14 hits and 14 blocks. His career-high is 19 points, and he isn’t a regular on the power play, so this level of scoring isn’t sustainable. His value is from leagues that count hits and blocks, as he’ll rack up plenty for each category. Given his offense out of the gate, it’s worth rostering him while he’s hot, as he can provide some offense with the peripheral categories.
G Vitek Vanecek, WSH (49%): With Ilya Samsonov testing positive for COVID-19, Vanecek has taken over as the starter in Washington. The 2014 second-round pick has performed admirably in his first taste of NHL action, especially with the amount of star power the Capitals are missing. Vanecek has a 3-0-2 record, with a 2.70 GAA and .918 save percentage. Once Samsonov returns, he should be considered the starter again. However, if Vanecek continues his level of play, he may be starting more games than he was initially expected to.
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