We’re three weeks into the NHL season, and the statistical outliers are beginning to iron themselves out. The Fantrax ownership percentages are among the sharpest in the industry, and with so many leagues utilizing a salary cap, unearthing hidden gems is all the more difficult. Here’s a closer look at this week’s Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire; players owned in less than 60 percent of Fantrax leagues with the potential to strengthen your fantasy club.
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Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire
Again these players are owned in less than 60% of Fantrax fantasy hockey leagues.
C Adam Henrique, ANA (54%): A high-floor player who chips in across all categories, Henrique has collected five points — three goals — through the first nine games of the campaign. He is locked into a top-six role and currently skating with the No. 2 power-play unit. Just note his underwhelming 3.79 shots per 60 minutes mark at five-on-five.
C Mikael Backlund, CGY (41%): The 29-year-old Swede is a much more valuable player in the real game than fantasy, but he’s also a useful contributor for deep settings. Backlund recorded consecutive 20-goal showings before last season, and his 6.3 shooting percentage since the start of last year has positive regression ahead.
C/LW Andreas Athanasiou, DET (31%): Speed and skill are paramount in the modern NHL, and Athanasiou has oodles of both. His 11.67 shots and 22.9 attempts per 60 minutes pace the Red Wings, and he’s already collected a respectable two goals, two assists, and two power-play points through eight contests.
C/LW/RW Nick Foligno, CBJ (42%): While probably past his offensive prime, Foligno’s ability to chip in across categories makes up for his lack of game-to-game scoring consistency. He’s still averaging 4:35 of power-play time per contest this season and is a good bet to help in the shots, PIM, hits, and faceoff-wins columns.
LW/RW Paul Byron, MON (43%): With consecutive 20-goal seasons on his resume, it’s surprising to see Byron so scarcely owned. He’s off to a sterling start to 2018-19 with four tallies and three helpers, and the 29-year-old winger is locked into a respectable role with an average of 15:30 of ice time per game.
LW Alex Iafallo, LA (32%): Skating on Los Angeles’ No. 1 line with Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli of late, the 24-year-old sophomore has quietly piled up two goals and five assists through eight games. His 3.3 points per 60 minutes pace the Kings, and his long-standing chemistry with Kopitar should keep Iafallo atop the depth chart.
LW Maxime Comtois, ANA (47%): The rookie is showing no signs of slowing down with a point in seven of nine games for two goals and five assists. He’s currently skating in a top-six role while averaging 1:27 of power-play time per contest, and Comtois has a track record of offensive success after recording 85 points — 44 goals — through 54 games in the QMJHL last year.
LW/RW Nikolay Goldobin, VAN (30%): Promoted to Vancouver’s top line alongside Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser, Goldobin is a ripe candidate to show offensive improvement for the duration of his stay atop the depth chart. After all, Horvat and Boeser have connected for 4.48 goals per 60 minutes over the past two seasons.
RW Mats Zuccarello, NYR (54%): At this stage of Zuccarello’s career, fantasy owners know what to expect from the veteran. His 26 goals in 2015-16 stand as an outlier, but he’s already collected six assists this year, and he’s likely to post his fifth, 50-point campaign in the past six seasons. It’s also worth noting that the Norwegian is currently averaging a career-high 3:06 of power-play time per contest.
RW Gustav Nyquist, DET (33%): The 29-year-old Swede has always aced the eye test, but the offensive numbers haven’t been underwhelming in recent years. He’s off to an excellent start this year, though. Nyquist has already collected a goal and six assists through eight games, and there is plenty of positive regression ahead of his current 5.0 shooting percentage.
D Josh Manson, ANA (59%): Repeating last year’s 37-point campaign will likely be difficult, but it’s what Manson brings in the peripheral categories that make him so valuable. He’s a strong bet to hit triple-digits in shots, hits, and blocked shots while posting a solid plus/minus rating and PIM total. Just note that he doesn’t project to receive consistent power-play time.
D Jaccob Slavin, CAR (48%): With consecutive 30-point showings, Slavin is a reliable contributor to round out a fantasy blue line. He’s also going to help in the shots and blocked-shots columns, and the 24-year-old defenseman is averaging a hefty 23:00 of ice time (2:37 on the power play) per game. He’s still more of a floor contributor than upside candidate, though.
D Vince Dunn, STL (41%): Currently quarterbacking the No. 1 power-play unit, Dunn’s value is on the rise. He recorded a respectable 24 points (nine with the man advantage) as a rookie last season and has already scored two goals this year. It also wouldn’t be surprising if there was an uptick in his peripheral numbers now that he’s playing a larger role with the Blues.
D Dennis Cholowski, DET (44%): The rookie has made an immediate impact with two goals, three assists and 16 shots through six games. The shot volume is particularly impressive, and Cholowski is already receiving big minutes (21:48 per game with 2:28 on the power play). The 2016 first-round selection appears to in the beginning stages of an excellent career.
G Linus Ullmark, BUF (41%): While his starts may be limited behind Carter Hutton, Ullmark has been rock-solid to begin the year. The Swede has won both his starts and allowed just a single goal on 56 shots (.982 save percentage), and Ullmark should push for a more even timeshare over the course of the season.
G Anders Nilsson, VAN (42%): The Canucks aren’t going to enable Nilsson to pile up wins, and he’s also going to cede starts to Jacob Markstrom, so the upside I capped. However, Nilsson has been excellent to start the campaign with a 3-1 record, .925 save percentage and 2.26 GAA. Those numbers move the needle in all settings, but being selective with his matchups moving forward is also advised.
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