Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire
The first week of the NHL season is always exciting and goals are up again to start the 2018-19 campaign. Injuries have opened the door for a number of players to climb up their respective depth charts — especially in goal — and fantasy owners with weaknesses in their lineups shouldn’t wait to address them. Here’s a look at players owned in less than 60 percent of Fantrax fantasy hockey leagues who can help your club.
Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire
C Jordan Staal, CAR (47%): At this stage of Staal’s career, you know what you’re getting from the veteran: modest offensive numbers with solid production in the secondary categories. Staal’s already collected two goals, four points, 12 shots, 13 hits, and 47 faceoff wins through three games.
C/LW/RW J.T. Compher, COL (20%): The multi-position eligibility is a nice bonus, and Compher has scored in consecutive games to start the season. However, he’s logged just 10:47 of ice time thus far and he appears locked into a bottom-six role. Still, there is potential in deep settings, as Compher has carved out a gig with the No. 2 power-play unit and has scored at the lower levels.
C Kevin Hayes, NYR (26%): Following Rick Nash’s trade to Boston last year, Hayes paced the Rangers in scoring with 18 points through 23 games and also collected a career-high 25 goals. The 26-year-old forward is in the heart of his prime and is locked into a top-six role with power-play time.
C Adam Henrique, ANA (53%): A lack of center depth will work in Henrique’s favor again this season, and the veteran now has 39 points — 21 goals — through 60 games as a Duck. He’s started the campaign off with nice peripheral production (four shots, three hits, five blocked shots, and 21 faceoff wins), and profiles as a respectable cross-category contributor with the benefit of offensive minutes.
LW/RW Micheal Ferland, CAR (41%): The first-year Hurricane has landed in an ideal fantasy spot skating on the No. 1 line with Sebastain Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. Ferland has collected two goals, two assists, 11 shots, and five hits through the first three games of the season and projects to continue piling up bodychecks after recording 171 last season. His shooting arsenal is legit, too.
LW Patrick Maroon, STL (44%): The big winger is currently skating with Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko atop the Blues’ depth chart in all situations. Maroon’s offensive ceiling is somewhat capped, but he’s capable of chipping in while providing solid numbers in the hit and penalty minute columns. Additionally, don’t forget that he’s a St. Louis native, and a career year could be in store playing for his hometown team.
LW Chris Kreider, NYR (56%): A holdover from last week, Kreider has recorded two goals, six shots, six penalty minutes and five hits through the first three games of the season. The 27-year-old winger is playing prime offensive minutes and offers the cross-category appeal that should have him owned in more settings.
LW Alex Iafallo, LA (20%): The 24-year-old forward is off to a strong start with two goals and an assist through two games while skating on the No. 1 line with Anze Kopitar and Ilya Kovalchuk. Iafallo and Kopitar generated 11.2 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes when sharing the ice last season, and as long as Los Angeles’ top trio remains in tact, Iafallo offers offensive upside.
LW/RW Artturi Lehkonen, MON (34%): While a gig on the No. 1 power-play unit is the top selling point for Lehkonen, his instant chemistry with Max Domi shouldn’t be ignored, either. The two youngsters have connected for 21.73 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes to start the season, and with Lehkonen’s shooting ability and willingness to put pucks on net, he’s a lock for career-best numbers.
LW/RW Conor Sheary, BUF (37%): Currently skating with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart on Buffalo’s No. 1 line, Sheary is positioned to succeed. The first-year Sabre has cashed in on the opportunity with two goals and an assist through three games, but his value is likely tied to sticking on Eichel’s wing, so it’s a situation to keep tabs on moving forward.
RW Justin Williams, CAR (23%): A sneaky cross-category contributor, Williams registered 198 shots, 56 penalty minutes, and 79 hits to go with his 51 points (16 goals) last season. He’s already recorded three assists through three games to start the 2018-19 campaign and should top 45 points for the third consecutive year.
LW/RW Nikolay Goldobin, VAN (31%): It’s been a long road to landing a permanent NHL job for the 2014 first-round selection, but Goldobin appears set to reward. He’s recorded a goal, two assists, and four shots through two games and is now skating with Elias Pettersson on Vancouver’s second line. Just note that the offensive production will likely be paired with underwhelming peripheral numbers.
D Henri Jokiharju, CHI (53%): The rookie’s value is skyrocketing in a hurry, and for good reason. After lighting up the WHL with 71 points in 63 games last year, Jokiharju’s recorded five assists, 10 shots, and seven hits through his first three NHL contests. Pedigree is on his side, and it looks like the 19-year-old Finn is set for a long and successful career. It wouldn’t be shocking if there were peaks and valleys through his freshman campaign, though.
D Dennis Cholowski, DET (36%): The 2016 first-round selection is off to a strong start for the Red Wings. He’s logging 22:10 of ice time per game (1:46 on the power play) and has recorded a goal, two assists, five shots, and seven blocked shots through three contests. It’ll be interesting to see how the late bloomer holds up over the course of an 82-game schedule, but the upside is clearly there.
D Brady Skjei, NYR (45%): A more meaningful role and tougher minutes hurt Skjei’s fantasy production as a sophomore, but he posted excellent peripheral numbers with 153 shots, 127 hits, and 119 blocked shots to go with his 25 points. He’s set to see plenty of ice time again this year and offers a well-rounded profile with obvious offensive upside.
D Erik Gustafsson, CHI (21%): Following a strong finish to the 2017-18 season, Gustafsson is locked into a go-to role for the Blackhawks. He’s averaged 20:17 of ice time to start the year, which includes work on the No. 1 power-play unit. The 26-year-old Swede has registered two assists, four shots, five hits, and five blocked shots while starting 60 percent of his five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone.
D Johnny Boychuk, NYI (24%): A deep-league candidate past his prime, Boychuk offers solid secondary numbers with over 100 shots, hits and blocked shots in each of the past four seasons. Additionally, last year’s injury-shortened campaign (58 games) was the first time the 35-year-old veteran failed to top 20 points since 2012-13. Don’t overlook Boychuk as an option to round out a blue-line corps.
G James Reimer, FLA (54%): With Roberto Luongo (knee) out for at least a couple weeks, Reimer will man the crease for the Panthers. Reimer’s ownership projects to climb in a hurry, and he offers upside as a matchup-based starter. The 30-year-old netminder owns an admirable .915 save percentage for his career, including a .918 mark over the past four seasons.
G Curtis McElhinney, CAR (25%): The No. 1 gig in Carolina is up for grabs, and McElhinney has a chance to earn top ranks. The journeyman backup owns a .926 save percentage and 2.40 goals-against average through his past 40 games, so there’s at least fleeting value here. Scott Darling (lower body) will make the position battle even murkier when he returns, however.
G Jack Campbell, LA (37%): So far, so good for Campbell, as the 26-year-old goalie turned in a 36-save win in his first start of the campaign. Jonathan Quick (lower body) is currently on injured reserve, so Campbell will handle starting duties for the foreseeable future. Just note, Los Angeles is in the midst of a four-game road trip, so it’s probably wise to cherry-pick matchups.