Every week, we’ll mine the waiver wire for lesser-owned assets to help your fantasy hockey 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 might be overvalued — in the short or long term — for one reason or another.
Mildly maligned earlier in this space for his reduced role within the Lightning offense, Johnson regains some fantasy cred as a reincarnated winger on Tampa’s top line. Shifted to the left side of Steven Stamkos, the 27-year-old center scored twice in Sunday’s 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. That’s a 50 percent increase in Johnson’s four goals through 25 games to that point. If you’ve stuck with the under-producing forward until this stage, get ready to quickly reap the rewards from his new spot alongside Stamkos.
Settling in on the Ducks’ top line with Corey Perry following his trade from the New Jersey Devils, Henrique has two assists and one shootout goal in two contests. Fantasy managers should exploit what they can from the 27-year-old before fellow centers Ryan Getzlaf (face) and Ryan Kesler (hip) return from their respective injuries, at which point Henrique is likely to tumble from his prominent No. 1 posting. Both Ryans are due back mid- to late-December.
Year 2 with the Islanders is already shaping up more favorably than Year 1. Criticized last season for failing to click with top center John Tavares, Ladd is adapting nicely to his new role on the Isles’ other scoring line with Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle. Unlike Barzal and Eberle, the veteran goal scorer is widely available in ESPN leagues. Ladd has three goals and one assist (plus-five) in five recent contests.
Centering a Blue Jackets’ top line with Artemi Panarin and Josh Anderson and competing on the No. 1 power play, the 19-year-old rookie has a goal and five assists in four straight contests. There’s a reason Columbus drafted Dubois third overall in 2016, ahead of winger Jesse Puljujarvi. We’re just at the start of what could be quite a career for this big, skilled young centerman. He merits rostering in all dynasty/keeper leagues, plus other deep redraft assemblies.
Two power-play goals, 14 shots and 10 hits through his first three games suggest Berglund has a place in deeper fantasy leagues and that the 29-year-old imposing forward doesn’t feel at all impaired following off-season shoulder surgery.
Supplanting young Denis Malgin, Bjugstad is the latest forward to fill the top-line/top-power play void aside Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov in place of Evgenii Dadonov. So far, so good, as Bjugstad has scored in two straight, with one of the two goals assisted by both Huberdeau and Barkov. With Dadonov expected out four-to-six weeks with a shoulder injury, Bjugstad should enjoy ample opportunity to run hotter than normal.
Consider investing in Desharnais as an injury plug in seasonal redraft leagues or cheap DFS asset as long as he’s subbing in for the injured Mika Zibanejad (concussion) on the Rangers’ top line, but not a moment longer. Desharnais has a goal and three assists through two games as Zibanejad’s temporary replacement.
Sami Vatanen, New Jersey Devils (16.5 percent)
As anticipated, the former Duck has quickly carved out a role for himself as top-pair defenseman and power-play participant with his new club in Jersey. Two games in, it won’t be long before Vatanen starts denting the score sheet with regularity. Remember, in contrast with popular Devils’ tradition, this Taylor Hall-led club is actually scoring at a pleasing clip this season. Once he becomes comfortable in his new digs, Vatanen should quickly climb the fantasy ranks as a consistent productive threat from the blue line.
In a throwback to his productive stretches of yesteryear, Edler has one goal and four assists in seven contests. Skating on the top pair and with the Canucks’ No. 1 power play, the 31-year-old veteran has averaged nearly 23:40 minutes per game through that span. Fantasy managers with blue-line needs may want to exploit this nostalgic trend before it dries up once more.
One of the few bright spots for the Senators of late has been the emergence of the 20-year-old blueliner. Two years after he was drafted 18th overall, Chabot followed up this past Friday’s three-point performance against the Islanders with a career high of 22:21 minutes played in Sunday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets. He’s just getting started. Outside of shallow redraft leagues, this keeper-gem should be spoken for across most of the ESPN board.
Filling in for Corey Crawford, who was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body issue, Forsberg has been impressive through two starts, stopping all but three of 57 shots faced. It’s not the 25-year-old’s fault those out front couldn’t do their bit, resulting in two consecutive losses for Chicago. While Crawford isn’t expected out long, Forsberg merits a spot start or daily fantasy investment where applicable, particularly Friday against the visiting Buffalo Sabres, if the Hawks’ No. 1 remains sidelined.
Listed as day-to-day with a head injury suffered in Monday’s tilt with the Sharks, Oshie has been all but ruled out for Wednesday’s game versus Chicago. Beyond that, there’s no predicting when the 30-year-old might return. If Oshie’s absence happens to stretch on, look for Andre Burakovsky to eventually fill in with the Capitals’ top six. Recovering from a broken thumb since late October, Burakovsky is anticipated back within the next few days.
With Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) loosely pegged to return within the week, Subban’s current tenure as Knights’ No. 1 could be nearing a close. Fantasy managers invested one way or the other should monitor the situation closely. Subban has been solid (5-2, 2.19 goals-against average, .926 save percentage) as Vegas’ to-go starter before and after sustaining his own lower-body injury.