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The Wire Troll: Nate Schmidt Getting Tons of PT for Golden Knights

November 3, 2017 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Nate Schmidt is an anchor on defense for the Vegas Golden Knights.
Nate Schmidt is turning into a two-way defenseman in Vegas. (John Hefti-USA Today Sports)

Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey waiver wire recommendations. We’re into November now, putting us nearly a sixth of the way through the season. Not quite time yet to fully assess your team, but deep enough into the campaign to have some idea of your strengths and weaknesses. And that’s what you need to focus on when seeking additions on the wire.

This week, the always outspoken Alex Ovechkin took it to another level with his new group Team Putin to support the Russian president; the Los Angeles Kings continued their hot start, remaining a darling on sites like NetBet Sport, as they have now scaled to the top of the Western Conference; and Michal Nuevirth stood on his head Thursday to lead the Flyers and their barely out of diapers defense corps to a shocking win in St. Louis.

And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy hockey waiver wire picks…

Nate Schmidt, D, Vegas Golden Knights (ESPN: 12.1 per cent; CBS: 29 per cent): Despite seeing less PT last season, Schmidt started to develop his offensive game, enough so that Vegas decided to roll the dice on him in the expansion draft. That gamble has paid off handsomely for both sides as he’s responded nicely to massively increased ice time, especially in five-on-five situations. He’s always been able to move the puck well, but now Schmidt is seeing time on the power play, and with four assists over the last five games seems to taking the next step offensively. In fact, he’s doing everything in Vegas. And we mean everything (see video below). The former Capital clearly has a chip on his shoulder that he wasn’t protected, and Fantasy owners have a chance to reap the rewards.

Pavel Zacha, C, New Jersey Devils (ESPN: 2.7 per cent; CBS: 20 per cent): Other than a two-assist effort last week, Zacha hasn’t done much lately, and his PT has waned in recent games. But we believe he could be a deep league flier with Marcus Johansson currently dealing with a concussion. Zacha had a decent rookie season in 2016-17, experiencing a fair amount of success on the power play. There’s upside here, so it might be wise to stash him now and see how things play out over the next couple of weeks because we think it may pay off. The Devils are a team on the rise, and Zacha’s role is likely to expand as the season progresses.

Jay Beagle, C, Washington Capitals (ESPN: 0.7 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): Beagle is deep league fodder only, but with a goal, two assists and a +2 rating over the last four games, the veteran is starting to make noise. Where he can really help you, though, is in leagues that track faceoff wins. Beagle is currently tied for second in the NHL with a 62.1 per cent success rate on draws, racking up 105 wins to date. He’s mostly known for his defensive play, but while he’s contributing a bit to the attack, he’s worth a look.

Lars Eller, C, Washington Capitals (ESPN: 0.9 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): Eller is another Capital centre that specializes in faceoffs (currently tied for 45th in the league at over 52 per cent), but one that plays more and has greater more offensive skill. That was on display Thursday when he went off for two goals, an assist and a +3 rating, potting the game-winner as Washington edged the Isles. He’s a bottom six forward, so is likely just a deep league add, but he’s off to a nice start and on Thursday he even saw much more power play time than usual. Eller is in the early stages of a career season, so it might behoove you take a shot on him, especially in formats that reward faceoff prowess.

Ice Chips

  • After a slow start in Buffalo, left winger Benoit Pouliot is now on fire, with four goals and an assist over his last five games. Still seeking his first 20-goal season after 11 campaigns, he’s on pace to pot 25, so give him a look in deep formats.
  • We’re witnessing a breakout season by Ottawa winger Mark Stone. His career high is 26 goals, but after potting his third tally in four games on Thursday, he’s on pace for 50.
  • Christian Dvorak had a decent rookie campaign last season, drilling 15 goals. But after a slow start this season, he’s putting to rest any fears of a sophomore slump, scoring his first two goals of the season over the last three games, and putting up five points over the last five. Pick him up. He has big time playmaking potential and tons of upside.
  • Jimmy Howard has been between the pipes for 11 of Detroit’s first 14 games, and after a brief slump a couple of weeks ago, is looking pretty strong. For a workhorse goalie, he’s available on quite a few waiver wires.
  • Brandon Manning is seeing a ton of ice time with the Flyers’ D beat up right now. Two goals and an assist with a +2 rating over the last four games is a nice bonus for a guy that’s available in virtually all formats. Consider him a nice short-term add in deeper formats.
  • With three points in his last three games, New York Rangers centre J.T. Miller is now on pace to top 60 points for the first time in his career. Unfortunately, his ice time is down in recent games, so keep an eye on that.

Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey waiver wire pick of the week is.

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