The Wire Troll: Brian Dumoulin to See Plenty of PT for Pittsburgh
Brian Dumoulin will be leaned on heavily. (Michael Miller)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. We’re two-thirds done the season with the Trade Deadline just a couple of weeks away, so it’s time to pay close attention and start identifying players that may see a boost in value down the stretch.
This week, Duncan Keith got a hero’s salute in his return to Chicago; Ivan Miroshnichenko, a projected first round pick this year, will miss as much as a year while dealing with serious health problems; and the Sharks made a deal for a goalie after James Reimer got hurt (see below).
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Picks
Brian Dumoulin, D, Pittsburgh Penguins (ESPN: 2.7 per cent; CBS: 6 per cent): Dumoulin has dealt with his share of injuries in recent years, including in 2019-20 when he failed to play even 30 games. But through it all, he’s consistently seen more ice time. And now, with Mike Matheson (UBI) out indefinitely, the Pens are really going to lean on Dumoulin (22:49 ATOI over the last two games). Dumoulin has not been producing offensively of late, but he’s a big (6’4″, 207) defender who can move the puck, rack up the blocked shots (even goal-saving ones, like the block he discusses in the video below) and is unafraid to mix it up. Small wonder he’s a fan fave in Steel City.
Connor McMichael, C/LW, Washington Capitals (ESPN: 0.4 per cent; CBS: 17 per cent): McMichael’s lack of productivity (over three weeks since his last point) is a concern, but he should get a boost with Carl Hagelin (eye) out long term. McMichael arrived in the NHL with a lot of hype, but with just 15 points so far, he hasn’t enjoyed the kind of rookie season some anticipated. But there was a reason he was taken 25th overall in 2019, so be patient. Don’t forget that last season McMichael managed over 0.8 points per game in the AHL as a rookie; there’s plenty of upside here.
Zach Sawchenko, G, San Jose Sharks (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: unowned): As alluded to above, the Sharks’ goaltending situation is in dire straights right now after starter Reimer got hurt on top of regular backup Adin Hill already being out. This leaves youngster Sawchenko and newly aquired Alex Stalock to man the crease for now. When Reimer had to leave early on Tuesday, it was Sawchenko who took his place and may be in line to start Saturday. Sawchenko wasn’t razor sharp on Tuesday, but in three relief appearances, he’s made 40 saves on 43 shots for a sweet .930 save percentage. The Calgary native is a perfect 6-for-6 in saving high danger scoring chances so far. If you need goaltending help, Sawchenko is an intriguing short-term addition.
Brian Elliott, G, Tampa Bay Lightning (ESPN: 2.1 per cent; CBS: 11 per cent): Speaking of backup goalies (yes, we’re digging deep this week), on the other end of the age spectrum is Lightning No. 2 goalie Elliott. Injury-prone as a starter, he has found his niche as a backup and earned the win in a rare start on Friday. Elliott has alternated good and bad outings in recent weeks, but it’s hard to quibble with his record, GAA (lowest since he left the Blues) and save percentage (best since his first two seasons in Philly). One of the last goalies to still use a wood stick, he makes for a decent backup in a very deep league.
Ryan McLeod, C, Edmonton Oilers (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): McLeod has been getting a shot in the top six with several key Oiler forwards hurting, and now that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (UBI) is out week-to-week, McLeod’s opportunity has increased. No, McLeod hasn’t been overly productive, but his ice time keeps rising, so it’s just a matter of time before the goals start coming more frequently. Consider him a nice speculative pickup for the second half.
- When Minnesota drafted Kaapo Kahkonen in the fourth round in 2014, there were some questions about his draft-season struggles, but since making his NHL debut in 2019-20, he’s just gotten better and better. He’s had a rough go in his last two starts — especially when it comes to handling the puck behind the net — but he’s already nearly matched his career high in starts while posting his best save percentage yet.
- Less than three years ago, Anaheim winger Jakob Silfverberg was a hot Fantasy commodity, but he’s regressed since. However, he’s off to a good start this month, scoring on Friday after picking up a helper on Tuesday. Silfverberg’s clearly no longer a lock for 20 goals annually as there’s already been three separate months this season that he’s failed to score a goal, yet he has more points than he managed all of last season, so that’s something.
- It’s been another lost season in Buffalo, but right winger Kyle Okposo hasn’t given up. With another goal and assist on Friday, he’s on a 4-2-6 roll over the last five games. Okposo put up a season-best five goals in February and has carried that roll into March. It’s been a nice rebound season as he now has his most goals since 2017-18 — in 26 fewer games. Okposo should top 20 for the fourth time in his career.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Here’s another track from the classic The Last Waltz farewell concert by The Band. This is Van Morrison sharing lyrics with Richard Manuel on “Tura Lura Lural (That’s an Irish Lullaby).”