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The Wire Troll: Nikita Zadorov Filling Cracks for the Flames

January 28, 2023 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Nikita Zadorov has been piling the points for the Calgary Flames.
Nikita Zadorov is getting it done for the Flames. (The Win Column)

Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. January is nearly done and the All-Star break is around the corner, so be sure to capitalize on waiver wire hidden gems.

This week, the Leafs have lost Auston Matthews for at least three weeks (see below for the Fantasy opportunity); Victor Hedman‘s big goal helped the Lightning stay historically hot at home; and the Rangers have rewarded Ben Harpur with a two-year extension.

And now, let’s get to this week’s…

Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Picks

Nikita Zadorov, D, Calgary Flames (ESPN: 3.2 per cent; CBS: 21 per cent): Just a few weeks ago, we suggested you pick up Zadorov while Chris Tanev was out. Well, Tanev is out again, so let’s try this a second time. Zadorov was all over the scoresheet on Friday: the game-winning goal to give him a new career high (see video below), five shots, two blocks and four PIM), and now has four goals in the last 12 games.

Pavel Zacha, C, Boston Bruins (ESPN: 7.2 per cent; CBS: 33 per cent): It’s been over four years since we last pimped Zacha, suggesting he was poised for a breakout — a good call as he got better and better as that season progressed. Now that he’s playing with David Krejci and David Pastrnak on an all-Czech line, Zacha deserves some more love. Even if Pastrnak has been extremely fortunate with his puck luck this season, Zacha is sure to benefit, and we’ve seen that lately, with seven points over the last six games. Taken sixth overall in 2015, Zacha has taken some time to fully develop, but now that he has, Fantasy owners would be wise to take advantage.

Shane Pinto, C, Ottawa Senators (ESPN: 5.8 per cent; CBS: 26 per cent): Several weeks ago, we wondered why Pinto wasn’t getting more Fantasy love, and while he picked up the pace last month, it’s been a cool January (15 games without a goal before he dented the twine Wednesday). Still, he’s recorded points in back-to-back games and his role is solidified with news that Josh Norris (shoulder) is done for the season.

Antti Raanta, G, Carolina Hurricanes (ESPN: 10.5 per cent; CBS: 32 per cent): Just under two years ago, we last pimped Raanta, and it was a great call as he played very well for the rest of the season. And while he wasn’t at his best Friday, he deserves consideration given that he’s undefeated in regulation since the middle of November, and still boats a very solid 2.55 GAA. No, Raanta hasn’t been as spectacular as he was last season, but he’s trending in the right direction, so give him a look if you need a goalie.

Mack Guzda, G, Florida Panthers (ESPN: NA; CBS: NA): Sergei Bobrovsky has landed on the IR, prompting the recall of Gudza on Friday. Gudza has yet to play in the NHL, but is an intriguing dynasty option if you can wait a couple of years. His OHL performance last season sure opened some eyes, and he’s been playing well in the AHL so far this season.

Denis Malgin, RW, Colorado Avalanche (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: 6 per cent): Malgin returned from injury Thursday just in time to be the benefactor of Valeri Nichushkin‘s injury (UBI, day-to-day). We last recommended Malgin early in the 2018-19 season, and he delivered mixed results, and has generally frustrated owners with his lack of production despite flashes of talent. He did log a helper on Thursday, and while Matt Nieto‘s arrival could be an issue, Malgin deserves consideration in deep leagues.

Pontus Holmberg, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs (ESPN: unowned; CBS: 2 per cent): Matthews’ injury allowed Holmberg to be moved up to the second line with William Nylander and Calle Jarnkrok. The opportunity is there for Holmberg, but taking six minutes in penalties like he did on Friday won’t be accepted for long. Still, he showed chemistry with Nylander in the past, so this is worth keeping an eye on.

Vladislav Gavrikov, D, Columbus Blue Jackets (ESPN: 45.2 per cent; CBS: 9 per cent): Gavrikov has become a minute-munching two-way blueliner capable of contributing a bit of offense and raking up the blocks. He’ll be leaned on even more heavily while Nick Blankenburg (UBI, day-to-day) is out. Just note that Gavrikov is a prime trade candidate at the deadline and that could hurt his value from a PT perspective.

Matt Grzelcyk, D, Boston Bruins (ESPN: 4.4 per cent; CBS: 35 per cent): After a low start to the season, Grzelcyk has really stepped up offensively of late, with eight points through 12 games this month. He’s taking more penalties this season, but has generally been a decent source of points from the blueline throughout his career (and a solid +/- player) while improving his scoring numbers over time fairly consistently.

Michael Amadio, C/RW, Vegas Golden Knights (ESPN: 0.3 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): While Mark Stone is out, there’s a great opportunity for some Knights to step up, and while Amadio hasn’t exactly seized his chance and run with it (hell, he got benched in the third period on Friday), no one else has either. Amadio didn’t have a great season in his draft year, but he sure bounced back in his final season of junior, potting 50 goals. We’ve seen hints of that offense in the AHL, and even rarer glimpses in the NHL (11 goals in 53 games last season), so this may be a deep league option that’s worth a roll of the dice.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Thomas William Cochrane, better known as Tom Cochrane, has won eight Juno awards. Here’s “Dreamers Dream,” one of four top 20 singles from his third album, Ragged Ass Road, named after a street in Yellowknife, NWT.

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