The Wire Troll: Alex Lyon Willing Panthers to Playoffs
Alex Lyon’s play has been huge for the Cats. (Miami Herald)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. The regular season wraps up next week, so this in the 2022-23 finale of the NHL Wire Troll. We hope our picks have helped you win some hardware!
This week, yet another Russian player (Montreal’s Denis Gurianov) opted to not wire a Pride jersey; Alex Killorn and Adam Fox are each $5,000 poorer thanks to fines for slashing; and Mason Shaw is done for the season thanks to tearing his ACL for the fourth time (see below for the Fantasy opportunity this presents).
And now, let’s get to this season’s final batch of…
Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Picks
Alex Lyon, G, Florida Panthers (ESPN: 6.3 per cent; CBS: 9 per cent): You’ve got to go back over five years since Lyon was last relevant, but he’s been standing on his head lately, willing the Panthers into a playoff spot with his goaltending. Over the last three games alone all he’s done is save 116 of 119 shots. WTF? That’s a .975 save percentage for those of you keeping track at home. Lyon has won five straight, so grab him while he’s scorching. Hell, he even looks (mostly) good in warmups (see video below).
Morgan Frost, C, Philadelphia Flyers (ESPN: 8.4 per cent; CBS: 17 per cent): Frost headlined our season debut of the Wire Troll and now he’s back for a second helping in our finale. It’s been a rocky, inconsistent road for him this season, but he’s killing it now with five goals and seven points in five games before a lackluster effort in Dallas on Thursday. Frost enjoyed his finest goal scoring month of the season in March as he desperately tries to show the rebuilding Flyers that he’s part of the solution moving forward. His PT has risen steadily since the end of January as veterans likely to be shipped out this summer (like Kevin Hayes) take a back seat to the kids.
Sam Steel, C, Minnesota Wild (ESPN: 0.4 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): Steel got his big chance in early December when he was moved up to the top line for the Wild, and he responded… for a little while. Unfortunately, he cooled in January, went invisible in February and was only slightly better in March. But Steel is getting another opportunity to show what he can do now that Shaw is out, and while he’s been quiet so far, the ice time has been there, and that’s enough to warrant consideration.
Devon Levi, G, Buffalo Sabres (ESPN: 3.7 per cent; CBS: 18 per cent): Could the Sabres finally have a goalie that can help transform them into a playoff team? Recently signed to an ELC, two-time NCAA goalie of the year Levi looked extremely sharp in his first two starts before running into trouble on Thursday. Still, he was lauded for his ability to overcome adversity in earning the win, and it sure sounds like Buffalo is going to run with him as the No. 1 for the rest of the season. Levi is an agile netminder with great puck-tracking skills.
Mitchell Gibson, G, Washington Capitals (ESPN: NA; CBS: NA): Washington’s fourth round pick in 2018, Gibson just signed an entry level contract upon completion of his college career at Harvard. One of the Caps’ top prospects, he improved his save percentage each year in college, and will be worth tracking as a possible dynasty league option now that he’s turned pro and reported to the AHL.
Luke Evangelista, RW, Nashville Predators (ESPN: 1 per cent; CBS: 19 per cent): Nashville’s 2020 second round pick has made an instant impact since being recalled at the end of February, potting 13 points, including six goals, through 20 games. He’s not a big kid, but isn’t afraid to throw the occasional hit, and he’s excelled at takeaways while posting very impressive possession metrics. Evangelista has a bright future, and can provide a bit of offense for you now.
Mikael Backlund, C, Calgary Flames (ESPN: 26.5 per cent; CBS: 39 per cent): We pimped Backlund in December, and while many owners have cottoned on, he’s still widely available. Currently acting as the Calgary’s 2C, he’s on a nice roll with five points over the last five games while potting double-digit points in each of the last three months heading into April — giving him a career-high 54 heading into this final stretch. Backlund, the team’s longest-tenured player, has also been a very fine source of PP points.
Joonas Korpisalo, G, Los Angeles Kings (ESPN: 19 per cent; CBS: 49 per cent): It’s been over three years since we last gave Korpisalo some love, but after flaming out in Columbus the past few seasons, he’s really stepped up since getting dealt to the Kings. In fact, he’s arguably never looked better, despite taking a beatdown on Thursday in which he got yanked early in the second period. It’s not clear that Korpisalo has wrestled the Kings’ net from Pheonix Copley but, unlike Copley, the Finn does have some playoff experience, so that will likely be a factor when the team decides who starts Game One in a week and a half.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Plain and simple, James Brown was one of the most important musicians of the 20th century. Here’s another track from his soundtrack album to Black Caesar, “The Boss,” co-written by Brown along with longtime collaborators Charles Bobbit and Fred Wesley.