The Wire Troll: Leo Carlsson Lights the Lamp
Leo Carlsson made an immediate impact in Anaheim. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. The season remains fresh and full of possibilities, meaning now is the time you want to make the most of the waiver wire as there’s real gold to be found.
This week, Leo Carlsson had an NHL debut to remember; Corey Perry continues to get under opponents skin; and Calgary’s 2022 second round pick is embroiled in a rape investigation.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Picks
Leo Carlsson, C, Anaheim Ducks (ESPN: 8.6 per cent; CBS: 42 per cent): Carlsson, the second overall pick in this year’s draft, had yet to make his NHL debut thanks to an LBI, but he was ready to go Thursday. And with Adam Henrique (illness) out, the Ducks put the rookie on the top line. Carlsson responded, scoring a gorgeous goal and playing a strong game overall. Henrique could be ready to return very soon, and it’s still unclear if Anaheim would consider keeping Carlsson on the No. 1 line, but what is clear is that you need to grab this rookie right now. Carlsson logged a cool 19 minutes, recording a pair of shots, and going +2, with a dominant xGF of 65.85. This kid can skate and sees the ice really well, ultimately projecting as a top playmaker, but he can obviously put the puck in the net, too. Aand when he does, you’ll hear this…
Paul Cotter, C/LW, Vegas Golden Knights (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): When Cotter first arrived in the NHL a couple of years ago, we liked him as a player capable of helping his Fantasy owners in hits, and considering he racked up 168 in 55 games as a rookie last season, we pretty much nailed that. However, he also proved he was not a one-trick pony as he also managed 13 goals. What intrigues us now is that it seems Cotter is moving up the Golden Knight depth chart and seeing top six type PT (over 13 minutes in each of the last two, including a season-high 15 on Thursday). He clearly has value in deep formats for the hits; but there could very well be offensive upside, so consider him a sleeper — especially if he continues to get that much TOI.
Brock Faber, D, Minnesota Wild (ESPN: 8 per cent; CBS: 32 per cent): Talk about a dude born to play for the Wild. Faber is Minnesota born and bred and if that’s not enough, he’s also the former captain of the Golden Gophers. And after a two-game cameo with the Wild last season, he’s become a full-timer and arguably the team’s top blueliner so far. Faber has already managed to put up his first career goal (a game-winner, to boot) and assist while producing more Fantasy points than better known defensemen such as Vladislav Gavrikov. Need help on your blueline? Grab Faber while you can.
- It’s time to give some Fantasy love to Calgary centre Adam Ruzicka, who just keeps getting better and better. Last season, he broke through for 20 points in 44 games, and early on this season, he looks poised to take it to a whole new level with four points through four games, including the game-winning goal on Thursday before getting shut out on Friday. Ruzicka’s had some puck luck so far, but the significant increase in PT intrigues us, so go ahead and grab this kid.
- If Carter Hart was dropped in your league, give him another look. He looked fantastic in winning two home games this week, stopping 47 of 48 shots to raise his save percentage to .929. Hart enjoyed a sweet bounce back last season, and is building on that in a big way so far in 2022-23.
- It’s been a shaky start to the season for Toronto’s No. 1 goalie Ilya Samsonov, but he has gotten better each game, and he enjoyed his first solid effort on Thursday. He’s coming off a career season, losing only 10 of a career-best 40 starts with personal bests in GAA and save percentage. Samsonov could be a buy-low candidate if his owner is the quick-to-panic type.
- A.J. Greer‘s value is still only limited to the deepest of deep formats, but it seems like the move to Calgary will be good for him. He’s already logged an assist and is seeing his most ice time since his very first look in the league back in 2016-17. Still, where are all of Greer’s penalty minutes? He tied for sixth in the NHL with 114 PIM last season, but took until Friday to record his first minor penalty of 2023-24.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
American blues musician Taj Mahal was born Henry St. Claire Fredericks Jr. He’s been at it since 1964, and at age 81 is still rocking today. In 1996, his song “Ain’t That a Lot of Love,” was included in the 1996 concert film, The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. The tune was written by Willia Dean “Deanie” Parker and Homer Banks (who was a big Stax Records songwriter in the ’60s and ’70s).