The Wire Troll: Erik Haula Can Help You
Erik Haula has been piling up the goals. (X.com)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. November has arrived, so it’s time to start getting a bit more serious about assessing your team’s strengths and weaknesses. And that means turning to the waiver wire to find improvements.
This week, Charlie McAvoy has appealed his four-game suspension; the Rangers lost both Adam Fox and Filip Chytil to injury; and Sam Bennett (LBI) is hurt again in Florida.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Picks
Erik Haula, LW, New Jersey Devils (ESPN: 18.2 per cent; CBS: 16 per cent): Almost four years have elapsed since we last examined Haula, and that pick delivered mixed, mostly meh, results. The following season was worse, but Haula has been on the rebound since, and with five goals already, he’s definitely worth considering again. He’s found the back of the net in almost half of the Devils’ games already (see video below for an example), with a two-goal effort mixed in for good measure, putting him on pace to blow past his career-best of 29 markers. A speedy playmaker, Haula’s results in his first season in the swamp (after being traded for Pavel Zacha) weren’t great, but he’s making up for that now in a big way.
T.J. Brodie, D, Toronto Maple Leafs (ESPN: 6.8 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): When we last talked about Brodie he was on the first pair in Calgary and due for a PT spike, and it wound up being a fine pick. Since then, he’s been inconsistent with his scoring, but once again he’s likely going to get more minutes now. Already on the first pairing, Brodie will probably be leaned on even more with Timothy Liljegren joining Jake McCabe on the sidelines. Could Brodie even take Liljegren’s PP2 role? Brodie has been doing a good job of pinching in to keep the offense alive, but so far only been rewarded with a single helper. Still, assuming he can stay healthy (unlike last season), more points will come.
Yegor Chinakhov, RW, Columbus Blue Jackets (ESPN: 0.3 per cent; CBS: NA): Chinakhov has been recalled from the AHL and is now ready to make his season debut after recovering from a back injury. He’s clearly too good for that league (over a point per game last season, and three goals with an assist in three games this season), so let’s see what he can do in an extended look. Chinakhov had a decent rookie effort in 2021-22, and while he was scoring at a better pace last season, injuries limited him to 30 games. The team’s 2020 first round pick (21st overall) has proven to be an asset on the power play in the past, so keep an eye on how he’s deployed. There’s major potential here.
Mikey Anderson, D, Los Angeles Kings (ESPN: 14.3 per cent; CBS: 48 per cent): Believe it or not, Drew Doughty is not the top scoring defenseman on the Kings so far, ceded that honour to Anderson (seven points through 10 games, despite getting shut out in back-to-back games). Anderson broke out with 20 points last season and looks poised to take his game another step this season. Yes, this level of offense is probably unsustainable, but we’d suggest adding him for now to see how this plays out.
- With one goal, Erik Johnson has already topped his total from last season, but realistically, other than blocked shots, he has very limited Fantasy value these days given his declining PT. At 35, the former No. 1 overall pick is no longer a minute muncher, although it does seem like he’s going to play every game for the time being.
- Anze Kopitar, however, is an old-timer (36) who remains tremendously Fantasy relevant. He fired home the game-winner Thursday, giving him three goals and five points over the last four games to put him on a point-per-game pace through the first 10 games. Believe it or not, Kopitar has topped this scoring rate just once in his illustrious career.
- Arizona has actually been pretty good lately (three straight games without a regulation loss), and among the reasons why has been the play of rookie Logan Cooley, the third overall pick in 2022. He’s got points in each of the last three, four of the last five, and eight in total through 10 games on the season. Cooley has quickly established himself as a must-own Fantasy asset.
- Speaking of young and rising stars, Jack Hughes just keeps getting better and better. The No. 1 overall pick in 2019 narrowly missed his first 100-point campaign last season, but has somehow taken his game to a new level in 2023-24 with better than two points per game and a league-leading 12 primary assists… through nine games heading into action Friday. Hughes was shut out Sunday for the first time this season, but bounced back with a pair of apples on Thursday. Unfortunately, he suffered an UBI early in Friday’s game, and it did not look good. As we published, there still was no definitive diagnosis, but this could very well be an extended absence.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Born Daniel Xavier-Marie Balavoine, the late French songwriter was more commonly known simply as Daniel Balavoine. In 1992, a posthumous compilation album was released entitled Master Series, Volume 2, which included “Petite Angele,” originally released on 1985’s Saving Love.