The Wire Troll: Cole Perfetti Breaking Out in the Peg
Cole Perfetti is taking his game to a new level. (Jason Franson/CP)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. We’re about one-fifth of the way through the season, so there’s still a ton of time to work some waiver wire magic.
This week, Buffalo lost star Tage Thompson (wrist) for a few weeks; Carson Soucy (LBI) will miss 6-to-8 weeks; and Patrick Kane is starting to explore where he’ll play next.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Picks
Cole Perfetti, C, Winnipeg Jets (ESPN: 12.5 per cent; CBS: 48 per cent): The 10th overall pick in 2020 took a nice step forward last season, but is experiencing a major breakout in 2023-24. Perfetti has scored in five straight games with points in eight in a row to nearly match his goal total from all of last season. Best of all, the lefty with the great shot is getting a chance to contribute more on the power play, so grab him while you can. Just don’t expect to hear much from Perfetti on the ice anymore (see video below)
Casey DeSmith, G, Vancouver Canucks (ESPN: 8.4 per cent; CBS: 16 per cent): Earlier in his career, we were bullish on DeSmith, but he was never able to break through into a starter role, and when he finally saw more action last season, he never looked worse, earning himself a trade out of Pittsburgh last summer. Landing in Vancouver as the backup didn’t exactly put him in the best position to rebound yet, along with everything Canucks-related, he’s bounced back in a big way so far (despite a rough outing on Thursday). DeSmith is facing less rubber this season, and it’s helping.
Tyson Jost, C, Buffalo Sabres (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: unowned): Jost hasn’t recorded a point this month, and seems to keep getting worse and worse in faceoffs. So why are we pimping him? Opportunity. He’ll likely move up to the top nine with Thompson out, so at the very least is worth watching in very deep formats (as is Peyton Krebs, who saw more action on Friday, but didn’t make an impact at all whereas Jost had four shots on goal).
Noah Gregor, C, Toronto Maple Leafs (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: unowned): Yup. Clearly, we’re going heavy with the very deep recommendations in this installment of the Wire Troll, but with Ryan Reaves playing his way out of the lineup, Gregor should have more job security now. After scoring 10 goals in 57 games last season, Gregor has only managed a pair through 15 games this season, but on Thursday he had a goal and an assist while seeing an uptick in PT (which continued Friday). He showed potential as a secondary source of scoring with the Sharks, so if he keeps getting more minutes, he’ll be worth adding in deep formats.
Nick Bjugstad, C, Arizona Coyotes (ESPN: 3.8 per cent; CBS: 7 per cent): Almost four years ago to the day, we suggested that Bjugstad, coming back from injury, was ready to start rolling as the Pens’ 2C, but more health woes derailed his season. He’s been up and down since, but seems to be returning to form now with 10 points through 16 games and perhaps a golden opportunity to play on the top line if Barrett Hayton is sidelined long.
Klim Kostin, C, Detroit Red Wings (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): After enjoying his first double-digit goal effort last season, Kostin was frosty to begin 2023-24, but has shown signs of life with points in two of the last four games before taking a goose egg on Friday (although he did manage two shots and a hit). And for what it’s worth (if your league tracks this sort of thing), he’s been on the positive side of the plus-minus ledger over the last two seasons.
Sam Carrick, C, Anaheim Ducks (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): For a fourth-liner, penalty killing type, Carrick has been putting up some impressive numbers (four goals and six points in 17 games). He’s been rewarded with a bit more ice time over the last couple of weeks, so this situation bears watching.
Akito Hirose, D, Vancouver Canucks (ESPN: unowned: CBS: unowned): Hirose was recalled from the AHL on Friday and is expected to get a shot with Soucy out. Hirose managed three apples in seven games last season, but was held pointless in two NHL games and in 11 at the AHL level this season. We’re curious what he’s capable of doing in an extended look given the solid offensive numbers he posted in college.
Blake Lizotte, C, Los Angeles Kings (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): We recommended Lizotte just under a year ago thanks to his modest improvements and durability, and it was a solid pick as he enjoyed his best month in December and continued to be productive down the stretch (other than a poor showing in March) en route to a career season. He’s on pace for another career best in goals and is a wait-to-see speculative pickup should Pierre-Luc Dubois (LBI) miss some time, especially since most considered PLD’s addition would hurt Lizotte more than anyone on the Kings.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Chicago rockers Styx are famous for combining hard rock and acoustic guitars. Here’s “Great White Hope,” the lead track from their eighth album, Pieces of Eight.