The Wire Troll: Ryan Strome Getting More PT
Ryan Strome should get top six minutes for the foreseeable future. (The Canadian Press)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. We’re nearly halfway through January and about halfway through the season, so make sure to check your waiver wire daily, peeps.
This week, Elias Petterson tied a record with four straight GWGs; Trevor Zegras is out 6-8 weeks with a broken ankle (see below for the Fantasy opportunity this creates); and Gabriel Landeskog who has been MIA for years because of his knee, actually practiced this week.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Picks
Ryan Strome, C, Anaheim Ducks (ESPN: 3 per cent; CBS: 18 per cent): Just under three years ago, Strome was heating up, and our faith in him was justified as he enjoyed the finest season of his career. It’s been downhill since, but he’s turned that around this season and it’s likely that his top six role is solidified while Zegras is out. Strome has scored in back-to-back games (flashing some serious hand-eye coordination in the process — see video below) while seeing an uptick in minutes over last month when he slumped. While he’s been racking up the apples, it’s great to see him actually pot a couple of goals as that’s been an issue for him so far this season (note that his shooting percentage is uncharacteristically low). Strome took forever to come into his own, but has become a very effective player — and underrated Fantasy asset — in recent seasons, so give him a look.
Cutter Gauthier, C, Anaheim Ducks (ESPN: 0.3 per cent; CBS: NA): Your opinion of Gauthier — if you had one — has probably degraded greatly based on this week’s revelations about him, and the subsequent trade to Anaheim that he more or less forced through his actions (or inactions in this instance). Still, the move to the Ducks enhances his value, as once he turns pro — probably at the end of his current college season — he has a clearer path to a top six role. The black cloud of this situation may follow new Dick, er… Duck Gauthier throughout his career (Philly fans don’t forget, and have a propensity to take things too far sometimes), but there’s no denying his talent. Even though his playmaking ability was front and centre as he led USA to a gold medal at the WJC, don’t think he can’t put the puck in the net (as evidenced by seven goals in 10 games at last year’s World Championship and 13 in 17 games at Boston College this season). Ironically, the acquisition of Gauthier by the Ducks may open the door to Zegras ultimately being moved.
Vladislav Namestnikov, C, Winnipeg Jets (ESPN: 2.5 per cent; CBS: 10 per cent): Namestnikov has sure bounced around a lot in his career, but had been playing nearly as well as ever this season and gaining traction on the wire already. However, he could really soar if Mark Scheifele (LBI) is out for a while. Namestnikov has been shut out the last two games, but before that he was on fire with eight points in six contests as he’s been getting better and better as the season has progressed. He’s never been much of a goal scorer (career best 22), but with five already he should blow past last season’s output at the very least. Namestnikov had his best seasons with the Lightning, but what he’s doing in the ‘Peg is worthy of your attention.
Sonny Milano, LW, Washington Capitals (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): Just over two years ago we pimped Milano because he was on the top line in Anaheim. Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out as his production regressed for the rest of the season. Last season was more of the same, and Milano’s play had slipped this season before he suffered an upper body injury over a month ago. Unfortunately, the injury caused the poofy-haired player to miss his own Chia giveaway night. Still, Milano returned to practice this week, and while he’s yet to be cleared for contact, he’s getting closer, and we still believe he could be an asset in deeper formats. And while his high shooting percentage seems unsustainable, he’s still been a bit unlucky with a GAR of 2.9 compared to 3.4 xGAR. There’s some upside in Milano’s game.
- Leafs rookie Matthew Knies is picking it up with helpers in back-to-back games after a five-game scoring drought. He had that strong November, but has managed just two goals since, with none so far in January. And yes, Knies’ shooting percentage is on the high side so further regression may be coming, but we sure like this kid’s future.
- So Tage Thompson takes some time off for personal reasons, comes back and lights it up (12 points, including seven goals over the last nine games), and is now headed for an MRI. Yes, he could play on Saturday, but man, are the Sabres ever cursed.
- Didn’t we recommend Darren Raddysh less than a month ago? He scored the overtime winner on Thursday, giving him three goals over the last four games. Just sayin’…
- Things continue to go sideways for Ottawa goalie Joonas Korpisalo. He had to replace injured starter Anton Forsberg (groin) on Thursday and saved just 21 of 24 shots (20 at even strength). The last time Korpisalo had a game in which he saved even 89 per cent of the shots he faced? December 27. After such a good campaign in 2022-23 (especially after getting traded to the Kings), he’s been rancid this season.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Nirvana was founded in 1987 by Kurt Cobain (lead singer/guitar) and Krist Novoselic (bass). In 1989, they released their debut studio album, Bleach, which includes “School,” a track with minimal lyric lines, but a ton of energy.