The Wire Troll: Golden Acquisitions
Eeli Tolvanen has had plenty to celebrate since coming to Seattle. (Paul Rutherford-USA Today Sports)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. The season is nearing completion, so this could be your last chance to use the wire for a final push. We’ve got a couple of players whose fortunes have improved since they’ve changed teams; maybe they can change the fortunes of your Fantasy teams as well.
This week, Sidney Crosby tied Mario Lemieux‘s Penguin record for 30-goal seasons with 11; Connor McDavid reached 60 goals in a season quicker than anyone since 1995-96 (when, you guessed it… Super Mario did it); and John Tortorella became the 12th coach to reach 700 career wins.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Picks
Eeli Tolvanen, RW, Seattle Kraken (ESPN: 5.8 per cent; CBS: 23 per cent): Almost exactly two years ago, we were very excited about Tolvanen’s prospects, unfortunately, he cooled off after that huge showing in March. Last season, he was unable to build on his progress, and this season, the Preds waived him after just 13 games. The ever-opportunistic Kraken pounced, and all Tolvanen has done since is score 13 goals (see video below for an example of his scoring prowess) — which is actually more than anyone on Nashville over this timeline. Oops. The Preds made up for it (sort of) by giving him a video tribute in his return to Nashville on Thursday. Tolvanen has actually slowed down since his amazing start in Seattle in January, but his overall numbers are still pretty damned good since moving west with 145 individual chances for. When selected in the first round in 2017, his skill, hockey smarts and shot were all lauded attributes, so his breakout really shouldn’t be a massive shock, but it’s clear the change of scenery did the trick here.
Ivan Barbashev, C, Vegas Golden Knights (ESPN: 17.8 per cent; CBS: 25 per cent): We last pimped Barbashev about a year and a half ago, and it was a solid pick — especially down the stretch as he really turned it on in April. After that breakout, things fell apart this season… until he was traded to Vegas, that is. Barbashev’s Fantasy value has soared with the Golden Knights thanks to being slotted on the top line with Jack Eichel and seeing PP time. As long as Mark Stone remains out, Barbashev is a great pickup.
Barrett Hayton, C, Arizona Coyotes (ESPN: 22.3 per cent; CBS: 38 per cent): Despite a ton of ice time, Hayton was shut out on Friday, snapping a nine-game point streak during which he’d racked up 14 points. Yes, the fifth overall pick in 2018 is starting to come into his own. After scoring 24 points in 60 games last season, Hayton already has 39 this season, thanks in large part to his recent streak. He’s been a red hot pickup of late thanks to averaging better than a point per game for nearly two months. Add him now for your playoff run.
Ethan Bear, D, Vancouver Canucks (ESPN: 0.4 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): Bear won’t provide much offense, but since being activated from the IR last week he’s been playing big minutes. The Canucks have been playing better of late, and his performance has helped as he’s racking up the blocks and takeaways while matching last season’s point total in eight fewer games. In fact, it’ll be interesting to find out if Vancouver re-signs him this summer. Bear is a potential deep league option, so let’s see if he can finally stay healthy for a stretch.
Jacob Middleton, D, Minnesota Wild (ESPN: 2.4 per cent; CBS: 11 per cent): Originally a late-round pick by the Kings in 2014, Middleton was never signed by L.A., instead spending four seasons trying to establish himself as a full-timer with the Sharks. However, after being traded to the Wild last year, he’s been a pleasant surprise, not just in finding a home and enjoying a career-best campaign, but also playing on the team’s top pair. Middleton has never been known for his scoring, but already has career bests in games, assists and points. His ice time is up a bit recently and could rise more should John Klingberg remain out.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C, New York Islanders (ESPN: 33.7 per cent; CBS: 13 per cent): A Wire Troll All-Star in 2019-20, Pageau wasn’t as effective in the following two seasons, but he’s bounced back this season — especially lately, with six points in five games this month. The veteran dealt with an UBI last month, but is absolutely rolling now, so give him a look for the home stretch.
J.T. Compher, LW, Colorado Avalanche (ESPN: 36.4 per cent; CBS: 30 per cent): Compher stayed hot with a goal on Friday, giving him a four-game point streak (2-3-5) with power play points in three straight and extra PT in the last two. He slumped to begin this month, but had been rolling in February, so this run is not out of the blue in the least. Oh, and it runs in the family; Compher’s younger sister is a hell of a player, with an NCAA title and Olympic Silver medal to her credit. Just sayin’… for the benefit of those playing women’s Fantasy hockey.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
American rock band Santana formed in 1966 and is still active today, having never taken an extended break. One of the band’s many classics, “Persuasion,” was included on a great 1970 double-album compilation, Somethin’ Else Again, released by Columbia Records Canada. The track originally appeared on the band’s 1969 eponymous debut album.