Andrew Copp has a chance to take advantage of injuries. (Bildbyrån)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. Hopefully, your season has gotten off on the right foot, but either way, the wire is your best friend right now, so use it wisely.
This week, the Rangers continued to load up on draft picks, acquiring a 2021 fourth rounder (and AHL defenseman Nick Ebert) from Ottawa in exchange for forward Vladislav Namestnikov; the Penguins will be without star Evgeni Malkin for quite a while after he suffered a lower body injury last Saturday; and the Devils signed blueliner Joe Morrow to a two-way deal and then immediately waived him in the hopes he’ll clear and they can add depth to their AHL team.
And now, let’s get to our Fantasy hockey waiver wire recommendations, this week with a decidedly Penguin flavour…
Andrew Copp, C, Winnipeg Jets (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): With Bryan Little (concussion) currently out, Copp finds himself at centre on the Jets’ second line, flanked by Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers. Winnipeg has a heavy schedule to begin the season, making Copp an interesting early-season pickup in deeper leagues. He’s never really been on our Fantasy radar, and while he slipped a bit last season because of his own concussion and isn’t off to a blazing start so far, at nearly 16 MPG, he’s seeing way more ice time than ever before. Copp is a solid two-way player with a wicked wrist shot (see video below), so it’s worth exploring to see if he can stick in the top six.
Jared McCann, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins (ESPN: 6.2 per cent; CBS: 26 per cent): McCann caught our attention in mid-March shortly after getting traded to Pittsburgh. It was a great call as he went 6-5-11, +5 in 16 games that month. He’s one Penguin that should get a boost from Malkin’s injury, especially in terms of power play time. Last Saturday, McCann fired home a pair of goals (including the game winner) and added a helper, his only points so far this season. Last season, he enjoyed a career-high 35-point campaign, and is likely headed for a better total this time around. McCann doesn’t get many penalty minutes, but as long as he’s playing on the Pens’ second line, he’s worth grabbing.
Zach Aston-Reese, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins (ESPN: 0.3 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): Aston-Reese isn’t off to a great start, but he’s been getting a decent amount of shots and the points will come. Better yet, he’s likely due for a boost in PT now that Alex Galchenyuk is hurt. With tutelage from Sidney Crosby, Aston-Reese has a chance to take the next step this season, but for now, he’s likely just deep league fodder.
- Anthony Mantha‘s breakout campaign last season was cut short by injury, but he still reached 25 goals for the first time. With another goal Thursday (the game-winner, to boot) — coming on the heels of a four-goal explosion Sunday — he has already potted six in four games, and looks like he’s reaching a whole new level.
- Penguin centre Jake Guentzel is off to a slow start, but is coming around now with points in three straight games. He’ll be hard pressed to equal the 40 goals he potted last season, especially if he doesn’t start shooting more (just 10 shots through four games).
- Montreal right winger Joel Armia is off to a fantastic start, one of the few bright spots for the Habs in the early going. With a goal Thursday, he now has three goals and an assist over the last two games, going +2. Injuries were a factor for Armia last season, so he managed just 10 helpers; this season, he’s seeing more ice than ever, and is rewarding the faith the Canadiens are showing in him.
- Injuries prohibited Ondrej Kase from having his breakout last season, but he hinted at it with 20 points in 30 games. This season, despite less ice time so far, he’s off to a nice start and has three points in the last three games. Could Kase threaten 60 points?
- Last season, Steven Stamkos stayed healthy and reached 45 goals for the fourth time while setting a new career high in points. With a goal and three helpers Thursday, he now has six points over the last three and looks like he’s gunning for his first 100-point season. Just wait until he starts racking up more points on the Lightning’s lethal power play.
- The Stars are off to their worst start since moving to Dallas, and a big part of that is the lack of production from Tyler Seguin. He’s coming out of it a bit now with three points in the last three games, but after reaching 80 points for the second time in his career last season, he’s got a lot of work to do to match that given his lack of production so far.
- After getting shut out Monday for the first time this season, Auston Matthews bounced back Thursday with another goal and an assist. He’s already got a game-winner this season after managing just five in each of the two previous campaigns. The key for Matthews taking the next step will be staying healthy, and so far, so good on that front, but after missing 34 games over the last two seasons, it’s a concern.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
One of the original punk bands, the Ramones had a legendary career spanning 1974 to 1996. In 1993, they released their 13th album, Acid Eaters, a tribute disc to their favourite artists. The album kicks off with a cover of the Amboy Dukes classic “Journey to the Center of the Mind.”
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey waiver wire pick of the week is.