Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. We’ve reached the All-Star break, the unofficial end of the first half, meaning it’s a perfect time to raid the wire while your league mates are distracted by the pond hockey that doubles as the midseason classic.
This week, the woeful Sabres suffered another hit as defenseman Zach Bogosian will undergo season-ending hip surgery; the Sharks were also bitten by the injury bug with Joe Thornton expected to miss several weeks after knee surgery; and the Golden Knights have instituted a new autograph policy prohibiting anyone over the age of 14 from getting a player to sign anything. Who says Las Vegas is just for adults?
And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy hockey waiver wire recommendations…
Anthony Beauvillier, LW, New York Islanders (ESPN: 26.9 per cent; CBS: 38 per cent): Beauvillier is really picking up the pace lately, scoring four goals (including two PPG and one GWG) with an assist over the last three games. The youngster is averaging a goal per game and has 10 points in eight contests in January as he’s already shot past his goal total from his rookie season. Beauvillier isn’t logging many assists, but we’ll take those goals any day. He’s also matched his penalty minute total from last season. The Isles have struggled for the past few weeks, but Beauvillier’s play is one of the main reasons they are still very much in striking position of a wild card spot. He suddenly has a dozen goals in 39 games, but we shouldn’t be shocked given that he did put up nine points over the final 16 games last season. As you can see from his skill level and ability to stay with the play in the video below, Beauvillier, taken 28th overall in 2015, looks like a future top six forward.
Ryan Miller, G, Anaheim Ducks (ESPN: 4.6 per cent; CBS: 20 per cent): With John Gibson (leg) getting hurt earlier this week, it’s Miller time in Anaheim (we’ll see if that translates into less filling… of the Duck net). Miller played the final 11:40 on Thursday, but was not tested as the Ducks prevailed in a shootout over the Jets (although he did stop all five Winnipeg chances in the shootout). He hadn’t exactly looked sharp in his previous two appearances, but overall this season has played extremely well in a backup role. Miller has only started 10 games this season, but is sure to get some work depending on the severity of Gibson’s injury. Signed by the Ducks last summer to a two-year, $4 million deal, the aging Miller was seen as a veteran that could step up when Gibson got hurt, as he tends to do a fair bit. Now we’ll get a chance to see how that plays out.
Aaron Dell, G, San Jose Sharks (ESPN: 31.2 per cent; CBS: 41 per cent): Last month we gave you a chance to grab Dell while his ownership was low, but now it’s spiked, so this could be your last opportunity. Okay, he’s looked awful in his last two games, but had been on a major roll before that, and even with those stinkers, he’s 5-1 in January. Dell, who has already topped his shutout total from his rookie effort last season, has been pressed into action with Martin Jones out. Even before Jones got hurt, however, he was in danger of losing his grip on the No. 1 job, so this is a situation worth tracking in the second half.
Travis Konecny, C, Philadelphia Flyers (ESPN: 15 per cent; CBS: 26 per cent): Since being slotted on the top line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, Konecny has shaken off his sophomore slump in a big way, and right now is playing with serious confidence. Konecny has scored in four straight games and has six points during a current five-game point streak. He’s also picking his spots well, scoring two straight overtime goals and setting up an overtime winner a week and change ago. With six goals and nine points in 11 games in January, it’s safe to say this kid is coming into his own. Konecny saw some press box time as a rookie and had a slow start this season, but right now is a big reason the Flyers have turned their season around and look like a playoff team.
Marco Scandella, D, Buffalo Sabres (ESPN: 1.9 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): Scandella hasn’t done much offensively lately (notwithstanding an assist on Thursday — the 75th of his eight-year career), but he plays a ton of minutes and given Bogosian’s season-ending injury, he’s guaranteed PT the rest of the way. Scandella has been disciplined lately, going without a penalty so far in January, but the veteran is still seeking his first power play goal of the season. He does the little things well, putting up a team-high three hits on Thursday, and has been seeing steady PP and PK time. Consider Scandella a nice deep league add.
Casey DeSmith, G, Pittsburgh Penguins (ESPN: 9.1 per cent; CBS: 6 per cent): Yes, another backup goalie! DeSmith wasn’t super sharp Thursday, but still earned another win and he has generally played extremely well recently, giving up five total goals over his previous four games. The rookie has faced plenty of rubber since his recall, but has been equal to the task. And even as he gave up three goals Thursday, he stopped 23 shots and helped backstop Pittsburgh to a 6-0 lead before Minny tried in vain to make a game of it.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey waiver wire pick of the week is.
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