Lars Eller is a start-worthy at the moment. (Michael Miller)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. We’re now into the second month of the season, which means you likely are beginning to know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Now’s the time to use the wire to fix those weak areas.
This week, Dustin Bfyuglien‘s chances of returning to the Jets this season seem more remote in the wake of him having ankle surgery — without involving the team in his decision; the Hockey Hall of Fame lost another member when longtime executive Jim Gregory passed away; and the Pens are finally getting healthy with the return of Alex Galchenyuk and Brian Dumoulin.
And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy hockey waiver wire recommendations…
Tyler Toffoli, RW, Los Angeles Kings (ESPN: 2.3 per cent; CBS: 16 per cent): Already rumoured to be on the trade block, Toffoli was a healthy scratch on Wednesday (which ended his consecutive games played streak at 207), increasing speculation that he’s on the way out very soon. Some reports suggest he could be traded to Ottawa, where he should get a major boost. At this stage, Toffoli makes for a great stash as he’s bound to emerge with far more value wherever he lands. We last recommended him way back in the 2013-14 season, and he went on to pot five game-winning goals that season and started a run of excellence, topping 20 goals the next season (don’t forget that he has 31 and 24 goals in his last two healthy seasons). This dude is too skilled to held down too long. Be patient.
Lars Eller, C, Washington Capitals (ESPN: 18.1 per cent; CBS: 21 per cent): Eller has been hot lately, racking up five points over his last five games, while going +2 with 10 shots and one short-handed marker. He slipped a tad offensively last season, but with 10 points in his first 14 games, he could he headed for a career best. Eller was seeing time on the second line earlier this season, but he’s now spearheading the third line. Let’s just hope he can score in the real world as easily as he does in the virtual world (see video below).
- Sean Couturier came through with a goal and an assist (plus the shootout winner) on Friday, giving him three points in his last two games to snap a three-game mini skid. He’s not on the same pace as he was last season, and we’re wondering if he’s fully healthy. On Friday, the No. 1 faceoff man in the NHL barely took any draws. Suspicious.
- Carolina has been absolutely rolling despite a sluggish start by star Sebastian Aho. Well, on Friday, he went off for two goals and an assist, giving him six points in the last four games, so clearly he’s working his way out of it. Expect Aho to again reach, and this time probably top, 30 goals.
- Talking about shaking off slow starts, Wayne Simmonds finally got his first goal as a Devil on Friday, giving him four points in his last two games. If this keeps up, he’ll likely break a streak of three straight seasons of declining offense.
- After his red-hot start, Anthony Mantha had been slumping, with just one assist in four games. That changed Friday as he potted a pair of tallies, giving him nine through 14 games. He’s easily going to shatter the career high 25 he had last season as this kid just keeps getting better and better.
- The Isles have won eight straight (their longest streak since 1989-90), and Anders Lee has been leading the way recently with back-to-back multi-point games and six points over his last four games. After breaking through with 40 goals in 2017-18, last season was a bit of a disappointment as he failed to reach 30. Lee will likely split the difference this season.
- Lightning centre Tyler Johnson has picked up the pace, with five points over his last five games. He’ll be hard pressed to equal his career-high tying 29 goals from last season, but should get back over the 50-point mark.
- Still with Tampa Bay, Yanni Gourde snapped a four-game drought with a goal on Friday. However, since he broke out in 2017-18, it’s been all downhill and that’s continued into this season.
- Another Devil winger, Kyle Palmieri, shook off a two-game mini skid with five points over the last two games. He’s been a consistent 25-30 goal man since arriving in New Jersey, but with six goals through 11 games, he looks like he’s headed towards a new level this season.
- Not only did the Caps send a clear message on Friday that Buffalo is not yet ready to compete, but they also have another budding star on their hands in centre Jakub Vrana. With two goals on Friday, he now has six points over the last four games. This kid has gotten better every season, and could reach 60 points the way he’s going now.
- After taking the league by storm and leading the Blues to a Stanley Cup championship last season, sophomore Jordan Binnington is discovering that life as an NHL goalie is not that simple. He posted a 1.89 GAA in 30 starts last season, but is up to 2.56 this time around. Binnington’s inconsistency this season should come as no surprise, as it’s another reminder that goaltender development is not always linear.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Here’s another track from New Yorkers the Ramones‘ cover album, Acid Eaters, which was released near the end of their run. This is “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine,” originally released in 1965 by the Seeds.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey waiver wire pick of the week is.