Welcome to this week’s edition of The Wire Troll here on RotoRob.com! This week, our NHL Editor’s Minnesota Wild bias is quite evident, but we promise you he won’t steer you wrong on these two. That said, before we begin, we suggest you read this to the tune of the Minnesota Wild anthem, which can be found below.
There! That’s more like it, let’s begin.
Jared Spurgeon, D, Minnesota Wild (ESPN: 47.7 per cent; CBS: 42 per cent): There may be no better defenseman on your league’s waiver wire than the diminutive New York Islanders castoff. A sixth round pick of the Isles in 2008, Spurgeon played five seasons for the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs, went unsigned by New York because he’s just 5’9″, was then invited to prospect camp by Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and impressed the brass so much he was signed right out of camp.
He spent very little time in the minors, and bounced around Minnesota’s top two defensive pairings, spending the majority of his time alongside fellow 2008 draft pick Marco Scandella on the club’s second pairing. This season, head coach Mike Yeo has Spurgeon skating to the right of franchise rear guard Ryan Suter, which should have automatically raised his Fantasy stock going into the season (it didn’t). Spurgeon has played well on the top pairing, scoring two goals, 11 points, a minus-1 rating, two penalty minutes, a power play goal, 20 shots on goal, six hits and 37 blocked shots through 16 games played. If he’s available, snatch him up now, because the Wild’s newest top pairing blueliner could be in for a 40 or even 50-point season.
As for the Islanders, they’re not sure what is worse: not signing Spurgeon or trading away young sniper Nino Niederreiter for bowling ball Cal Clutterbuck and a third round pick. Woof. You can read our earlier coverage of Spurgeon here.
Mika Zibanejad, C/RW, Ottawa Senators (ESPN: 48.8 per cent; CBS: 50 per cent): The overtime gold medal clinching hero for the Swedes in the 2012 U-20 World Junior Championships, Zibanejad’s ownership is trending down in Fantasy leagues. However, you might want to jump on that fast as he still has two goals, 13 points, a minus-3 rating, four penalty minutes, 39 shots on goal, 25 hits and 10 blocked shots in 17 games played. Buy low.
Nino Niederreiter, RW, Minnesota Wild (ESPN: 16.5 per cent; CBS: 31 per cent): Speaking of the previously mentioned Niederreiter, the sharp shooter has settled into a relatively “meat and potatoes” role while skating alongside speedster Jason Zucker and Wild captain Mikko Koivu on Minnesota’s most consistently productive scoring line. He only has eight points, but six of them are goals, and the Swiss forward has also added a plus-2 rating, two penalty minutes, 29 shots on goal, 27 hits and four blocked shots through 16 games played. Niederreiter will supply your team with a good source of secondary scoring, but his upside could give you a valuable 30-goal scorer.
Jannik Hansen, RW, Vancouver Canucks (ESPN: 8.4 per cent; CBS: 15 per cent): A 16-goal, 33-point scorer last season, Hansen is off to a considerably good start this season with five goals, 11 points, a plus-10 rating, four penalty minutes, 33 shots on goal, eight hits and seven blocked shots in 18 games this season. Don’t expect him to consistently produce, but he could be a savvy pick in leagues with many teams and a very shallow free agent pool.
James Reimer, G, Toronoto Maple Leafs (ESPN: 18.6 per cent; CBS: 25 per cent): The likable “Optimus Reim” appears to have stolen away the starting role in Toronto with three straight victories in net. He has five wins, a 2.30 goals against average and a .925 save percentage in 10 appearances so far. Jump on Reimer while you can, but it would be prudent to have a more reliable netkeeper on your roster, as well.
Fantasy Tip of the Week: Looking for a third goaltender as a spotter for your top two masked men? We recommend the New York Rangers’ Antti Raanta. Seldom owned (and you’ll see why), he has started just three games. However, Raanta has allowed just two goals in that span, winning all three games, and collecting a 0.67 goals against average and a league second-best .976 save percentage. If you’re wondering who has him beat, it’s Los Angeles’ Jhonas Enroth (three games started, three wins, a 0.67 goals against average and a .979 save percentage). Consider stowing away one of these two on your roster.
Update on last week’s FTOTW: We told you so! Leon Draisaitl is now 100 per cent owned in most Fantasy formats. It’s easy to see why when you consider he has five goals, 13 points, a plus-6 rating, four penalty minutes, two power play goals, 15 shots on goal (33.33 per cent shooting percentage!), nine hits and two blocks in eight games since being recalled by the Oilers. We’re sorry… Connor who??
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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