Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. We’re into November now, so you’re beginning to better understand your teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Use the wire to fix those holes, peeps!
This week, Tuukka Rask has left the team to deal with a personal issue, giving Jaroslav Halak even more rope in the Boston net; the Caps and Pens put aside their animosities to honour the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting; and Montreal, which has been spinning its wheels after a hot start, will now be without forward Joel Armia for the next 6-to-8 weeks because of a knee injury.
And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy hockey waiver wire recommendations…
Robert Hagg, D, Philadelphia Flyers (ESPN: 1.5 per cent; CBS: 39 per cent): While he’s been quiet on the scoresheet over the last week, Hagg is off to a fine start and continues to provide nice value, especially since being moved to Philly’s top pairing. Over the last five games, he’s gone +8 and is someone the Flyers may consider flipping if they decide to go after Toronto holdout William Nylander. Hagg’s ice time is on the rise this month, and while he won’t continue to score on 11.5 per cent of his shots (although empty netters sure help, but wow — what accuracy — see video below), he’s already matched his career high in goals. The kid has some puck-moving skill that is just starting to manifest itself at the NHL level, but beyond points, he’s a huge help in hits (46, tied for third in the NHL) and blocks (20).
David Backes, C/RW, Boston Bruins (ESPN: 3.9 per cent; CBS: 20 per cent): Backes is off to a simply horrific start, having gone scoreless in 10 games with a -1 rating. But he’s way too good a player to be held down for long, right? We’re talking about a dude that’s topped 30 assists five times in his career, and with Boston in need of secondary scoring, he’ll get his chances. Backes is headed back to the wing on the fourth line, and taking away those defensive responsibilities may be just what the doctor ordered to get him going. It’s worth a shot to see if he can get going, as we find it hard to believe that he’s done like dinner.
- John Tavares is really starting to roll with his new team. He potted his ninth goal of the season on Friday, giving him two goals and three assists during a four-game point streak. Tavares is on pace for a career-best 46 goals.
- With Jake Allen struggling, Chad Johnson is likely to see more action in the St. Louis net going forward, especially considering how well he’s been playing. Making his second straight start, Johnson turned in a 33-save shutout performance on Friday against the Sharks, giving him 76 saves on 77 shots over his last three appearances.
- The Devils have really cooled off recently, but don’t blame centre Travis Zajac. He’s scored in three straight games and is averaging a point per game this month. Zajac is now on pace for a career-best 69 points.
- San Jose backup goalie Aaron Dell is struggling lately, giving up at least three goals in each of his last four outings. After getting burned for four goals on 31 shots on Friday, he’s now given up seven goals on just 57 shots over his last two. Dell had an impressive rookie campaign, but seems to have gone downhill in the two seasons since.
- Dell could earn more action if he was playing better considering No. 1 goalie Martin Jones is also scuffling. Jones has surrendered at least three goals is six straight games, and has a 3.36 GAA with a poor .863 save percentage early on this month. He’s up to 2.84 for the season after recording a 2.55 last season and 2.40 in 2016-17. In fact, Jones’ GAA has risen every season he’s been in the league. Not good.
- Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky got off to a crappy start this season, but is rolling now, giving up one goal in four of his last five starts, including Friday, when he turned aside all but one of Washington’s 34 shots. He now has a 1.76 GAA and .949 save percentage in November after stumbling through the opening month.
- Breakout alert: Dallas centre Devin Shore fired two goals on Thursday, giving him three tallies over the last five games. He’s seeing a bit more ice time in November, and is currently on pace to shatter career bests with 26 goals and 31 assists.
- Washington blueliner Matt Niskanen played 28:29 on Friday, scoring a power play goal and ripping four shots on net. He’s got a goal and two assists with a +1 rating over the last five games, and is seeing a bit more ice time this month. Niskanen is on pace for a career-best 16 goals.
- Detroit centre Andreas Athanasiou is really coming into his own. In his first game back since missing four with an LBI, he ripped a goal and an assist with a +2 rating Friday, giving him three goals and two helpers over the last five. Despite missing over a week, he’s on pace for a career-best 33 goals now.
RotoRob Tune of the Week
Here’s “Mother,” another classic taken from the movie, The Wall, featuring a soundtrack by Pink Floyd.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey pickup of the week is.