Richard Panik (14) has done a great job carving out space for himself. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey analysis. It’s the trade deadline tomorrow, so pay close attention to the news wire over the next few hours as some moves could have major ramifications on your Fantasy leagues.
This week, Jonathan Quick paid instant dividends in his return for the Kings; Antoine Vermette’s 10-game suspension for hacking a linesman has been upheld by the little dictator; and Bryan Bickell picked up an assist in his first pro game since being diagnosed with MS.
Without further ado, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy hockey waiver wire recommendations…
Richard Panik, LW, Chicago Blackhawks (ESPN: 44.9 per cent; CBS: 48 per cent): Panik has been on a absolute tear for Chicago, getting points in five consecutive games and six of the past seven. This stretch has included three goals in a two-game back-to-back set against the Edmonton Oilers, and a big goal and an assist (while going +5) in a win in Minnesota. So far this month, Panik has scored 10 points (five goals, five assists) and has put up a +10 mark. The scoring streak can also be contributed to picking up more ice time, as he has gone from 14 to nearly 18 minutes a game (he’s already nearly matched his career high in total ice time for a season). It also doesn’t hurt that he has Jonathan Toews feeding him the puck (see video below).
Josh Leivo, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs (ESPN: 6 per cent; CBS: 10 per cent): Despite only playing 10 games this season for Toronto, Leivo is already helping to produce for the Leafs. He started his scoring against the New York Islanders, enjoying a three-point night (one goal, two assists) with a +2 mark in the victory. Then, over the next four games Leivo picked up five assists. After starting with only around 10 minutes of ice time, he is now up to 15 minutes a game and is averaging about three shots. Leivo has earned himself a nice role for the Leafs for the time being, so give him a look in deep leagues.
Nick Schmaltz, C, Chicago Blackhawks (ESPN: 8.2 per cent; CBS: 25 per cent): Former first round draft pick Schmaltz is on the same line as Panik and he has put up similar results. Schmaltz has also registered a point in six of the last seven games, including a three-point game (one goal, two assists) with a +5 against the Wild, followed up by a one-goal, one-assist performance against Arizona. Over the last seven games, he has nine points (three goals, six assists) and is a +12. Schmaltz has been up and down to the AHL this season, but the way he’s rolling now, it looks like he’ll stick in the NHL for the time being.
Mathieu Perreault, C, Winnipeg Jets (ESPN: 3.6 per cent; CBS: 11 per cent): Part of the reason why the Jets have made a push for the playoffs is the recent play of Perreault. In the past four games, he picked up an assist against Pittsburgh, scored the game-winning goal with a helper in Montreal, scored another goal on the road in Ottawa, and picked up two more assists in Toronto, going +5 on the four-game road trip. Last season, Perreault had the highest relative Corsi quality of competition of his career, which speaks to the fact he was matching up against tougher players and how important a role he plays in Winnipeg.
Tanner Pearson, LW, Los Angeles Kings (ESPN: 27.4 per cent; CBS: 47 per cent): One third of “That ’70s Line,” 24-year-old Pearson continues to play a steady stretch of hockey. He had back-to-back three-point games against Florida (scoring the game winner) and Arizona Coyotes, then scored a goal at home against Florida, picked up another helper against Colorado and then concluded his week with a three-assist performance in a win over Anaheim. Pearson averages about 17 minutes of ice time and is starting to get more PT alongside his usual linemates of Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter. Remember when Pearson first broke out in the 2014 playoffs? Well, the 2012 first rounder has gotten better every season since, and is enjoying by far his finest campaign yet thanks to a shooting percentage that has bounced back nicely after sliding last season.
Alex Goligoski, D, Arizona Coyotes (ESPN: 39.4 per cent; CBS: 39 per cent): The veteran continues to pile up the points, leading to the possibility he could be moved at the deadline. In the last five games, Goligoski has picked up five assists, including two in a victory in Los Angeles. He averages about 20 minutes and has gone +4 this month. Goligoski could help a team in the playoffs, especially on the power play, which has accounted for one-third of his points this season. Sunday’s game at home against Buffalo could mark his final outing as a ‘Yote.
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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