Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. We’re into December now, meaning we’re just about at the one-third mark. There’s still tons of time to make your move, so use that wire judiciously, my peeps!
This week, the Wild learned it will be without defenceman and leading shot blocker Jared Spurgeon for two weeks because of a groin strain; Rangers centre Mika Zibanejad is currently dealing with a concussion; and Edmonton’s problems got bigger as No. 1 goalie Cam Talbot has landed on the IR with an upper body injury.
And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy hockey waiver wire recommendations…
Tom Wilson, RW, Washington Capitals (ESPN: 7.3 per cent; CBS: 21 per cent): This big, bruising forward has suddenly found himself on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Niklas Backstrom, and you don’t need us to tell you what kind of offensive potential that plum assignment offers. Although the top line was shut down by the Kings on Thursday, Wilson is seeing more ice time in recent matches, and could start to produce a lot more offense while continuing to pile up his usual collection of penalty minutes and hits. He could become a top power forward playing with this kind of talent.
Malcolm Subban, G, Vegas Knights (ESPN: 35.9 per cent; CBS: 43 per cent): Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) still hasn’t resumed practicing, leaving the Vegas crease in the hands of Subban. Since taking over last week, Subban hasn’t been stellar, but if you need a goalie, he had been pretty great so far this season before landing on the IR in late-October and getting activated a couple of weeks ago. He’s also a goalie driven to improve (as you can tell from the interview below).
Marian Gaborik, RW, Los Angeles Kings (ESPN: 3.6 per cent; CBS: 10 per cent): The veteran returned to action last week and has wasted no time is reminding us that he’s a potent offensive player. After potting two goals on Thursday, Gaborik has four points through four games with a +4 rating. Currently slotted on the third line with impressive youngster Adrian Kempe and veteran Trevor Lewis, Gaborik is a highly skilled player that won’t remain on the wire for long, so you’d best move on this one pronto!
- So much for Chicago starting to turn things around. Now top goalie Corey Crawford has landed on the IR, leaving the underwhelming Anton Forsberg to take over for the foreseeable future (the extent of the injury is unknown). Considering Crawford has carried the Hawks so far, things could get ugly in Chitown.
- Veteran Finnish winger Jussi Jokinen has been in decline that last couple of years, but really seemed to hit rock bottom in Edmonton this season. However, since getting dealt to the Kings, he’s started to contribute — despite seeing less PT. Jokinen is only a Fantasy option in very deep leagues at the moment, but it was nice to see him pot his first goal of the season Thursday.
- Montreal seems to have turned things around with four straight wins, and a big part has been the play of winger Brendan Gallagher. With three goals and an assist over the last three games he capped a superb month of November in which he won the Molson Cup after scoring a team-best eight goals in 15 games. It’s the highest goal-scoring month of Gallagher’s career, so Fantasy owners would be wise to give him a look.
- Early on, Evgeny Kuznetsov was tied for the NHL scoring lead, and while his pace has unsurprisingly slowed, after a two-goal effort Thursday, he’s now tied for 10th in scoring. After his massive breakout in 2015-16, last season was a disappointment, but he’s now looking better than ever. Kuznetsov is on pace to top 60 assists this season, which would break his career high.
- After a surprising start, Detroit is in a tailspin now, having dropped six straight. But don’t blame winger Anthony Mantha, who continues to roll with two goals and an assist over the last three games. The -5 is an eyesore, but he’s headed for a major offensive breakthrough that could see him flirt with 40 goals and 70 points.
- Claude Julien has now won 100 games as the coach of the Montreal Canadiens. On most franchises, that would rank him pretty high on the all-time list. For the storied Habs, he’s the 12th coach to reach the century mark in wins. Just think about that for a moment.
- As if Tampa Bay doesn’t have enough injuries to deal with, now it’s lost centre Cedric Paquette to a one-game suspension for trying to put Torey Krug through the boards. It’s hardly a loss for Fantasy owners unless you owned Paquette for his penalty minutes in a massively deep league. His PT has dropped every season he’s been in the league. Next stop, AHL?
- Winger Daniel Sedin isn’t a huge Fantasy factor anymore, but he had a massive game Thursday with a goal and two helpers, topping 1,000 career points in the process. He and his brother Henrik have become the first set of brothers to each top 1,000 NHL points. Daniel, by the way, has five points in his last four games, so let’s not completely forget that he still has value. And the Sedin line, with fellow Swede Loui Eriksson, looked like a real offensive force on the just-completed six-game road trip. All these players are widely available, especially Henrik Sedin and Eriksson.
- Young Bruin blueliner Charlie McAvoy is picking up his offensive game lately, with a goal and two assists over the last three games. His Corsi SAT percentage of 54.24 leads all Boston defenseman. Not bad for a 19-year-old kid, huh?
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey waiver wire pick of the week is.