Every week, we’ll mine the waiver wire for lesser-owned assets to help your squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft format, and we’ll also toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who might be overvalued — in the short or long term — for one reason or another.
Last season, San Jose’s 2014 sixth-round pick was merely a role player, picking up eight goals and 12 assists in 55 games. His sophomore season has potential to be big, as head coach Pete DeBoer has deployed him with future Hall of Famers Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski for 93 of his 118 even-strength minutes. Labanc has six points in 10 games so far, and he could be in for more if the Sharks continue to use him as a top-six forward.
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An injury to Ryan Kesler has pushed the Ducks’ reliable veteran into more work. His 17:21 per game over the first 11 contests is the highest average ice time of his career. Playing alongside talented wingers like Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg, Cogliano will have an opportunity to put up big point totals, at least until Kesler returns.
The Florida Panthers found a diamond in the rough with the 5-foot-9 forward, then let him get away. Marchessault scored 30 goals in his first full NHL season, but the Panthers left him unprotected in the expansion draft. The start to his season in Vegas was slowed a bit by injury, but Marchessault has come back strong with three goals in his last four games.
As a rule, fantasy players should pick up any winger assigned to John Tavares‘ line. Bailey has recently drawn that assignment, which sets him up with a good chance for a hot streak. Coming off a 56-point season and having already produced 11 points in 11 games, it appears Bailey’s uptick in production is no fluke.
The Kings appear to be bringing offense back, as they have scored 38 goals in their first 11 games. Kempe has produced six of those, despite playing fewer than 12 minutes per game. However, he’s topped 15 minutes twice in his last three games, which might indicate that he’s earning more chances, especially with scorer Jeff Carter injured.
Tomas Hertl, LW, San Jose Sharks (32.4 percent)
It seems like we’ve been waiting for Hertl to break out since a hot start during his rookie year, but this season could be the one where he finally gets rolling. Hertl is averaging 2.5 shots per game, which is back at the level of his 21-goal season in 2014-15 and up from 2.0 last season. Hertl is also fourth on the Sharks in power-play ice time.
After failing to get a shot with the Calgary Flames, Baertschi has found a home in Vancouver. He has made progress over the past two seasons, increasing his goal totals from 15 in 2015-16 to 18 last year. Now he’s playing a career-high 16:38 per game and playing alongside budding young center Bo Horvat.
Johnny Boychuk, D, New York Islanders (38.7 percent)
If you are light on blueliners and looking for a buy-low option, Boychuk may be a good choice. He has only two points in 11 games thus far, but the Islanders have an offensively gifted team, which should provide the former Boston Bruins defenseman with opportunities to pick up assists. Boychuk has been reliable over his time with the Islanders, scoring between 23 and 35 points each year since being traded to New York.
Toronto’s skilled D-man hasn’t gotten many opportunities on the power play this season, but it’s likely that he will see man-advantage time at some point. Zaitsev played 164 power-play minutes last year. Even if he isn’t used at 5-on-4, the 26-year-old defender is deployed often by head coach Mike Babcock. He averages 22:42 per game and has played 46 percent of his minutes with young star Auston Matthews. Zaitsev is bound to produce.
Nate Schmidt, D, Vegas Golden Knights (11.3 percent)
The former Washington Capitals blueliner has all the signs of a defenseman who is going to put up big numbers. He’s played the second-most power-play minutes of any Vegas defenseman, totaling over 20 minutes per game and playing a high percentage of minutes with the Golden Knights’ top scorers, James Neal and David Perron. Schmidt hasn’t produced big numbers in the past (his career high is 17 points), but he’s never gotten this type of opportunity before.
Anders Nilsson, G, Vancouver Canucks (18.1 percent)
The Canucks signed Nilsson to play backup to Jacob Markstrom, but the well-traveled veteran has gotten off to a hot start with a .943 save percentage in four games. If he continues to play well in spot starts and Markstrom doesn’t halt his struggles (.908 save percentage), Nilsson could win the top job and become a fantasy steal.
Jaromir Jagr, RW, Calgary Flames (21.8 percent)
There are few players in history with a better résumé than Jaromir Jagr, but he may have come back for one year too many. In five games, Jagr registered just two assists, then suffered a lower-body injury. He won’t be out long, but when the future Hall of Famer does return, expectations for his production should not be high.
The former No. 1 overall pick showed a flicker of life to start the season, producing five points in Colorado’s first four games, but he’s gone silent since then. Yakupov’s last point came Oct. 11. Since then he’s had two games in which the Avs limited him to less than 10 minutes.