Each week of the National Hockey League regular season, we will take a look at some of the most interesting names that may appear on the waiver wire in various fantasy leagues. It may be NHL players whose situation has improved because of injury, minor-league players recently recalled (or on the verge of a recall) or off to fast starts in the AHL. Here is this week's batch:
1. Artem Anisimov, C, Blackhawks
The big Russian began the 2017-18 campaign on the Blackhawks' third line, which offers far less fantasy value. However, Anisimov was recently reunited with superstar Patrick Kane and has lit the lamp regularly as a result. The 29-year-old pivot now boasts nine goals in 19 games and is on pace to shatter his previous career high in goals: 22 (set twice, with Chicago last season and with Columbus in 2013-14). Pick him up, if available.
2. Alexander Kerfoot, C/LW, Avalanche
The Matt Duchene trade should now provide greater opportunities for several young Avalanche forwards, including Tyson Jost, J.T. Compher, Vladislav Kamenev and Kerfoot. The latter has begun his professional hockey career with style, producing 13 points in his first 16 games. Kerfoot is currently tied for fifth among rookies in NHL scoring, and has a shot to be in the Calder trophy conversation when the season ends.
3. Andreas Athanasiou, W/C, Red Wings
It is quite possible that several fantasy leaguers forgot all about Athanasiou because of his late start to the regular season (he was an unsigned restricted free agent during Detroit's first 10 games). Therefore, do not hesitate to pick him up if still available. The speedy, versatile forward started out as the Red Wings' fourth-line center, but was quickly moved up to an exciting scoring line alongside Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha.
4. Miles Wood, RW/LW, Devils
A speedy power forward who had just 61 NHL games under his belt entering this season, Wood has both a two-goal and a three-goal game so far in 2017-18. The son of former NHLer Randy Wood is a bit streaky, so he might not be able to help fantasy teams every week. However, there is enough talent on New Jersey this season to take a flier on a raw winger like Wood. He should remain a top-nine forward on the Devils all season.
5. Jordan Staal, C, Hurricanes
In deep leagues, Staal is probably taken already. However, he could still be available in free agency or the waiver wire in shallower leagues. His offensive game has taken off since Carolina head coach Bill Peters placed Finns Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen on Staal's line. In fact, the big, two-way center has six points in his last three games. Staal's career high is 50 points (2011-12), which he may eclipse if his line remains intact.
6. Sam Reinhart, W/C, Sabres
He is probably unavailable in all keeper leagues and most non-keeper formats, but perhaps a few fantasy leaguers decided to abandon Reinhart after he started the regular season slowly as Buffalo's third-line center. Pick him back up now that the Sabres have moved him back to right wing on the No. 1 line alongside Jack Eichel and Evander Kane. Reinhart is also a very strong power-play performer, so his points total could explode.
7. Jan Rutta, D, Blackhawks
Chicago is currently trying to figure things out with their entire roster, especially along the blueline. The six-time Stanley Cup champions are very happy to have Rutta, a first-year NHLer signed out of the Czech Republic Extraliga. He is currently paired with Swede Gustav Forsling and has produced nine points in his first 19 NHL games. The 27-year-old Rutta could eventually find himself riding shotgun next to defenseman Duncan Keith.
8. Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Oilers
He is still not a finished product, but the Finnish sniper is starting to show positive signs of life at the NHL level. Edmonton has had trouble finding secondary scoring this season, so Puljujarvi represents an important cog in the Oilers attack. He is obviously unavailable in keeper leagues, but Puljujarvi could be had in a number of year-to-year fantasy formats. That all said, it may not be until 2018-19 when Puljujarvi puts everything together.
9. Derrick Pouliot, D, Canucks
The No. 8 overall draft pick in 2012 had trouble cracking the Stanley Cup-champion Penguins' lineup and was eventually dealt to Vancouver earlier this season for a second chance. So far, so good for Pouliot. He has taken advantage of injuries to Alexander Edler, Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher to establish himself (finally) in the NHL. Pouliot boasts five assists in 15 games for Vancouver and is also seeing regular ice time on the power play.
10. Christopher Gibson, G, Islanders
One of the NHL teams currently struggling to find consistent goaltending is the Islanders, as veterans Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak have both been running hot and cold so far in 2017-18. Enter Gibson, whose AHL numbers (8 GP, 2.13 GAA, .924 Sv%) so far this season have been better than projected third-string netminder Kristers Gudlevskis. Gibson, a 24-year-old Finn, may be a candidate to appear in Brooklyn this season.