2017 Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Report: December 14
Each week The Sports Forecaster-Gabriel Farnesi will bring you the top players available on the waiver wire for your fantasy hockey league.
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. Tyler Johnson, RW/C, Lightning
In case some impatient, trigger-happy fantasy leaguers decided to drop Johnson after a very slow start earlier this season, it is now time to revisit the speedy, diminutive forward. He spent most of the early portion of 2017-18 centering Tampa Bay's third or fourth lines but was recently moved to right wing to play with Steven Stamkos. After a couple of games there, he was moved down to the second line. Johnson is once again a fantasy factor.
2. Erik Haula, C/LW, Golden Knights
He was never really given much of a scoring opportunity during his time in Minnesota but Haula has cemented his spot in the Golden Knights' lineup. In fact, he centers David Perron and James Neal on a very good scoring unit. With six points in his last four games, Haula is currently sixth in Vegas scoring with 20 points in 26 games.
3. Pontus Aberg, RW/LW, Predators
This is a case where line changes led to opportunity for the energetic Swede. With No. 1 center Ryan Johansen out of action recently, Aberg was placed on an all-Swedish line alongside Calle Jarnkrok and Filip Forsberg. With Johansen now back, Nashville coach Peter Laviolette decided to keep the Swedes together. This is great news for Aberg, who has accumulated two points in his last four games. He could be a big surprise in the second half.
4. Michael Raffl, LW/RW, Flyers
The veteran winger from Austria started the 2017-18 campaign at right wing on Philadelphia's checking line alongside Scott Laughton and Taylor Leier. However, the Flyers' prolonged slump in the standings led to major line changes recently, which benefited Raffl greatly. He is now playing left wing (his more natural side) on the second line with Valtteri Filppula and Jakub Voracek. It has led to good production lately (last 4 GP, 3-2-5).
5. Milan Lucic, LW, Oilers
It now seems that Edmonton coach Todd McLellan, whose job appeared to be in jeopardy prior to the team's recent hot streak, is committed to keeping Lucic on the Connor McDavid line. That instantly increases Lucic's fantasy value, while dropping that of Patrick Maroon (who used to ride shotgun with McDavid). Lucic slumped early on this season, so he might have been dropped in a number of year-to-year fantasy leagues. Get him.
6. Evan Rodrigues, C/W, Sabres
He missed the first 19 games of the NHL season because of a hand injury, and then spent a little time in the AHL to get back to hockey game shape, but Rodrigues is starting to show signs of offensive life as Buffalo's No. 3 center (behind Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly). He was a big scorer as a senior at Boston University in 2014-15 (when he rode shotgun with Eichel as a winger), so the versatile Rodrigues is one to keep a close eye on.
7. Aaron Dell, G, Sharks
The former journeyman netminder is starting to get noticed for his brilliant run with the Sharks so far in '17-18. In fact, Dell has performed so well (11 GP, 5-3-1, 2 SO, 1.72 GAA, .939 Sv%) this season that he has cut into starter Martin Jones' playing time to some extent. While Jones remains entrenched as San Jose's goaltender of the present and future, Dell has become an excellent handcuff option for Jones' fantasy owners (among others).
8. Rasmus Dahlin, D, 2018 draft eligible
This is a little reminder that one of the best sports tournaments in the world, the world junior hockey championships (nicknamed the WJC), is just around the corner once again. Dahlin, a Swedish defenseman who currently plays for Frolunda HC of the SHL, is expected to be the first overall selection in the 2018 NHL Draft. In some keeper leagues that allow players like Dahlin to be picked up early, do not hesitate to do so. Quickly!
9. Madison Bowey, D, Capitals
Defensemen are hard to find in many fantasy leagues. The established talent is obvious, but it is hard to look for the next wave of fantasy blueliners. That said, it could be time to take a flier on Bowey, a 22-year-old rearguard who recently registered two assists in a Washington victory. After spending the first two months of his rookie season learning the nuances of the National Hockey League, Bowey may be ready to exploit his offensive talent.
10. Daniel Carr, RW/LW, Canadiens
This is not a slam dunk for two main reasons: Montreal is a low-scoring team that relies mostly on defense and goaltending to win games, and Carr is currently toiling on the Canadiens' fourth line with journeymen Byron Froese and Nicolas Deslauriers. That said, Carr is on fire right now with six points in his last four games. Furthermore, the Habs are starting to use the 26-year-old, late-blooming winger on the power play. Hmm...