2017 Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Report: January 25
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. Carter Hutton, G, Blues
Though there are rumors that St. Louis is currently seeking a trade for another No. 1 goaltender, it certainly appears as though Hutton has supplanted Jake Allen as the Blues' No. 1 man in goal. The 32-year-old Hutton--an eight-year journeyman pro whose career high in games played (40) and wins (20) came with Nashville in 2013-14, is currently second in the league in both goals-against average and save percentage. Wow!
2. Casey DeSmith, G, Penguins
The 26-year-old DeSmith is somewhat similar to Hutton: he is currently in his third professional campaign and first in the NHL at an advanced age. He recently made three consecutive starts for Pittsburgh (2-1-0, 1.35 GAA and .960 Sv%), which forced the team to send down rookie Tristan Jarry back to the AHL. With Matt Murray constantly dealing with injury issues (and more recently a family tragedy), DeSmith is worth a pickup.
3. Mattias Janmark, W/C, Stars
This is a good comeback story, since Janmark missed all of 2016-17 due to a serious knee injury. Dallas did not know what to expect upon his return to action this season, especially with a new head coach (Ken Hitchcock) in tow. However, the versatile Swede has been a very solid performer and continues his ascent as a point producer in the NHL. Next season could be Janmark's breakthrough campaign, but for now he is a short-term asset.
4. Anthony Beauvillier, W/C, Islanders
The 20-year-old forward has good speed and a very mature, two-way game. His offensive ability is a work in progress but he is starting to light the lamp with regularity. In fact, Beauvillier has registered two goals in each of his last two contests. Furthermore, he has potted eight tallies in the Islanders' last seven games. Currently replacing the injured Andrew Ladd on New York's second line, Beauvillier should be a short-term pickup.
5. Jonathan Drouin, C/W, Canadiens
Frustrated Drouin fantasy owners might have already dumped the former Lightning wunderkind in year-to-year leagues, so now is the time to pick him right back up. A mega-talented and creative forward who is simply too good to struggle for an entire NHL season, Drouin is showing signs of fantasy life (a 3-point effort vs. Colorado earlier this week). He is still a better fantasy bet as a winger but seems to be getting over the hump at center.
6. Ryan Pulock, D, Islanders
As long as Nick Leddy resides on Long Island, Pulock will never be able to fully grab the team's power-play quarterback role. That said, Pulock is finally seeing regular playing time with the Islanders and recently registered five points in a lop-sided road victory at Chicago. While the 23-year-old Pulock still has a few defensive warts to clean up, his offensive ability excites his fantasy owners. He is even on the keeper radar.
7. Dominik Simon, LW, Penguins
It has now been close to a month since Simon's last recall from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, and most of his time in the NHL lately has been spent as Sidney Crosby's left-winger. That alone garners plenty of attention in fantasy circles. He has also been reasonably productive at the NHL level this season (15 GP, 2-5-7), so Simon could be in the big league to stay. Take a chance on him and hope for the best!
8. Jason Spezza, C/W, Stars
It has been a very tough season for the 34-year-old playmaker, who has spent a lot of time on the Stars' fourth line and was even a healthy scratch once. That said, Spezza is a natural point-getter who produced 50 points last season and averaged 64 points in three campaigns (2 with Dallas, 1 with Ottawa) prior to that. So, the man can put up points. If this is the start of a redeeming run of production, it is time to get on board the Spezza train!
9. Samuel Montembeault, G, Panthers
While he currently sits fourth on Florida's goalkeeping depth chart, Montembeault is quite likely the Panthers' goaltender of the future. After all, No. 1 man Roberto Luongo is currently injured and will turn 39 years old in early April. Backup James Reimer is almost 30 now and has never been able to solidify a No. 1 job anywhere before. Meanwhile, Finnish third stringer Harri Sateri is a 28-year-old journeyman. Montembeault is the future.
10. Esa Lindell, D, Stars
The Stars were expected to become a defensive monster under coach Ken Hitchcock this season. Instead, Dallas is currently tied for seventh in goals per game (3.08 GF/GP) and 26th in goals-against per game (2.61 GA/GP). This is still an offensive club, even if it is one in transition. Therefore, grab as many Stars players as available--including Finnish rearguard Lindell, who plays alongside Norris trophy candidate John Klingberg.