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. Alex DeBrincat, LW/RW, Blackhawks
By now, if DeBrincat is still available in any keeper league there needs to be an investigation. That said, the 20-year-old rookie winger could probably be had in several year-to-year leagues at this point. The diminutive sniper is certainly worth a pickup after producing four points in his last two games. A right shooter who prefers to play left wing, he may have found a home in Chicago with captain Jonathan Toews and newcomer Anthony Duclair.
2. Travis Konecny, RW/LW, Flyers
While Konecny may not have DeBrincat's goal-scoring upside, he too is a player rising quickly among fantasy wingers. After moving up to Philadelphia's top scoring line next to Sean Couturier and captain Claude Giroux, the 20-year-old Konecny has produced five goals and six points in his last five contests. That includes goals in five straight games! While his keeper status may depend on his first-line fortunes, he is a great pickup right now.
3. Sam Reinhart, RW/C, Sabres
Things have not gone well for either Reinhart or the Sabres this season. Expectations were a lot higher than their current 30th place position in the overall NHL standings. For his part, the 22-year-old Reinhart has struggled offensively (50 GP, 10-10-20) amid several trade rumors swirling around him (and other Buffalo players). Still, he is hot right now (4 points in his last 3 games) and could be ready for a long-awaited hot streak.
4. Adam Henrique, C, Ducks
Sometimes, a player fits his new team like a glove. That certainly seems to be the case for Henrique as a member of the Anaheim Ducks. The 27-year-old center has registered 11 goals and 17 points in 26 games with his new club (compared to just 4 goals and 14 points in 24 games with the New Jersey Devils, before he came over in the deal that sent defenseman Sami Vatanen to Jersey). Grab Henrique up safely, if still available.
5. Anton Forsberg, G, Blackhawks
Take 2! More than a month ago, Forsberg made this list because he seemed like the goaltender most likely to benefit from the prolonged absence of Chicago starting netminder Corey Crawford (concussion, IR). Instead, journeyman Jeff Glass came out of nowhere to steal several appearances away from Forsberg. Glass seems to have run out of steam, though, so it is once again time to grab Forsberg (though Crawford may be back soon).
6. Charles Hudon, W/C, Canadiens
As a general rule, Canadiens' skaters have not been very fantasy-worthy this season. Most should be avoided. After all, Montreal currently ranks 27th out of 31 teams in goals per game (2.56). That said, Hudon is one of their better offensive threats. The versatile rookie forward has recorded four points in his last two games, and may now be needed to play center because of injuries to Phillip Danault and Paul Byron. Hudon is a fantasy sleeper.
7. Thatcher Demko, G, Canucks
For now, Vancouver is using a two-goalie system with Swedish teammates Jacob Markstrom and Anders Nilsson sharing the net. Markstrom has gotten the lion's share of the workload lately and is having the better season. However, it may not be much longer before Demko supplants Nilsson on the roster (and challenges Markstrom for playing time). In fact, Demko--a San Diego, California native--may currently be considered an elite prospect.
8. Jordan Schmaltz, D, Blues
Speaking of prospects, keep a close eye on Blues' blueline prospect Schmaltz between now and the February 26 trade deadline. His name is currently being bandied about as potential bait as St. Louis seeks more goal-scoring help up front. The 24-year-old Schmaltz has plenty of offensive upside, but the right-shooting rearguard seems buried down the Blues' depth chart (behind Alex Pietrangelo, Colton Parayko and Robert Bortuzzo).
9. Bryan Rust, RW/LW, Penguins
After missing 11 games due to an upper-body injury, speedy Rust returned to game action recently with a bang (4 points in his last 3 games, including a three-point effort against San Jose earlier this week). A valuable member of the two-time, defending Stanley Cup champions, the 25-year-old Rust lacks offensive consistency (but otherwise seems to have everything else needed for success). When he is hot, he is worthy of a pickup.
10. Spencer Foo, RW, Flames
Recently named the AHL's player of the week, Foo could be making some noise about a potential recall to Calgary at some point. A preseason Calder trophy candidate, the 23-year-old Foo needed time to adjust to the professional ranks. He seems to have adjusted well, so the Flames may consider recalling him (especially since they lack depth at right wing, where the likes of Michael Frolik, Troy Brouwer and Garnet Hathaway reside).