2017 Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Report: February 8
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. Kyle Palmieri, RW, Devils
Before Taylor Hall arrived, Palmieri was New Jersey's driving force on offense. He has endured injury issues this season but is still a capable goal-scorer. With six points in his last four games, and playing for a team that has become much improved in the scoring department this season, Palmieri is a good pickup at this time of the fantasy hockey season. The 27-year-old is now on pace to record his third straight season of 20-plus goals.
2. J.T. Miller, W/C, Rangers
As wingers such as Rick Nash and Michael Grabner may be on the way out of New York (both are pending unrestricted free agents who are likely to be dealt before the February 26 NHL trade deadline), Miller's role continues to grow with the Rangers. The 24-year-old has played all three forward positions for the Blueshirts this season, and he currently sits second on the club in scoring. Miller could be a second-half beast in 2017-18.
3. Zach Hyman, LW, Maple Leafs
He is not a natural point producer but plays with two of the most talented forwards in the NHL: Auston Matthews and William Nylander. Therefore, Hyman has fantasy value. Toronto has been somewhat up and down in terms of goal production this season, but they seem to be back on the upswing lately. Hyman is on pace to register career marks in both goals (16) and points (44), so he is worth a shot as a back-of-the-roster fantasy option.
4. Nick Bonino, C, Predators
It has taken Bonino some time to get acclimated with the defending Western Conference champions, after moving from the two-time Stanley Cup champions last summer. The 29-year-old, two-way center continues to be inconsistent on offense, but does have two multi-point games under his belt in his last eight contests. He might frustrate fantasy owners with a few zeroes on the score sheet but Bonino might now become a decent pickup.
5. Linus Ullmark, G, Sabres
He is currently the Sabres' third-string netminder but Ullmark is having a great 2017-18 campaign in the American Hockey League. Furthermore, current backup Chad Johnson is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Therefore, Ullmark's keeper-league value appears to be gaining steam. Fellow Swede Robin Lehner is Buffalo's No. 1 goalkeeper but he is not etched in stone. Ullmark's future is getting brighter.
6. Danton Heinen, LW, Bruins
Now that Brad Marchand is back from suspension, Heinen is no longer toiling on Boston's No. 1 line. That said, he still has fantasy value. That is because the Bruins are the hottest team in the NHL and are among the top scoring teams in the league. Heinen should continue to play on the third line with Riley Nash and David Backes, but the 22-year-old rookie also sees time on the power play. He has been a pleasant surprise for the B's.
7. Alex Iafallo, LW, Kings
Speaking of pleasant surprises, Iafallo was a major underdog to crack the Kings' roster in training camp but did just that. In fact, he has spent a lot of time on LA's top scoring line with Anze Kopitar and either Dustin Brown or Tyler Toffoli. He is not a natural scorer but has picked up the pace lately (last 4 GP, 2-2-4). Therefore, the 24-year-old Iafallo might be a decent late-season addition to a fantasy roster (if he continues to play on Line 1).
8. Jeff Petry, D, Canadiens
With Shea Weber out of the Montreal lineup since December 19, Petry has become the club's de facto No.1 defenseman. He has had his ups and downs (like most of the Canadiens) this season but has been on fire lately. Petry should continue to play on Montreal's top power-play unit until Weber's return, which adds to his short-term value. Petry is not a slam dunk fantasy option, but many fantasy leaguers could do worse at this point.
9. Darren Helm, LW/RW, Red Wings
The 31-year-old speedster is more of a role player than point producer at this point in his career. That said, Helm has recorded five points in his last three games and is playing important minutes for the Red Wings. He is always an injury risk because of his fast-paced style of play, but Helm could be a decent (albeit short-term) option for fantasy leaguers in very deep leagues. Pick him up while he is still putting points on the board.
10. Paul Ladue, D, Kings
Who? Ladue is for those fantasy leaguers who like to gamble. Jeff Petry would be a far safer pick in terms of potentially available fantasy defensemen but Ladue has more upside. The problem? He is currently the Kings' No. 7 defenseman (so he might not receive regular playing time once veteran Alec Martinez returns from injury). Still, he is a player to watch between now and the end of the regular season. Take a big gamble on him.