Fantasy NHL – Robin Lehner among the week’s best waiver-wire finds

NHL News


Every week we’ll mine the waiver wire for widely available assets to help your fantasy hockey squad, whether you favor dynasty or the re-draft format, and we’ll also toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who might be overvalued — in the short or long term — for one reason or another.


Forwards

Kevin Fiala, C/LW, Nashville Predators (rostered in 30.5 percent of ESPN leagues)

Underappreciated all season long, Fiala is surging once more with two goals in each of his past two contests. Skating with regular linemates, center Kyle Turris and winger Craig Smith, Fiala sits second only to Filip Forsberg in scoring forwards with 17 goals and 18 assists in 50 games. At 21 years of age, the promising sophomore, selected 11th overall in 2014, is just getting started. He should be spoken for in a much greater percentage of ESPN leagues.

Justin Williams, RW, Carolina Hurricanes (27.4 percent)

The streaky veteran is again running warm alongside center Victor Rask at even strength and with the man advantage. Two goals and four assists (plus-two) in eight games merit inclusion in deeper leagues. Although he isn’t scoring as many goals as in recent seasons, Williams remains on pace for a 50-plus-point campaign. Historically clutch, the 36-year-old can be expected to heat up further as long as his club remains in the playoff mix.

Zach Hyman, C/LW, Toronto Maple Leafs (12.7 percent)

Underwhelming as a fantasy asset on his own, Hyman stands to benefit from his on-ice company on a nightly basis. Plus, he’s on a nice little run right now. Skating in his usual spot on a Toronto top line with Auston Matthews and William Nylander, the 25-year-old forward has three goals and two assists (plus-nine) in five games. He has value as a steady asset in deeper leagues that reward plus/minus and average time-on-ice in particular.

Bryan Rust, RW, Pittsburgh Penguins (8.4 percent)

With three goals and an assist in his past three games, the Notre Dame alum has worked his way back up into Conor Sheary‘s spot aside Sidney Crosby. Until Sheary is well again after suffering a lower-body injury — estimated for the end of February, at the earliest — or the Penguins trade for a more suitable scoring winger, Rust will see a tangible boost in production while competing next to the elite centerman. Like with Hyman above, it sometimes comes down to company kept.

Devin Shore, C/RW, Dallas Stars (1.6 percent)

Skating more often on the Stars’ No. 1 power play with Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov, Shore has two goals and four assists in his past seven games, including four points with the extra skater. Otherwise competing on a scoring line with Mattias Janmark and Jason Spezza, the 23-year-old sophomore deserves fantasy consideration in deeper leagues.


Defensemen

Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild (4.1 percent)

Despite ranking a distant fourth behind Ryan Suter, Matt Dumba and Jared Spurgeon on the Wild’s fantasy blue line, Brodin is garnering attention for collecting a goal and four assists in four games. The 24-year-old has also earned more opportunities with the power play of late. Beyond conventional scoring categories, Brodin provides value in leading his club with 101 blocked shots and a plus-18 rating.


Goaltenders

Robin Lehner, Buffalo Sabres (22.8 percent)

Rising above his club’s inability to produce — the Sabres rank dead last in league scoring — Lehner is doing more than his part of late. Allowing just three total goals over four straight starts (still, only two of them wins), the temperamental netminder merits exploiting in all forms of fantasy play. Until he cools off again, that is. Then move on.

Anton Khudobin, Boston Bruins (11.0 percent)

A daily fantasy heads up: Khudobin is scheduled to face the New York Rangers on Wednesday following Tuukka Rask‘s scheduled start Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings. The banged-up Rangers have struggled to score of late with just three goals in three recent games, while Boston’s No. 2 has been altogether solid this season, sporting a .924 save percentage and 2.36 goals-against average.

Keith Kinkaid, New Jersey Devils (7.1 percent)

Winner of three straight, Kinkaid is the Devils’ go-to netminder right now while Cory Schneider continues to slowly recover from a groin injury. Enduring a rougher go of it through the season’s first three months, New Jersey’s backup has been much more consistent in the new year (5-1-1). Fantasy managers with goaltending needs, and little to lose, may choose to the give the 28-year-old a shot. Again, Schneider could still be out a while.

Harri Sateri, Florida Panthers (4.2 percent)

The 28-year-old third-stringer has exceeded expectations in recent play, surrendering only five total goals in three straight wins over the New York Islanders, Sabres and Red Wings. It was good enough to earn the inexperienced netminder the NHL’s second star of the week honors. However, with James Reimer loosely projected to return from an injured groin on Friday and Roberto Luongo inching towards his own healthy comeback, we may not see much more of Sateri after this coming week. Monitor matters in Florida accordingly.


Lowered expectations

Mika Zibanejad, RW/C, New York Rangers (82.5 percent)

While one of his regular linemates, winger Pavel Buchnevich, is out indefinitely with an alleged concussion, another, Rick Nash, is being actively shopped on the trade market. No chance that doesn’t serve as some form of distraction. Then there are Zibanejad’s own scoring struggles, as he’s been limited to just one goal and three assists in 10 games. While there’s little doubt he’ll snap out of it at some point, invested fantasy managers might opt to bench the talented center in the meanwhile.

Brandon Saad, LW/RW, Chicago Blackhawks (61.3 percent)

This past summer’s trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the once-before Blackhawk hasn’t worked out anywhere near as hoped. Failing to compliment Jonathan Toews on a scoring line as he had seasons previous, then squandering a shot on a unit with Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane, Saad has since tumbled down the lineup into the bottom six. The 25-year-old winger has one assist in 11 contests. Shelve him until there’s a significant change in fortune.



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