Fantasy NHL – Recently debuted Ryan Donato among week’s best waiver adds

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 toss in some tips for daily fantasy sports players out there. Then, 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, and provide a list of players we now deem droppable in standard fantasy leagues.


Forwards

Ondrej Palat, LW, Tampa Bay Lightning (rostered in 30.0 percent of ESPN leagues)

He’s back! After losing more than eight weeks to a lower-body injury, Palat is pegged to return Tuesday on a scoring line with Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson. Before falling injured, the winger collected 30 points in 46 games. Feeling fresh, the 26-year-old winger makes for a valuable late-season add in deeper head-to-head leagues.

Boone Jenner, RW/LW, Columbus Blue Jackets (27.6 percent)

Relishing tangible chemistry of late with linemates Alexander Wennberg and Thomas Vanek, Jenner has scored in five of his past six contests. Toss in three assists, and the Blue Jackets’ power forward has much to boast about over these past dozen days. Fantasy managers with roster holes to fill might think hard about exploiting Jenner, who also isn’t shy about shooting the puck on net, while he runs so hot. Again, that line has looked great in recent play.

Travis Zajac, C, New Jersey Devils (3.1 percent)

As long as the veteran forward is centering a scoring line with wingers Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri, he deserves a significant boost in attention across the fantasy spectrum. From that privileged position, Zajac has a goal and power-play assist in three games while averaging almost 19 minutes per contest. Just keep a close eye on how coach John Hynes shuffles around the 32-year-old and rookie center Nico Hischier.

Valentin Zykov, LW, Carolina Hurricanes (0.2 percent)

Projected to make his season debut for the Hurricanes on Tuesday, the 22-year-old forward should be kept on the radar as a dynasty-league asset for the future. The 2013 second-round draft selection has 32 goals and 20 assists in 61 games with the Charlotte Checkers this season.

Ryan Donato, C, Boston Bruins (0.0 percent)

With a good number of banged-up Bruins sidelined this week, Donato made the most of his NHL debut, collecting a goal and two assists in Monday’s 5-4 OT loss to the Blue Jackets. As long as he’s skating on a scoring line with David Krejci and Danton Heinen and the No. 1 power play, as he did against Columbus, the Harvard lad merits fantasy consideration, game by game.


Defensemen

Ryan Pulock, New York Islanders (11.2 percent)

Seeing quality minutes in the top four and with the man advantage, Pulock has one goal and five assists in five contests. The 23-year-old pending restricted free agent would do well to wrap up 2017-18 on a high with his entry-level contract set to expire.

Neal Pionk, New York Rangers (10.8 percent)

Averaging nearly 24 minutes per game and skating on the top pair, Pionk has six assists in four contests, including a couple with the extra skater. The 22-year-old rookie should continue to enjoy heavy, quality ice time as the Rangers look ahead to next season, especially while fellow defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk (knee) and Anthony DeAngelo (ankle) remain sidelined.


Goaltenders

Keith Kinkaid, New Jersey Devils (21.4 percent)

One more mediocre outing from Cory Schneider, and the Devils’ crease will unquestionably belong to Kinkaid as the club battles to keep a handle on the final playoff spot in the East. Stringing together three losses after missing weeks to injury, Schneider hasn’t competed since March 8. Up until Sunday’s loss to the Anaheim Ducks, Kinkaid had won four straight. Whoever starts Tuesday’s tilt with the San Jose Sharks — and how he fares — should heavily help determine New Jersey’s course in net moving forward.

Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators (5.6 percent)

Now that Nashville has essentially sewn up the top spot in the West — yes, yes, the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets can still catch the Preds, but they won’t — we’ll see even more of Saros between the pipes as the regular season wears down. Two back-to-back sets remain on the Predators’ schedule, and some extra time off will only help Pekka Rinne feel adequately rested for a potentially long and successful postseason run. Besides, Saros is 3-1-1 with a .930 save percentage since mid-February. Throwing the 22-year-old youngster out there amounts to little sacrifice and contributes to keeping the backup sharp, just in case.

Louis Domingue, Tampa Bay Lightning (1.2 percent)

Even if/when the Lightning clinch home ice, there’s little question goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy will command a solid portion of starts down the stretch, but not all of them. Winner of four straight games, Domingue surrendered only three total goals on a combined 59 shots in two recent victories over the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers. If nothing else, the 26-year-old backup presents as a tempting option in daily fantasy competition, when relevant. Keep an eye on Peter Budaj, as well. He’s now healthy and might also eat into those starts.


Lowered expectations

Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Calgary Flames (82.1 percent)

Nursing a suspected concussion, Tkachuk has missed four straight for the Flames. With his team tumbling out of realistic playoff contention, the young forward could be shut down for a good number, if not all, of Calgary’s remaining eight games. Invested owners in re-draft leagues should consider pulling the chute on the 20-year-old and looking for dark-horse help elsewhere.

Zdeno Chara, D, Boston Bruins (50.2 percent)

Hanging out in sick bay with a good gaggle of his Boston teammates, Chara (upper-body injury) remains without a detailed timeline for return. With an eye to a long and fruitful playoff run, the Bruins won’t be faulted for taking their sweet time in bringing the 41-year-old veteran back into the active fold. There will be no rush here whatsoever. Fantasy managers who remain competitive should peruse the wire for other blue-line assistance, instead of continuing to allow Chara to waste space on their roster.

Droppable: The following players are deemed worthy of letting go altogether in re-draft leagues only because of serious injury, reduced role or some other significant factor:



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