Combing the Waiver Wire: Fantasy Hockey Pickups
I have never been a fan of New Year's resolutions. They seem to me to usually be nothing more than unobtainable goals set out to be achieved on an arbitrary date.
Therefore, this year I resolved to accomplish something easily within my grasp. I want to jettison via trade the big name, underperforming flotsam clogging up the flow of my fantasy hockey teams.
I'm hoping to unload and restock at the expense of some fantasy footballer who is finally turning his or her attention to their neglected cyber ice club.
But for now I've been combing the waiver wires in search of stop-gap solutions. Here is a short list of widely available players who have recently caught my eye.
Tim Connolly Center Buffalo Sabres
Connolly is probably the hottest skater residing in your free agent pool right now. In the midst of a five-game scoring streak, Connolly has amassed four goals, four assists, and three power play points during said span.
Although he is firing on all cylinders, the rest of his team is sputtering out of the gate yet finding ways to win. Recently Buffalo has overcame back to back 3-0 deficits due to third period magic.
In order to avoid future similar situations, the upstate New York squad intends to ratchet up the offensive intensity early on in games. A fact which can only bode well with the streaking second line Sabre center.
Danny Briere Center/Right Wing Philadelphia Flyers
After an agonizing nine game goalless stretch, Briere has found the back of the net three times in his past four contests. During this interval he also has two assists and a +5 rating.
The 33 year old Briere is a few seasons removed from must start status and should now only be considered fantasy worthy when hot.
Next week the Flyers take on the Oilers, the Canucks, and the Islanders, three teams against which Briere has over his career enjoyed point per game success. But be wary for the Quebecois forward has the durability of a cardboard box and the ability to go ice cold at any moment.
Scottie Upshall Right Wing Phoenix Coyotes
The young Upshall continues to prowl under the fantasy radar even though he netted 12 points in 15 December games. Furthermore, the two-way winger is currently on pace to score roughly 50 points coupled with 80 penalty minutes.
Can Upshall keep up this torrid tempo? Probably not. But ice time on the Phoenix first line can't hurt his chances.
Either way, look for Upshall to produce (if the lower body shot he took Saturday night proves not be serious) next week as the Yotes face off against two teams, Edmonton and the Islanders, both among the league's worst in goals allowed.
Marco Sturm Left Wing Boston Bruins
The Beantown forward has bested opposing netminders in four straight games, the most recent tally being an overtime winner in this season's Winter Classic.
Sturm's modest 14 goal total leads the Bruins, yet he only has on the year eight assists. The lack of helpers can hardly be considered his fault, though, as Boston has scored the second fewest goals in the NHL.
Since Sturm is on pace to once again flirt with but not overcome the 30-goal plateau, don't expect his current tear to last much longer. However, he is worth using at the mud puddle deep left wing slot on your fantasy team while he's hot.
Wayne Simmonds Right Wing Los Angeles Kings
Minor knee surgery caused Simmonds to miss two weeks in mid-December, but he has picked up where he left off: contributing across the board.
In his past four contests Simmonds has three assists, six minutes in the sin bin, and a +3 rating.
If he continues to have the hot hand, Simmonds will soon find himself on L.A.'s top line skating alongside Anze Kopitar and Ryan Smyth. When this happens, the value and production of Simmonds will skyrocket.
Rick DiPietro Goaltender New York Islanders
Over the weekend DiPietro stopped 25 shots in a 4-2 loss for the Islanders' AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. More importantly, the former number one overall draft pick was able to play a full 60 minutes between the pipes.
Although New York is allowing their franchise netminder to recover from multiple knee procedures at a snail's pace, this successful rehab start is another step towards returning to professional action.
If you have an open IR spot on your roster, my advice is simple: point, click, and stash.
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