Combing the Waiver Wire: Mid-January Fantasy Hockey Pick-Ups

Grant Correspondent IJanuary 13, 2010

MONTREAL- NOVEMBER 24:  Mathieu Garon #32 of the Columbus Blue Jackets stretches out to poke check Benoit Pouliot #67 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game on November 24, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Canadiens defeated the Blue Jackets 5-3.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Last night, I had to suffer through one of the worst tortures known to mankind: a team morale building mandatory meeting outside the workplace. 

How does my employer expect me to pay attention to a PowerPoint presentation in the back of a restaurant when the Penguins-Wild game is on the big-screen in the bar?

I understand many fantasy owners simply do not have the time to watch as much hockey as they would like because of such real-life commitments.

So fear not fellow cyber ice gamers, for I have nothing better to do.  I am constantly taking stock of hockey's latest trends so you don't have to do it yourself.  Here are some of the more recent market movers.

Mathieu Garon, Goaltender, Columbus Blue Jackets

For the first three months of the season, the Blue Jackets have been the bottom feeders of the Western Conference.  Yet a recent hot streak has them looking to get out of the  basement.

The stellar play of newly-named No. 1 goaltender Mathieu Garon has much to do with Columbus' success.

Garon has given up two or less goals in his last six starts and has won three in a row, including a shutout of Dallas last Sunday.

Head coach Ken Hitchcock has committed to a win and you're in philosophy for the team's head netminder.  Therefore, as long as Garon has the hot hand, he will continue to man the crease for the Blue Jackets.

This year Garon has compiled a 2.71 Goals Against Average (GAA) with a .907 Save Percentage (SV%).  Both numbers are on par with his career stats, so you know how he will contribute to your categories.  But if you're looking to pick up a few extra wins before the Olympic break, make a move for the widely-available Garon.

Martin Erat, Right Wing, Nashville Predators

Although the veteran Nashville forward missed the last four games due to a knee injury, last Saturday night he looked like he hadn't missed a shift.  Erat logged in roughly 20 minutes of ice time and also found the back of the net.

Erat found himself immediately skating on the top line of the Predators and responded by reverting back to his streaking ways.  In his last 15 contests he has 19 points.

Furthermore, the Czech winger will have an increased offensive role, while center Jason Arnott is out with an upper body injury.

Patric Hornqvist, Right Wing, Nashville Predators

Erat's teammate may not have the track record of consistency like his elder confederate, but Hornqvist may be one of the hottest skaters in fantasy right now.  In his past seven games the young Swedish winger has six goals, four of them coming on the power play, and six penalty minutes.

After a rather pedestrian start to the season, Hornqvist has significantly stepped up his production over the past 30 days.  As a result, he leads the Predators with 17 goals and 138 shots.

Lubomir Visnovsky, Defense, Edmonton Oilers

Sidelined by a bum ankle since New Year's Eve, Visnovsky is slated to return to action Tuesday night.  The Edmonton defenseman is second on the squad in points, meaning he is probably not on your waiver wire.

However, if an impatient owner dropped the high-scoring blueliner, snag him immediately.

Steve Downie, Right Wing, Tampa Bay Lightning

Over the past two months, Downie has been tearing it up on both sides of the puck.  In December he spent time in the sin bin in 11 straight games, totaling during said span 42 penalty minutes.

Now in January, Downie has focused on the offensive aspects of his game.  In the four Lightning contests that have transpired this year, Downie has amassed two goals, three assists, and a +2 rating.  Consequently, he has moved up to Tampa Bay's second line, skating alongside veterans Vinny Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay.

The virtually unowned Downie warrants an immediate pick-up in deeper formats.  If he continues to sizzle, the young forward will soon be relevant in standard leagues as well.