Fantasy NHL – Bryan Rust and Sean Couturier lead list of players to add from waivers

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Every week, we’ll mine the waiver wire for lesser-owned assets to help your squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft 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

Bryan Rust, RW, Pittsburgh Penguins (Rostered in 37.1 percent of ESPN.com leagues)

While understandably modest in his hardware-seeking aspirations, Rust still merits rostering in more than just a third of ESPN.com leagues. Playing with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, the 25-year-old already has eight points in six contests. Such cause-and-effect is difficult to dispute.

Sean Couturier, C, Philadelphia Flyers (27.6 percent)

Centering a top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek is working out rather well for Couturier, who has three goals and three assists in five games. In little immediate danger of losing that precious role to veteran Valtteri Filppula or rookie Nolan Patrick, the 2011 eighth overall draft pick is in position to finally realize his prognosticated productive potential. Flyers faithful have been waiting a while.

Jason Pominville, LW, Buffalo Sabres (27.6 percent)

It feels like 2007-08 all over again! Making the most of his return to Buffalo, Pominville has a pair of two-goal games, along with three assists, through six contests. Skating on a scoring unit with Jack Eichel certainly doesn’t hurt in that regard. During his first elongated stint with the club that drafted him, Pominville averaged nearly a point per game one season. While that’s asking a bit much from the now-36-year-old, a 60-65 point campaign resonates as within reach.

Mikko Rantanen, RW, Colorado Avalanche (21.0 percent)

Even once the Avalanche start fumbling and the early success-driven hysteria dies down, Rantanen should nonetheless continue to produce at a steady pace. Earlier pegged to come into his own this sophomore season, the 2015 10th overall selection is essentially cemented in a top-six/top power-play role on a club in rebuild mode. He collected 60 points in 52 games with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage as a teen two years ago, and he’ll nail down 60 points with the Avs this season. Just don’t anticipate much from a plus/minus perspective.

Nick Schmaltz, C, Chicago Blackhawks (20.4 percent)

Considered a vital piece of the Blackhawks’ top six this season, Schmaltz is scheduled to rejoin a scoring line with Patrick Kane and Ryan Hartman on Wednesday. Before suffering an upper body injury on Oct. 7, the 21-year-old, in his sophomore season, scored a goal and recorded two assists (plus-4) from that vantage point in the Hawks’ season opener. Fantasy owners should act fast; Schmaltz won’t be widely available long.

Andrew Cogliano, C/LW, Anaheim Ducks (12.7 percent)

Serviceable in deeper re-draft leagues, Cogliano is averaging a point per game (plus-5) and, more importantly, skating on a top line with Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg. Just don’t ask much from the 30-year-old in the power-play department.

Jake DeBrusk, LW, Boston Bruins (5.2 percent)

Following the recent shuffling resulting from Patrice Bergeron‘s return to the lineup, DeBrusk has maintained his grip on a top-six role adjacent David Pastrnak and David Krejci. That’s good enough for us. The keeper-league gem already has four points in his first five NHL games.

Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Edmonton Oilers (2.8 percent)

A top-line assignment with the otherworldly Connor McDavid boosts Yamamoto from ‘long-term intriguing keeper prospect’ to ‘appealing fantasy candidate’ in the here and now. While there’s no guarantee the first-round pick even lasts beyond his nine-game NHL audition, Yamamoto has already sufficiently exceeded preseason expectations to merit intense monitoring. Also, give good thought to exploiting the young lad as a Daily Fantasy commodity as long as he’s skating with McDavid.

Drew Stafford, RW, New Jersey Devils (0.6 percent)

Roundly underrated as a fantasy asset throughout his career, Stafford once again boasts dark horse potential with his latest NHL club. Skating on a No. 1 line with Taylor Hall and rookie center Nico Hischier, the 31-year-old makes for an intriguing short-term or DFS commodity. Stafford has perennially enjoyed his explosive moments since joining the league over a decade ago, and the art of taking fantasy advantage of those moments is all in the timing.

Defenders

Vince Dunn, St. Louis Blues (0.3 percent)

From a pool presently shallow on appealing fantasy blueliners, Dunn strikes as one to watch well beyond 2017-18. An offensive defenseman by nature, the 20-year-old must improve other facets of his game to stick permanently in the NHL. But once he does, those invested should reap rich fantasy dividends.

Goaltenders

Thomas Greiss, New York Islanders (37.6 percent)

Greiss is performing well for a club that otherwise is not. At some point, one of those two trends will reverse direction. Guaranteed. No way the Isles’ No. 1A is able to extend his hot play without additional support out front, so fantasy owners in need of netminding aid face the gamble of wagering on a turnaround from John Tavares & Co., along with Greiss’ in-house preferential status over the other guy, Jaroslav Halak. Still, it could pay off.

Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets (28.3 percent)

Quickly and forcefully elbowing newbie Steve Mason out of the Jets’ crease, Hellebuyck is off to a striking start: 3-0, .937 save percentage, 2.11 goals-against average. Mind you, a bounce-back showing from Mason, who is slated to start against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, could give coach Paul Maurice food for thought. Stay tuned.

Malcolm Subban, Vegas Golden Knights (11.0 percent)

Despite the 4-0-1 start, it could still turn ugly in a hurry for the expansion Golden Knights, and the club’s new No. 1 netminder is almost as green as they come. Filling in for a concussed Marc-Andre Fleury, Subban played great in his first contest for the Knights on Sunday, stopping all but one of the Bruins’ 22 shots for his first NHL victory. But his two previous, notably partial, big league appearances (coincidentally with Boston) were far less pretty. For now, the middle Subban brother best suits desperate fantasy owners with only the strongest of stomachs.

Lowered expectations

Mitch Marner, C/RW, Toronto Maple Leafs (95.9 percent)

In the grander scheme, Marner will be just fine. But for the meantime, his fourth-line assignment — a teachable moment, compliments of coach Mike Babcock — doesn’t bode well to pay out immediate fantasy dividends. If possible, bench the 20-year-old sophomore until he gets his act together.

Alex Galchenyuk, LW, Montreal Canadiens (57.7 percent)

Scoring that all-important first goal of the season is proving insufficient in earning Galchenyuk a ticket off the Canadiens’ fourth line. That role, coupled with a relationship with coach Claude Julien that feels complicated at best, jams a serious damper on Galchenyuk’s current productive potential. Until the situation rights itself — via improved play, lineup promotion or a change of scenery altogether — we’re steering well clear of the 23-year-old struggling talent.





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