Fantasy NHL – Kyle Connor tops 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

Kyle Connor, LW, Winnipeg Jets (rostered in 31.0 percent of ESPN leagues)

Settling back in on a top scoring line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, the 21-year-old has three goals in a pair of games, bring his total to 21 for the season. He’s a must-start in most leagues as long as this configuration holds together. But while the Jets are presently rolling three legit scoring lines, it’ll be interesting to watch how that strategy holds up through the trade deadline. There’s still talk of the club acquiring an outsider to play up front with Scheifele and Wheeler, so any manager invested in Connor should keep an ear to the rumor mill.

Ondrej Kase, RW/LW, Anaheim Ducks (19.2 percent)

Making an appearance in this space for the third time since October, Kase has evolved beyond a treasured asset in deep keeper leagues. Despite seeing his ice time fluctuate wildly, the 22-year-old sophomore is tuned in with five goals and four assists in eight games. To those watching closely, he is becoming more comfortable.

Kevin Hayes, RW/C, New York Rangers (16.2 percent)

Currently centering the Rangers’ second scoring line with Michael Grabner and Mats Zuccarello, and competing on New York’s secondary power play, Hayes is on a nice roll with three goals and four assists in six contests. The Rangers are in sell mode, and the 25-year-old is likely assured a consistent role up front aside other scoring talent. I mean, the club isn’t shipping off everyone.

Zach Aston-Reese, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (7.4 percent)

Eight games into his NHL career, the former Northeastern University forward has four goals in his past four contests and is now playing on a scoring line with Sidney Crosby. While this assignment hardly feels permanent, especially with the trade deadline still to fall, Aston-Reece has fantasy merit in the meantime as an injury plug or DFS asset. Beyond the here and now, the 23-year-old also has potential legs as a long-term investment in keeper leagues. After scoring plenty in college, he has more than held his own in the AHL.

Jordan Weal, C, Philadelphia Flyers (0.4 percent)

Tapped to fill in for an injured Wayne Simmonds on a second line with Jakub Voracek and rookie center Nolan Patrick, Weal is also competing on a power play with red-hot sophomore Travis Konecny. The 25-year-old forward could be in for a fairly productive spell, as Simmonds is slated to miss two to three weeks. Weal has enjoyed productive moments in the past, most notably when called up from the AHL last season. Fantasy managers in deeper leagues may want to give him a whirl, at least in the short-term.


Defensemen

Sami Vatanen, New Jersey Devils (17.6 percent)

Skating on the Devils’ top pair and anchoring the No. 1 power play, Vatanen is on a roll with six assists in five games, including one with the extra skater. Unless your league is all about the goals, this often underrated offensive-defenseman could merit inclusion.


Goaltenders

Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers (33.4 percent)

After missing two and a half months with a lower-body injury, Luongo looked solid enough in Saturday’s 6-3 road victory over the Calgary Flames. With James Reimer surrendering seven in Sunday’s loss to the Jets, count on seeing the 38-year-old veteran more often than not in the season’s waning months — particularly if the Panthers remain in the playoff conversation. Just maybe hold off on enlisting Luongo as a fantasy asset until after Tuesday’s contest in Toronto. The Maple Leafs have scored an average of 4.2 goals per game since Jan. 25.

Petr Mrazek, Philadelphia Flyers (21.0 percent)

In jetting the struggling Detroit Red Wings for a playoff contender in Philadelphia, Mrazek morphs into fantasy asset sporting genuine appeal. With the exception of one horrid outing against the New York Islanders earlier this month, the 26-year-old has been reliable for the Wings since mid-January, boasting a save percentage of .954 through nine other appearances. Now that both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth are pegged to miss weeks with their respective injuries, Mrazek has only Alex Lyon (one complete game in the NHL to date) to fight off for starts on a Flyers club that ranks 11th in the NHL with an average of 3.00 goals per contest. Detroit sits 27th with 2.60.

Ryan Miller, Anaheim Ducks (5.5 percent)

Stopping all 20 shots faced in relief of No. 1 John Gibson, Miller was perfect in preserving Monday’s shutout victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. The severity of Gibson’s lower-body injury will help determine the veteran backup’s role moving forward. At minimum, a start versus the Dallas Stars on Wednesday feels likely, along with performing in one of two back-to-back games against the Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers over the coming weekend.


Lowered expectations

Vladislav Namestnikov, C/LW/RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (83.7 percent)

With Yanni Gourde and Alex Killorn skating effectively on the left side up front, Namestnikov remains the odd man out of Tampa’s top six, partly explaining his modest total of one goal and two assists in 10 games. A gig on the Lightning’s top power play hasn’t sufficed in justifying the 25-year-old’s daily activation in many leagues. If possible, consider utilizing another forward asset while Namestnikov remains lukewarm.

Henrik Lundqvist, G, New York Rangers (83.1 percent)

Perceptibly frustrated by his teammates falling short out front, in addition to all of the rebuilding hoopla discussed off ice, Lundqvist isn’t having a good time of it between the pipes right now. King Henrik has lost four straight, punctuated by the weekend’s surrendering of 12 total goals to the Senators and Flyers. Rest the All-Star on your bench until he again turns the corner.



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