December is nearly upon us, meaning now is the time teams start pulling away from the pack… for better or worse. Edmonton, while markedly improved from seasons past, once again leads the race for the top overall pick. On the other end of the spectrum, Dallas surges forward thanks to the incredible firepower of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg. It’s going to be an interesting season, for sure.
Now, onto this week’s waiver wire picks.
Joffrey Lupul, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs (ESPN: 25.2 per cent; CBS: 24 per cent): Toronto is dead last in the East, and 28th in the league, so very few current Leafs are worth a spot on your Fantasy roster, but Lupul — who we slotted 105th in our Top 250 Keeper League Rankings last year — might be one to consider. The five-time 20-goal scorer has eight goals, 11 points, a minus-2 rating, six penalty minutes, a power play goal, 59 shots on goal, 33 hits and five blocks through 23 games. He’s on pace for a 28-goal, 39-point season if he can keep it up, so we recommend keeping your eyes on him. Hey, if nothing else, Lupul may teach you something about headphones (see video below).
Tom Gilbert, D, Montreal Canadiens (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): Fantasy championships are rarely ever won because of the direct offensive contributions of defensemen (Erik Karlsson, Duncan Keith, P.K. Subban and Klingberg aside). However, they certainly make their mark in miscellaneous categories. Take the Habs’ Gilbert for instance. He has just one assist so far, but has also added a plus-11 rating, six penalty minutes, 23 shots on goal, 18 hits and 36 blocked shots. Add him to your watch list for now; he’ll always be available if you need him later on.
Jared Cowen, D, Ottawa Senators (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): Much like Gilbert, Cowen hasn’t contributed much offensively (three assists, 14 shots on goal), but his plus-9 rating, six penalty minutes, 51 hits and 31 shot blocks are considerable. He’ll do as a spare rearguard in a pinch.
Marcus Johansson, C/LW, Washington Capitals (ESPN: 13.2 per cent; CBS: 29 per cent): The Metropolitan leading Caps sit third in the league standings with 35 points, and are considered early favourites for a deep postseason run. Johansson has been a solid offensive contributor, scoring five goals and 13 points with a plus-9 rating, two penalty minutes, two power play goals, 40 shots on goal, 14 hits and six blocks. If he’s available on your league’s waiver wire, snatch him up quick and enjoy the ride — this season’s Caps are going to go far.
Darcy Kuemper, G, Minnesota Wild (ESPN: 0.7 per cent; CBS: 9 per cent): A rough outing against Winnipeg in early November ruined an otherwise solid three appearances for the Minnesota youngster. Kuemper stopped 40 of 44 shots in the Wild’s 4-3 overtime loss to Dallas Saturday, showing Head Coach Mike Yeo there is in fact a backup netminder on the club able to spell starter Devan Dubnyk when need be. Kuemper better be your second or third goalie — we certainly don’t recommend him as your No. 1 — but Dubnyk can’t play every game now, can he?
Fantasy Tip of the Week: It took 22 games, but Minnesota right winger Jason Pominville finally scored a goal. It was a beauty, too. Pominville loaded every ounce of frustration into a roof tickler that blew by Dallas’ Antti Niemi in typical howitzer fashion. It was only a matter of time for the seven-time 20-goal, six-time 60-point scorer, but you had to wonder if Pominville cried himself to sleep every night prior to Saturday. He has a goal, 11 points and a plus-2 rating so far this season, and, with the return of Zach Parise and a monkey off his back, should see a boost in offensive production. Buy low.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey waiver wire pick of the week is.
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