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The Wire Troll: NHL Returns Crazier Than Ever

January 28, 2013 | By Chris Wassel | comment on this post
Michael Grabner is off to a sweet start for the New York Islanders.
Michael Grabner did a number on the Toronto Maple Leafs the other night.

After what felt like nearly a full season hiatus (it was actually nine months), we are back in the hockey saddle again. To say that there have been a lot of changes is a bit of an understatement. Obviously the season is shorter and already there are waiver pickups to be had. With just 13 weeks left in this shortened sprint, Fantasy owners just have to realize that adaptation is so essential.

We are playing the percentages and hoping to deliver a few players that will pay dividends for your Fantasy bottom line. Also, if you have questions, kindly toss them on the RotoRob Facebook page or at the bottom in the comments section.

When researching the data this week, it became pretty clear that Fantasy hockey owners are in a clear panic mode or at least it appears that way. Again, keep in mind that most head to head leagues only have a 10 or 11 weeks regular season schedule. For points and rotisserie leagues, there are still 13 weeks to go. This has to be emphasized over and over again.

Now let’s take a look at those waiver wires recommendations.

Michael Grabner, RW, New York Islanders: Yes, Grabner really is available in a whole bunch of leagues. I understand that his finishing ability was compromised heavily last season but to see him owned in only 7 per cent of Yahoo leagues and less than 25 per cent across the board in all leagues is a little bit surprising. In a sense, Grabner is scoring the goals that John Tavares isn’t. Yes, Tavares has failed to score yet and Grabner has three after a week. Welcome to shortened season oddities.

Daniel Winnik, LW, Anaheim Ducks: This is a tough one because you have to wonder whether the third line in Anaheim will play this well for even the next few weeks, let alone the season. The answer is likely “no,” but you never know. Winnik gets a good amount of shots on net (he has 200-shot potential over an 82-game season). With Andrew Cogliano on his side, it is a nice combination of speed and power with hands. Winnik had five goals in Week One and though a regression is a given, he will score some goals in deep leagues. He is an add at less than 5 per cent ownershipp across the board (1 per cent in Yahoo).

Curtis Glencross, LW, Calgary Flames: Fantasy owners were not sure what to make of the season Glencross had in 2011-12, so naturally he picks up right off where he left off with a five-point week. This is not a fluke. Glencross can play and if he keeps getting more and more opportunities, he is going to be worth the pickup all season long. Let’s see what he can do this week, but something tells us he is worth at least a depth pick.

Sami Salo, D, Tampa Bay Lightning: Yes, his defensive skills probably have eroded some but all that time on Tampa’s power play unit has to help those power play assists and points. Ironically, Salo was a +8 in the opening week and that is a stunner in and of itself considering he was just +7 last season. Pundits in Vancouver openly criticized his play on the defensive side of the ice. If he can even hold up some on the +/-, Salo is well worth a pick considering he is available in at least four out of every five leagues. Get on it while you can!

Thomas Greiss, G, San Jose Sharks: This is our guy to keep an eye on as the season moves along. Greiss is worth the occasional start as San Jose has a good team in front of its goaltenders and that helps Fantasy stats. Padding the bottom line is good here. If Antti Niemi falters at all, Greiss will get more starts because he definitely worked out a ton in the offseason and it shows.

Ice Chips

  • Colin Greening, a Wire Troll pick just over a year ago, scored his first of the season Sunday for the Sens’ only tally of the day. He’s already +3 and saw more ice time Sunday, taking the spot of a sick Daniel Alfredsson on the Jason Spezza-Milan Michalek line — Greening’s old troika. If Greening gets to stick with those linemates, he’ll quickly gain Fantasy favour again.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Ben Lovejoy made his season debut Friday, replacing Simon Despres. While Lovejoy held his own in the 4-2 loss Friday in Winnipeg, he was on the ice for the only goal against Sunday and wound up seeing less ice time in the shootout win. He had a paltry five points last season, and is still seeking his first offensive contribution of 2013. If you’re in a massive league, pay attention. Otherwise, take a pass despite his fun sounding moniker. There’s a reason why Lovejoy’s in his fifth NHL season yet has failed to show up on the Fantasy radar.

Well, that is it for now. See you next week for more fun tidbits and pick up possibilities here on The Wire Troll.

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