Ryan Murphy’s upside is through the roof. (Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SM)
Halloween is on Thursday so the goal at The Wire Troll this week is to scare ourselves by going even deeper in our quest to bring you moderate to high reward from relatively low risk players. The first month will be in the books by the end of the week and yes, it’s been crazy with all the injuries, but we’re here to try to help the Fantasy hockey owner soldier on.
At this point, plugging holes is the utmost priority. It was not easy to come up with five players under 5 per cent ownership, but damn we tried our best. Let’s see what we’ve cooked up in this week’s edition.
Ryan Murphy, D, Carolina Hurricanes: When we released our Defenseman Rankings prior to the season, we said that Murphy could be a factor, and there’s no doubt he has talent. The youngster saw almost 25 minutes per game in a back-to-back situation and — better yet — he held his own. The five points in 10 games (including his first NHL goal a week ago that you can relive in the video below) is just a bonus. The Hurricanes are going to have to play the kid because of injuries so that means good Fantasy opportunities. Is he a 40-point player? We don’t have that answer, but we do know Murphy has first defensive pairing upside. That is the bottom line in Fantasy. Just expect a few growing pains here and there.
Craig Smith, RW, Nashville Predators: Smith has seven points? Does Chewbacca live on Endor? Okay, that does not make sense and yet here we are. Smith is getting limited time but is making the most of it. He has 34 shots in 11 games while playing almost 15 minutes per game. If you are desperate and you need a player cheap with little risk, Smith may be your guy. The key is how much power play time he receives. The fact that Barry Trotz is his coach is honestly problematic in that regard.
R.J. Umberger, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets: Umberger is never going to be a first line player or widely owned in Fantasy leagues, but he provides decent scoring punch. This is another under five per cent guy and he might even be a fringe top six guy, but in the meantime, he will get you points. Umberger may be a bit streaky, but as a third or fourth LW, that is not a bad option.
David Legwand, C, Nashville Predators: Legwand may be a bit of a bust as far as a draft pick, but for Fantasy purposes, he is actually a bit undervalued considering he plays for the Predators. Six assists and seven points in 11 games is pretty solid and though St. Louis thumped the Preds pretty good, that doesn’t take away from the fact that Legwand is a decent depth centre. This is a lukewarm buy, at least right now. Please use him only as a fourth centre.
Joel Ward, RW, Washington Capitals: The problem is Ward should have more than six points, but he has missed at least a half dozen glorious chances. However, when you’re digging this far down the waiver wire, you have to expect guys that do not always finish. Ward plays with some top talent on Washington’s league-leading power play which features Alex Ovechkin among others. If you’re desperate, take a shot on Ward. What have you got to lose?
As always you can follow me @ChrisWasselTHW on Twitter. Good luck in your Fantasy leagues this week.
Now it’s your turn. In the comments below, tell us who your favourite waiver wire pick of the week is.