Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. With Dakota off this week, The Wire Troll falls to your trusty (crusty?) editor.
It’s a short week again because of the All-Star festivities, where Ryan Johansen really lit it up. Meanwhile, the league is considering a Ryder-style event now that the World Cup of Hockey is returning.
Now let’s get to this week’s Fantasy hockey waiver wire recommendations.
Anton Forsberg, G, Columbus Blue Jackets (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): With Sergei Bobrovsky (groin) out at least a month, the Jackets are expected to summon Forsberg, the team’s seventh rounder from 2011. Forsberg, 22, has yet to pop up on the Fantasy landscape, so is somewhat of an unknown, but the Swede has good size (6′2″, 176) and was one of the AHL’s top goaltenders this season. He was up briefly with Columbus in early November, looking shaky in four periods (but based on the video below, we suspect he’ll be more prepared this time). This time, Forsberg will likely get an extended look, making him an intriguing waiver wire possibility for those seeking goaltender help. Curtis McElhinney, a journeyman career backup goalie, will also see more action for the Blue Jackets, but we’re not as bullish on his chances of emerging with value.
Michael Frolik, RW, Winnipeg Jets (ESPN: 14.5 per cent; CBS: 38 per cent): A former Stanley Cup winner with the Chicago Blackhawks, Frolik is now trying to bring that winning attitude to Winnipeg, and clearly it’s working, with the Jets entering the All-Star break on a five-game win streak to pull within two points of the Hawks in the standings. As we discussed last month, Frolik has developed some nice chemistry with Mathieu Perreault, and more recently the veteran has seen a nice uptick in PT, playing around 19.5 minutes in each of the last three games. Frolik has responded with two goals and four assists over the last seven games, in the process reaching double-digit goals for the second straight season. He’s a solid two-way player (+8) worthy of your attention while he’s getting extra ice time and is producing.
Anton Khubodin, G, Carolina Hurricanes (ESPN: 8.4 per cent; CBS: 29 per cent): Khubodin, who was in the top 130 in our Dynasty League Rankings, is really starting to outplay Cam Ward lately. On Monday, Khubodin was the first star, just missing a shutout as the Canes dumped the Leafs and marking the fifth straight start in which he came away with a W. He’s rhymed off seven straight starts with two goals against or less and has saved 95 per cent of the rubber directed at him in January. Khubodin is tied for 13th in the NHL in GAA, making him one of the better backups to own (although, at this rate, he may not be a backup for long).
Mark Stone, RW, Ottawa Senators (ESPN: 6.4 per cent; CBS: 25 per cent): Heading into last season, there was speculation that Stone would be on Ottawa’s top line, but that didn’t happen, as he got hurt and wound up bouncing up and down from the NHL to the AHL, spending just 19 games with the Sens. This season, however, he created excitement early on as part of all rookie line with Curtis Lazar and Mike Hoffman. Now on the top line, Stone has gotten better and better as the season has progressed and is currently on a seven-game point scoring streak. His ice time is increasing and he’s seeing time on the power play as he enjoys a breakout season. Grab Stone now and look for his play to continue to improve in the second half.
Mike Hoffman, C/LW, Ottawa Senators (ESPN: 10.5 per cent; CBS: 40 per cent): The aforementioned Hoffman was a waiver wire recommendation back in mid-November, and while his ownership has risen significantly since then, he remains widely available. On Wednesday, he was in on each of Ottawa’s first two goals, giving him three goals and two helpers in the last six games and five goals for the month. Hoffman is also enjoying a bust out for the Sens, having already reached 25 points after recording just a half dozen in 25 games last season. The speedster was rewarded with an invitation to this weekend’s Rookie Skills competition.
STUDS AND DUDS
“Studs and Duds” is our weekly segment about who was hot and who was not in Fantasy hockey in the previous week.
No. 1 Henrik Zetterberg, LW, Detroit Red Wings: Fueled by Sunday’s three-goal, one-assist explosion and Tuesday’s three-helper showing, Zetterberg now has four goals and eight points in the last three games. Those goals have come on just eight shots, helping his somewhat disappointing shooting percentage recover to 9.5 per cent for the season.
No. 2 Michael Hutchinson, G, Winnipeg Jets: Hutchinson capped a big week with a shutout of the Blue Jackets on Wednesday, earning first star for his efforts. This kid is now third in the NHL in GAA and second in save percentage. If for some reason, Hutchinson isn’t owned in your league, we advise rectifying that situation immediately.
No. 3 Jakub Voracek, RW, Philadelphia Flyers: The NHL’s scoring leader continues to rack up the assists, with four helpers in the past three games and as a bonus he accumulated 21 PM in the last two games, including a whopping 17 minutes on Tuesday as he showed he can handle himself without the gloves when he repeatedly pounded Rob Scuderi’s head. To top off his big week, Voracek tied the All-Star Game record with six points. Yup, this dude is good.
No. 1 Devan Dubnyk, G, Minnesota Wild: Yes, we just recommended Dubnyk last week, and apparently jinxed him in a big way. He was not sharp Monday, but that was nothing compared to Tuesday when he gave up four goals on 10 shots before mercifully being lifted from the game. Dubnyk’s save percentage with the ‘Yotes was .916, and has been 20 points lower with the Wild. Looks like he just blew his chance to take the Minnesota goaltending gig and run with it.
No. 2 Mike Smith, G, Arizona Coyotes: As we’ve discussed, Smith is struggling through his worst season ever. Unfortunately, that trend continued last week as he was shelled for six goals by Chicago on Tuesday. Smith is 0-4-1 in his last five starts and has already reached the 20-loss mark for just the second time in his career. Yuck.
No. 3 Jhonas Enroth, G, Buffalo Sabres: Enroth is back on our duds list for the second straight week and third time in four weeks. He again only made one appearance — but made it count by getting ripped for a half dozen goals on just 26 shots last Sunday against Detroit. That’s 18 goals against in Enroth’s last three games as he’s already shattered his career high with 105 goals against for the season.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey waiver wire pick of the week is.