It’s been another great week of Fantasy hockey with surprise sleepers and studs lurking around every corner. Here at RotoRob.com, we’ve adjusted our teams and suggest you do, too.
Cedric Paquette, C, Tampa Bay Lightning (ESPN: 2.0 per cent; CBS: 5 per cent): A little known youngster within the Bolts’ organization, Paquette officially had his coming out party last week with five goals (including a hat trick) in three games, racking up a plus-5 rating, a shorthanded point, two game-winning goals, 11 shots on goal, 17 face-offs won, five hits and three blocks in the process. The Gaspe, Quebec native (who is now a hero in his former junior city — see video below) could potentially be on pace for a 20-goal season as he currently has 10 goals, 16 points and a plus-5 rating in 41 games.
While Paquette’s total points are a little underwhelming, all signs are pointing to a potential bursting of the dam, so to speak. The Lightning’s fourth round pick in 2012 is currently on a four-game point streak with five goals and six points in that span. He had an assist while playing just two games with Tampa Bay last season, but was a great first year pro with the club’s top minor league affiliate in Syracuse, collecting 20 goals and 44 points in 70 games. With four goals and seven points in five games with the Crunch this season, it was clear Paquette was ready for the NHL, and he seems to be vindicating that notion.
Still, there are much better Fantasy options on the wire, but keep a close eye on this one as he has the potential to explode into a legitimate force.
Rickard Rakell, C, Anaheim Ducks (ESPN: 1.1 per cent; CBS: 5 per cent): We listed Rakell as a potential waiver wire candidate a few weeks ago, and he’s been backing us up with solid play. In three games in Week 16, the young Swede managed to put up two goals, four points, a plus-2 rating, two power play points, seven shots on goal, 12 face-offs won, a hit and a block. He has five goals, 17 points and a plus-2 rating in 39 games this season.
Patrick Eaves, RW, Dallas Stars (ESPN: 1 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): Eaves has been impressive since returning from an ankle injury. In three games back, he has two goals, three points, three power play points, 10 shots on goal, seven hits and two blocked shots while skating alongside Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. In total, Eaves has five goals, 11 points and a plus-3 rating in 22 games this season.
Alexei Emelin, D, Montreal Canadiens (ESPN: 8.5 per cent; CBS: 19 per cent): Looking for an extra defenseman or a fourth defender in a league with a lot of teams? Emelin may be just the guy. In Week 16, he had a goal, two points, a plus-3 rating, 17 penalty minutes, a shot on goal, seven hits and two blocks. He has two goals, 13 points and a plus-7 rating in 46 games this season.
Aleksander Barkov, C, Florida Panthers (ESPN: 7.7 per cent; CBS: 29 per cent): Florida may have just four wins in its past 10 games, but that is not Barkov’s fault. The league’s second overall pick in 2013 has been a beast since Christmas, scoring three goals and 10 points in his last 11 games. In Week 16, the Finn had a goal, four points, a minus-1 rating, two power play points, nine shots on goal, 17 face-offs won, two hits and two blocked shots. He may have just five goals and 15 points through 36 games this season, but it looks like he might be about to pile them up in bunches soon.
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. In a very unusual turn of events, two defensemen made our “Studs” list this week. As it turns out, they were pretty darn good.
No. 1. Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens: You’ll have to pay a hefty, uh, price (we seriously had no intentions with this pun when we started this sentence) to get this guy in your Fantasy league, but he’s worth it without a doubt. Yahoo’s fifth-ranked Fantasy hockey player had three wins, a 0.66 save percentage, a .980 save percentage and two shutouts in three appearances in Week 16.
No. 2. John Klingberg, D, Dallas Stars: Klingberg made our Wire Troll earlier this season, and once again, he proved just how valuable he can be with three goals, six points, a plus-1 rating, two penalty minutes, four power play points, a game-winning goal, eight shots on goal, a hit and a blocked shot. In total this season, the young Swede has nine goals, 24 points and a plus-9 rating in 35 games played. Klingberg currently ranks sixth in scoring amongst NHL rookies this season and stands just four points behind Florida’s Aaron Ekblad for the lead among rookie blueliners.
No. 3. Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins: Letang gave everyone a scare last season when he suffered a stroke. However, it looks like he’s quickly put that in the past. In three games in Week 16, Letang collected seven assists, a plus-2 rating, four penalty minutes, three power play points, eight shots on goal, six hits and three blocks. He assisted on all five goals scored by the Penguins in a win over Winnipeg on Tuesday.
No. 1. Michael Hutchinson, G, Winnipeg Jets: After five straight wins, the soaring Jets then dropped three straight, including a nine-goal against, 4.62 goals against average and .857 save percentage effort in the latter two losses. Never fear, Hutchinson will bounce back quite soon.
No. 2. Ilya Bryzgalov, G, Anaheim Ducks: The thing our NHL Editor really loves about Bryzgalov is his zeal for life and the fact that he knows there’s more to living than hockey. That said, Bryzgalov might want to, you know, actually get out and practice at least once during the offseason. Yeesh, but “why you heff to be mad?” Because his Fantasy owners aren’t thrilled with six goals against, a 9.97 goals against average and a .760 save percentage in just 36:07 of game time last week. Still, we’re fans of the “Bryzzly Bear!”
No. 3. Roberto Luongo, G, Florida Panthers: Luongo could have had a better return from the 2015 All-Star Game. In three appearances, the Panthers’ top netminder allowed nine goals in the process of collecting one win, a 3.58 goals against average and an .857 save percentage.
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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