Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. We’ve now reached Groundhog Day, so it’s time to pull your head out of the snow and reach down real deep to deliver a knock out blow to your opponents.
This week, the NHL has announced that for the first time, it will celebrate Black History Month; red-hot David Perron has landed on the IR for the Blues; and Antoine Vermette, who ranks 14th all-time in faceoffs won, has officially retired at the age of 36 after 14 seasons.
And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy hockey waiver wire recommendations…
Casey Mittelstadt, C, Buffalo Sabres (ESPN: 49.4 per cent; CBS: 30 per cent): The Sabres are no longer doormats thanks to all the fine young talent that is now contributing in the NHL, but one player that more was expected from is Mittelstadt. However, Buffalo’s 2017 first rounder is finally coming into his own with a goal, two assists and a +1 rating over the last five games. The fact that he Mittelstadt was more productive in January despite playing fewer games is a great sign. He’s certainly been stellar in shootouts (2-for-4), but given his overall production this season, perhaps Buffalo jumped the gun by giving him an entry level deal after just one year in college. Still, Middelstadt has top line potential with his dynamic offensive abilities. This may be your last chance to buy low on a dude that already sounds like a vet (see video below).
Antti Niemi, G, Montreal Canadiens (ESPN: 1.3 per cent; CBS: 5 per cent): With Carey Price serving a one-game suspension, Niemi will start on Saturday, making him an intriguing DFS play against the Devils and their middling offense. Niemi hasn’t been as sharp as he was with the Habs last season, but he does have a sub-3.00 GAA at home and had looked very good in three straight starts before the resurgent Flyers torched him his last time in net. Hey, at least someone thinks he’s worth a hell of a lot, as you can see in the Tweet below.
The disrespect towards Antti Niemi. pic.twitter.com/uXi2vAYZAE
— Noix JouleSon (@AbsCoverage) February 2, 2019
- Patrick Kane continued his career domination over the Sabres on Friday with four points — reaching the 900-point plateau in the process. In eight career games in Buffalo, he has seven goals and six assists. More importantly, Kane is red hot right now, with a 10 game point-scoring streak (9-16-25) to move into second place in NHL scoring.
- Despite ripping six shots on net on Friday, Victor Hedman had his three-game (2-3-5) point streak snapped. Still, he scored the only goal in a 1-0 shootout win, and is now 3-for-3 in shootout attempts this season.
- After a great start to the season, Jason Pominville went icy cold in late-November and hasn’t really been able to snap out of it. However, he opened February with his 11th goal of the season, so still has a crack at his first 20-goal campaign since 2013-14.
- Thomas Greiss hit a rough patch at the end of December/beginning of January, but has been scorching since, recording back-to-back shutouts. He’s already matched his start total from 2017-18 while enjoying a tremendous bounce back this season.
- Viktor Arvidsson sure shook off his broken thumb nicely. He fired two goals and went +3 Friday, giving him 13 points in 13 games since returning. Despite the injury, Arvidsson should easily set a new career high in goals this season.
- Is Travis Sanheim now the best defenceman on the Flyers? He scored the overtime winner and added an assist on Thursday for red-hot Philly, giving him three points over the last five games with a +4 rating. Sanheim has already set career highs across the board as he settles in for a big finish to his breakout season.
- Jonathan Huberdeau scored Friday, giving him points in two straight as he attempts to complete his first season at better than a point per game pace. A slow January (five points in 10 games) hurt his chances, but this month has started promisingly.
- Brad Marchand’s penalty in overtime cost the Bruins the game on Thursday, but he did log an assist, giving him points in six straight (3-7-10). He’s on pace for his first 90-point season.
- Nick Bjugstad didn’t waste any time making an impact on his new team, picking up an assist and going +2 in his first game with Pittsburgh. He was having a disappointing season, but now has points in three of his last four games.
- Colorado centre Nathan MacKinnon (foot) will return to action Saturday as he continues his surge towards his first 100-point season.
- Ottawa right winger Bobby Ryan is enjoying a nice bounce back season. With three goals in his last four games, he’s now on pace for his first 20-goal effort since 2015-16.
- Washington is in a serious skid right now, but don’t blame Alex Ovechkin. In his last two games, he has four goals and an assist, putting him on pace for the second 60-goal season of his career. At the age of 33, OV is now exactly 250 shy of matching Wayne’s Gretzky’s all-time record of 894 career goals.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
English singer Peter Gabriel has been creating musical genius since the late 1960s. In 1992, he recorded his sixth studio album, Us, and the second single was “Steam.”
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Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey pickup of the week is.