Charlie Lindgren has generally looked good since taking over as the Habs’ goalie. (Sportingnews.com)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. We’re into mid-November now, and having recently passed the Hockey Hall of Fame induction (and its superb class this year) ceremony, we are well into the season. Keep your fingers on the pulse of the waiver wire, peeps.
This week, the Leafs got great news as Auston Matthews (upper body) practiced and while he sat again Thursday, he’s getting closer to return, which is great news for his owners and those that like to bet on Canadian NHL teams; Jonathan Huberdeau shook off an illness to fire two power play goals to help the Panthers to a victory on Tuesday; and Sidney Crosby on Tuesday ended his slump with his first goal in 11 games, adding a helper as Pittsburgh continued its red hot home play.
And now let’s get to this week’s Fantasy hockey waiver wire recommendations…
Charlie Lindgren, G, Montreal Canadiens (ESPN: 30.6 per cent; CBS: 36 per cent): With both Carey Price (lower body) and Al Montoya (concussion) currently out, Lindgren has been the man between the pipes for the Habs, expected to make his seventh straight start on Saturday at home against Toronto. Lindgren had actually been looking very good before getting slapped around on Thursday, so his GAA took a hit there. Before that game, the decently sized (6′2″) netminder had a 1.39 GAA and .957 save percentage over his first five appearances, but now he has a tough matchup against a hot Leafs squad. Still, as long as Price remains out, Lindgren is someone you want to add, even if he is playing behind a shit show of a defense corps that will often create messes for him (see video below).
Anders Lindback, G, Nashville Predators (ESPN: NA; CBS: unowned): Lindback has been recalled to the Preds with backup goalie Juuse Saros getting sent down so he can get some PT. Lindback was with the Coyotes last season, managing to earn five wins despite a poor GAA and lacklustre save percentage. Now he returns to the NHL with the team he got his start with way back in 2010-11. Lindback has been lights out in the AHL, and while he’s unlikely to see much action with Pekka Rinne firmly entrenched in the Preds net, you never know how things will go. Having never received even 25 games in a season, Lindback is clearly a No. 2, but keep him on your radar.
Gustav Nyquist, C, Detroit Red Wings (ESPN: 33.1 per cent; CBS: 39 per cent): Although Nyquist was shut out Friday, you get the sense the slow starter is on the cusp of a breakout. He ripped six shots on goal (two on breakaways) and played over 20 minutes — his most ice time since October 10. Nyquist is still looking to rediscover the scoring touch that saw him score 28 goals in just 57 games in 2013-14, but he was even +/- on a bad team last season and managed to rip 165 shots (alhtough a poor shooting percentage cost him). That has normalized so far this season, so if he keeps shooting like Friday, the puck will start going in. Buy low while you can, but just don’t expect the centre to help your faceoff numbers. He took until Wednesday to get his first faceoff win of the season (having taken just four draws all season).
Alexander Kerfoot, C/RW, Colorado Avalanche (ESPN: 19.1 per cent; CBS: 29 per cent): Kerfoot was shut out Thursday, but had poured in four goals and three assists over the previous four games. The rookie, acquired a couple of weeks ago in the Matt Duchense deal, has looked superb since arriving in Colorado, so is looking like a must-add. The fact that Kerfoot qualifies at both centre and wing is a nice bonus.
Brandon Carlo, D, Boston Bruins (ESPN: 3.6 per cent; CBS: 14 per cent): Carlo saw a boost in PT with Torey Krug (upper body) out of action Thursday. Carlo played over 20 minutes and recorded four penalty minutes, giving him 10 minutes over the last four games. Krug could be out again Saturday, setting up Carlo for another extended workload. Carlo showed some playmaking potential as a rookie, and looks like he’ll build on that this season. He’s also proved very durable so far in his young career.
Yanni Gourde, LW/RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (ESPN: 22.7 per cent; CBS: 42 per cent): After a strong Corsi showing last season, Gourde is a shade under 50 per cent early on, but is making up for that with plenty of helpers and a sweet +10 rating. In fairness, he’s playing on the Lightning’s shut-down line so is forced to match up against the opponent’s best players. On Thursday, Gourde played over 21:30, and if that continues, he’ll be studly.
Mattias Ekholm, D, Nashville Predators (ESPN: 32.4 per cent; CBS: 46 per cent): Ekholm has found his scoring touch, recording a goal and an assist in back-to-back games while going a combined +3. The goal on Thursday was a shorty, the second of his career. Ekholm, who first donned a Pred uni in 2011-12, has seen his ice time increase every season and is now averaging over 25 minutes. He’s proved very durable, and while his offense slipped last season after a 35-point breakout in 2015-16, he’s on pace for 50 points this season. We’d just like to see him improve that even plus/minus rating, but this week went a long way towards addressing that.
Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa Senators (ESPN: 6.6 per cent; CBS: 11 per cent): Although he’s seen a bit less ice time in recent games, Ceci is likely to see more minutes with Chris Wideman (hamstring) out for several weeks. Ceci has been quiet offensively of late, and after scoring 10 goals in 2015-16, last season was a disappointment. But he’s already matched his goal total from last season, he pitches in with some blocked shots and hits, and is seeing a bit of PP time with the second unit. Ceci is a decent deep league option with some potential upside, although he could play a smarter game.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey waiver wire pick of the week is.