For some time now the most talked about injury a player suffered in hockey has been the dreaded concussion. Well, this season we’ve got a new injury de jour, and it’s the broken finger. Everyone is breaking their freakin’ digits this season; Victor Hedman, Sergei Bobrovsky and Ben Lovejoy are all down for various amounts of time with broken fingers and yesterday Torey Krug and James Wisniewski joined the club with broken a finger each. Krug is out for two to three weeks and Wisniewski is out for one to two weeks. Mark Letestu figured Wiz was going to be lonely on IR so he pulled his groin and joins the IR crew himself for at least a few weeks, but who owns Letestu anyway? Hey, speaking of concussions, both T.J. Oshie and David Backes are both down with concussions with of course no time table for their return. As per the standard procedure both are out for at least a week at which time they’ll be evaluated and if they show no post concussion syndrome symptoms they can be cleared to play, otherwise they’re down for another week until they are reevaluated by team doctors and show no symptoms. Yay. So they’re basically week-to-week. Is the entire St. Louis roster week-to-week now or what? Regardless, these aren’t the only injuries, they’re just the most recent and you know what that means? To the waiver wire we go!

Justin Abdelkader (Yahoo – 22%, ESPN – 22.6 %, CBS – 30%) – Abs is a must own in most leagues while he plays on the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Even when he wasn’t, he was getting time with Gustav Nyquist, which isn’t the worst place to be, either. Not only is he on the Wings’ top line, he’s also on their top power play unit as well so the opportunities for him to keep potting those goals will stay strong for the time being.

Nikita Kucherov (Yahoo – 21%, ESPN – 24.6%, CBS – 53%) – Nikita has blown the eff up over the last three games and should be owned everywhere after dominating in the preseason. Yeah, preseason doesn’t mean much when the show starts, but add that performance to what he’s doing now and realize he’s on a line with Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson and you’ve got yourself a recipie for success for the rest of the season. Kucherov might flame out, but he’s showing no signs of that happening right now, so why don’t you own him?

Andre Burakovsky (Yahoo – 21%, ESPN – 38%, CBS – 58%) – You know he’s playing on the top line with Ovi now. What more do you need to know? More? Well I’ve been talking about the dude since earlier this week, more? I talked about him last week in my post Andre Burakovsky Is The Real Deal, and since I wrote that he was promoted to the first line with Ovi. Did I mention he’s on the first line with Ovi now?

Tommy Wingels (Yahoo – 32%, ESPN – 66.8%, CBS – 49%) – I love Pickles, man. Not just the tasty snack food, but the player, this player, this guy right here. Wingels might be the least of the Sharks’ top six but that’s a pretty solid top six, so it’s all relative. I doubt that the goals keep coming but Wingels also hits everything he sees and takes a faceoff or two to boot.

Ray Emery (Yahoo – 30%, ESPN – 46.4%, CBS – 33%) – Normally I would never recommend adding Emery, but times are tough and dude is performing. Not surprisingly Steven Mason hasn’t just struggled out of the gate, he’s Steve Masoned out of the gate to the tune of 0-3-1/3.83/.878 so far. By contrast, Emery sports a season line of 4-0-1/2.44/.924 and despite his injury woes and the rest, that can’t be ignored. If Emery is on your wire and you just lost Sergei Bobrovsky to the broken finger bug, you might as well ride Emery while he’s hot.

Marco Scandella (Yahoo – 5%, ESPN – 12%, CBS – 16%) – I would imagine most don’t know who Scandella is or forgot about him at this point. Really, he’s a lot better than most people give him credit for, though after suffering a concussion to start his season in 2014 and seemingly never fully recovering, he sure looks good now. A key piece to the Wilds offensive game is getting more scoring from their rearguards and Scandella has a nose for the net and a hell of a shot. If you lost one of the billion defensemen that have gone down with broken fingers Scandella is a solid option. You might even want to keep him in your lineup once you get your starters back.

Charlie Coyle (Yahoo – 7%, ESPN – 4.3%, CBS – 31%) – There’s a reason that the Wild signed Coyle to a five year extension and it isn’t because of his sparkling personality, though I’m sure he’s a nice guy. Coyle has skills to spare and it just so happens you’re in the market for some skills or you wouldn’t be reading this. Coyle has three points in his last four games and is currently the second line pivot. He’s also seeing time on the power play centering the second unit so more points are in the works, do you want to leave them on the wire to be lost to the ether, or worse, some other manager in your league? I sure don’t.

Michael Raffl (Yahoo – 3%, ESPN – 1.2%, CBS – 15%) – It was a question if anyone would really lock down the open slot on the top line for the Flyers, but it seems Raffl has cemented the slot on along side Claude Giroux and Jacob Voracek for now. He’s potted five goals in nine games so far and that matches Alex Ovechkin for goal production, so he’s clearly the next Ovi! Or he’s worth owning in deeper leagues while he plays on that line.

Blake Comeau (Yahoo – 2%, ESPN – 0.1%, CBS – 8%) – Here’s where we start scraping the bottom of the barrel, but if you want to win you can’t be playing for appearances, you feel me? A win’s a win, regardless of how you got there, so if you have to go to the well, dig deep and find value. Comeau has spent his career with virtually no fantasy value, until now. He currently plays on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Pascal Dupuis and anyone who plays with Geno is going to get a bump in value. So far Comeau has six points in eight games and while he’s likely to fall off sooner than later, if you’re looking for a flier for points in a deep league, anyone on Geno’s line is a good bet.

Scott Darling (Yahoo – 6%, ESPN – 0.8%, CBS – 4%) – It seems like Darling would be going back down to the AHL when starter Corey Crawford returns from his injury this week, but it’s not a foregone conclusion after Darling’s solid play of late. Backup Antti Raanta has a two-way deal so he can be sent down without having to clear waivers. That opens up an intriguing possibility for Darling who has clearly outplayed Raanta. In deep leagues goalies are hard to come by, so it couldn’t hurt to take a flier on Darling before we find out who is going where for the Hawks. Worst-case scenario is you drop him for whomever if he gets sent down, best case you beat the rush if he is retained and Raanta is sent packing.

Seth Griffith (Yahoo – 5%, ESPN – 1.3%, CBS – 10%) – The Bruins are getting rocked by injury but they’re pretty well stacked with young talent to fill the void while their starters heal up. Griffith isn’t one of those guys, he’s actually a guy who earned a spot on the top line with Milan Lucic and David Krecji. Griffith has five points in seven games and recently potted two goals and added an assist against the Wild. He’s seeing some time on the second power play unit as well, so there’s opportunity for him, and you, to seize here.

  1. Dumpster fire says:
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    Thanks again for some more great insight. I need a LW eligible forward in a standard head to head yahoo league, and all of them this list (Abdelkader, Kucherov, Burakovski, Raffl) are available. Abdelkader is my first thought, but I haven’t watched Kucherof or Burakovski play too much yet this year. Do you have a favorite?

  2. Lenard says:
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    Not JD, obviously, but I would grab Abdelkader since he’s playing with Zetterberg and Datsyuk and getting PP time with them. Abs is also a post-hype sleeper and may be ready to make the jump on his own, as well.

    Burakovsky playing with Ovi could be/will be a big boost for him depending on how long it lasts. He’s got all the skills to be a first line forward (needs to work on his faceoffs/defensive game if he is to remain at center long-term) and has played against men before in the SEL two years ago so I wouldn’t worry too much about a wear down, at least until very late in the season.

    I really think Kucherov is clicking with his linemates but I think he has a lower ceiling this year than the two guys above.

    • Lenard says:
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      @Lenard: A reply to Dumper Fire, obviously

    • Dumpster fire says:
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      @Lenard: thanks, i think you’re right, I went with Abdelkader. I watched him at Michigan State and have always liked his game. Glad to see the production start to pick up for him too. Filppula just hit waivers in my league for some reason too, which is tempting after watching the game agains Philly tonight.

      • @Dumpster fire: I picked up Kucherov, but Callahan may be back for Saturday’s game against the Caps and they are both RW. Not sure if that bumps Kucherov off the second line? Brett Connolly is still out. Not sure he keeps this up if he gets bumped to the third line with Cedric Paquette and Vladislav Namestnikov.

        • JD

          JD says:
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          I really doubt the Bolts will break up Palat/Johnson/Kucherov while they’re clicking. Drouin has been spending the majority of his time on the 4th line with Cedric Paquette and Vladislav Namestnikov and his ice time has dropped considerably from around 20 minutes a game to 12ish. Kucherov was the right grab.

      • JD

        JD says:
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        Watched him at Michigan State did you say? Go Green! I’m a big fan of Abs this season, he’s the muscle on the top line for the Wings but he’s going to get his playing with Z and Dats, so good call there. I’d have said Abs or Kucherov. Flip is worth adding, too.

    • JD

      JD says:
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      Yes to all of what Lenard said.

  3. Bradlee Smith NO GOAL says:
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    damn every guy owned in the RCL league ….

    • JD

      JD says:
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      Hah, yeah. The RCL is a deep pool this year, not for the faint of heart. My defense is crushed under the weight of injuries and domestic violence 🙁

  4. Sixty-Eight says:
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    I drafted a 16 team, 25 man roster keeper league this fall. I drafted Kucherov and Clarkson as starting RW. You should see that WW. Although you can find a back up goalie at least. The RCL goalie situation really bites.

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