Marv: Welcome back everyone, well to the six guys and one girl who read our Buy/Sell articles. I have to say it has been a pretty interesting start to the season. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, well you clearly are not taking advantage of Viz’s daily recaps & articles. The guy has something up almost every day. So what’s your plan? Do you want to win your league or just contribute to someone else’s winnings each year?
Oh yeah, can you feel it coming on? I feel a rant brewing, bubbling, I probably won’t be able to keep it in much longer…
Let’s talk about fantasy GM’s who have not updated their lineup. This is even more important in a keeper league and leagues with actual money on the line. If you’re in a fun league or a free office pool, you don’t have to chew the guy out, but in money leagues and especially in H2H leagues, pay attention and feel free to rip on the GM who takes weeks off at a time. I’m mostly frustrated in my H2H leagues as I’m trying to fight for first and someone is jumping ahead of me because they’re playing “Bob the no update guy”, and he’s asleep at the wheel. It really doesn’t matter that much right now, but when I see that malarkey happening come the last couple weeks of playoffs, I lose it. Not only that, but “Bob’s” team always seems to be updated around trade deadline and he pulls off these ridiculous trades (as in he gets taken, because he hasn’t paid any attention all year). Oh and who is his trade partner? The one deal he opened that day with my main competitor! Not every league has this guy, but I’ve seen my fair share, and sometimes there is 2 “Bobs” (the worst). Best thing, get some fresh blood next season and move on. I know I’m ranting and I think at some point were all guilty of it, ahem Team Marv in Gordon Bombay’s Champions. To be fair, my 7th league in total, and it was a test to see if I can go from worst to first (pause to make sure people believe that).
Pesos, what is grinding your gears this week?
Pesos: I can’t be the only one who doesn’t fully understand why GM’s do what they do, right? The waiver wire in the NHL, at times, boggles my mind. The Leafs recently put Mark Arcobello on waivers. To most people, this is a meaningless move from a cellar dwelling team. What I don’t understand is that not a single team in the league picked him up! He’s not a stud but he can produce and is easily better than what a lot of teams have in their bottom 6 yet no one took him on. I guess one could say his salary doesn’t necessarily warrant a claim but he can produce. I fully understand, for the most part, why a team would waive such players but I can’t understand why they go unclaimed. Oh well, that’s my rant.
Now, here are some players you shouldn’t miss and some you probably should send packing on your waiver wire.
If I don’t ADD them, someone else will
Jonathan Drouin LW [48% Owned]
Marv: How? What? Oh the guy is injured. But still, dropped to the point where I get to talk about him in a 50% owned or less? I’m pretty surprised to see Drouin available on this list, even with the injury. The guy plays on a line with Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan. I get it, 6 points in his first 10 games is nothing to write home about but neither has the entire Lightning team play either (and based on their initial play, the 6 points doesn’t look so bad, pretty nice actually). I think this recent drop in percentage works to your advantage if you’re in one of the leagues where he has been dropped to the wire. When the Lightning pick things up (12 games in, still early) the major point production/special teams points will be generated from the top 2 lines, which means Drouin’s points will also go up. Pick him up.
Nick Bjugstad C [46% Owned]
Pesos: Florida is surprising people. They’re good. Lots of young talent mixed with a veteran goalie who can stop the puck better than most. That’s a great combination. The fact that over 50% of pools don’t have Bjugstad on a roster is crazy. Seven points in 11 games, 51.6% in the dot all while getting around 16 mins of ice time a night. Pick him up quickly.
Michael Hutchinson G [40% Owned]
Marv: Coming off a 3-1, 45 save win against the Blackhawks (Oct 29th) I’m pretty shocked that Hutchinson is available in a little over 60% of pools. In four games this season Hutch has 4 wins, 1.75 GAA and a .949 saves %. Yes, Ondrej Pavelec is the starter, but with the numbers Hutch is putting up, he could start eating into more and more starts. With Pavelec starting with a so-so 3-3-1, I could see Paul Maurice giving Hutchinson additional starts, especially after the latest win against the Blackhawks. Did I mention he stopped 45 of 46 shots?
Pesos: Little premature on that. He was lit up by the Canadians on Sunday. Four goals on nine shots, 0.556 SV%.
Marv: Can we just pretend Sunday’s game did not happen? Ouch.
Mikko Koivu C [39% Owned]
Marv: Ok fine Koivu, I’ll pay attention to you. For some reason Koivu never gets the attention he deserves. On Friday he had a 3 assist night with the 5-4 win over the Blackhawks. This season Koivu is quietly putting together a nice start to the season with 3 goals and 8 assists. What’s nice is looking at his full line that includes +4 rating, 3 power play points, 1 shorthanded point and throw in 2 penalty minutes.
Pesos: Have to say I’m somewhat surprised with Koivu’s point production. Great in the dot, PPG player through 11 games, and averaging almost 20 mins a night make him worth the pick-up if he’s available.
Cam Ward G [38% Owned]
Marv: Yeah I know, everyone’s hanging out in the cool treehouse, and I show up with Cam Ward. Then I have to spend the next hour trying to convince the group to just let him stay. Well guess what, I don’t really like Cam Ward either, but his mom gave me $10 to hang out with him and he brought the nudy mags. Over his first 9 starts, he has a 4-4-0 record, 2.25 GAA and a .912 save percentage. Not too bad, but what entices me is the back to back wins he had in his last two starts versus Detroit and Colorado. If you need help in the crease or have an empty bench spot and are looking at tenders, he’s great value add here, available in over 60% of pools. Update: Ok so not the best game versus Tampa with 27 saves out of 31 in total, but to give him credit, his defense did not help him out much. Dude, I brought you to the treehouse and you do me like this. I still think you can use him this year.
Pesos: Cam Ward is overrated. Yeah, I said it. Since winning the Cup in 2006, he’s been praised yet he’s been mediocre at best since then. Now, if you’re picking him up to replace an injured starter on your roster, then okay but don’t get him thinking you’re going to make a charge up the standings. He’ll get you starts if he stays healthy but that’s about all he’s going to provide. Lack is the future there and before the season is out, Ward will be warming the bench more often than not.
Michal Neuvirth G [25% Owned]
Marv: Some owners dropped Neuvirth when he was injured and he’s now available in 75% of pools. At the same time, I’m also looking at Reto Berra, I see him out there too, but with Steve Mason playing the way he is (2-3-2) I see more potential & more games going to Neuvirth than I’ll get from Berra under Seymon Varlamov (especially after Berra’s last game, where he gave up 4 goals on 28 shots for the loss versus Florida).
Nazem Kadri C [23% Owned]
Pesos: Not sure Kadri is in the “ADD” column for me. He’s getting top mins but he’s not really producing. Five points in ten games isn’t something to write home about. Sure, the Leafs are terrible offensively but Kadri is getting top line mins and top PP with a 30 goal scorer yet is averaging 0.50 PPG.
Jason Zucker LW,RW [13% Owned]
Marv: Has really started to heat up with points in his last 6 games, with 3 goals and 4 assists. He plays on a line with Nino Niederreiter and Mikko Koivu and is on the second line power play. With Koivu quietly having a nice start to his season, and Nino not far behind. Look for Zucker to be given ample chances to keep the hot streak alive. He’s one you will need to keep your eye on though as I feel you can pick him up for his hot streak, but expect some cold streaks along the way as this young talent develops.
Leon Draisaitl C [12% Owned]
Marv: Yeah that’s 5 points in his first two games of the season, pretty ridiculous. He was a 3rd overall pick from 2014 and had 9 points in 37 lackluster games. New season, new Draisaitl? With this hot start, if you have a gamble bench spot (especially in a keeper league). I’m flagging and watching this guy to see how the next week goes. Haven’t had a chance to see him in action, but if he keeps it up, I think he’s definitely worth the gamble.
Pesos: The Oilers are exciting. Lots of young raw talent headed by Connor McJesus. Draisaitl started the year in the AHL but in the two games with the Oil this year, Draisaitl has 3 goals and two assists, is a plus 3 and is averaging 19 mins a game. Who knows how long it’ll last but if he’s available, pick him up immediately.
Cody Franson D [16% Owned]
Marv: I’m not yet adding him but I’ll keep my eye on him. Early pre-season fave that Pesos was quick to drop last week. Any guy that I can prove Pesos wrong I’m watching. The guy has been picking it up, 5 points in his last 5 games. Ugly -5, but he also adds 10 hits in those 5 games and has 26 shots this season.
Evgeny Kuznetsov C,LW [84% Owned]
Pesos: Seven points in his last four games. Kuznetsov finally seems to be hitting his stride in Washington. What a lethal combination Ovi and Kuz are going to be in the foreseeable future.
Marv: Honestly, sometimes I think Pesos blanks on the “guidelines” of this article and just writes what he wants (as the guy is owned in 84% of leagues). Let’s chalk this up to a guy to try and trade for and honestly, I’d love to acquire this kid, his Kung Fu is awesome and will only get better.
Drop it like it’s hot (or at least keep an eye on the guy, he’s had a tough week)
Justin Abdelkader LW, RW [48% Owned]
Marv: After starting out strong he’s gone downhill in his last 9 games, and is also -4 in that stretch. I’m not saying give up on the guy but I still think his ownership is a little high. If you have a younger, higher upside play and Abdelkader is sitting on your bench, I’d make the move, just saying.
Tyler Bozak C [8% Owned]
Pesos: One goal, one assist for two points through 6 games this season. He’s been injured, but boy does this guy look lost without Phil Kessel on his wing. The notion that Bozak was a legit top 60 C in the NHL is long gone, or at least it should be, making Bozak a prime candidate to drop. Maybe it’s just a Toronto thing (likely) but Bozak was never that good. At this point he’s replacement level and you can surely get more production out of almost anyone else. Let’s remember he almost always misses games due to injury.
Marv: I think people have started to figure out that they can get way better talent than Bozak. I mean, even 8% should be corrected, I’d rather have: Artem Anisimov, Kyle Palmieri, heck even Teemu Pulkkinen!
Mikael Backlund C [1% Owned]
Pesos: The Flames are bad. Like, really bad. At one point Backlund was touted as a young talent who could break through and be a star with the Flames but that seems like a long time ago. One goal and a minus 7 so far this season isn’t very good.
Wrap it up
Pesos: Keep in mind, it’s still early in the season. Most teams have only played 10-13 games and a lot can happen between now and April. Your best chance for success is to be a crazy person like Marv and obsess over your team on a minute to minute basis. That’s how you become a winner! Who needs family or work?
Marv: True story, but still beats letting the wife pick my active roster spots based on how good looking the player is! Remember a certain stud named Rob Brind’Amour? Even when he was good he only saw my bench, man, that’s a true hockey face.
As always, let us know what you think and ask as many questions as possible.