Fantasy surprises can really make or break you during a long season. They effectively double their impact in a 48-game season. The hot streaks that players of average skill get on that last two or three weeks can really change your position in the standings and help you sneak into the playoffs. While most people tend to be fairly reserved hunting the waiver wire, I am in a school of thought that loves hunting the FA market to take advantage of those hot players for a week or two.
Let’s take a look at a few players that will be sizzling recently and determine whether you should pick them up or not.
Jiri Tlusty is on fire. He has 9 points in the last six games with plus 2 rating. He has been seeing much improved minutes playing left wing on the top line with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin. He is has LW/C eligibility that only raises his value as he can be slotted in any of those spots. This is a no-brainer here. If you need a left winger, and I bet you do, pick this guy up. With Yahoo % owned at only four percent there should be no reason you can’t grab him right now. The time is running out as if he has another good game and sticks on the top line, others will notice as well. This kid comes in with some pedigree too, as he is a 1st round pick by Toronto in 2006, and is at the prime rib age of 24. He should be entering his best years of a young hockey career. Time to cash-in!
Cody Franson is another young buck on this list that is slightly older at 25. We remember him on Nashville being stuck behind the wonder twins, Weber and Suter, and yet he still managed to score almost 21 points in his rookie year and 29 points in his sophomore year. After being moved to Toronto he continued his offensive success with 21 points in 57 games again playing behind another top two-defenseman with limited power play time. Right now he has 8 points in 10 games and is plus 7 on a team that has Dion Phaneuf at minus 7. The kid is also consistent as hell as he has a point in six out of the 10 games he has played in and is currently on a four-game point streak. Oh, and he is doing all of this five on five. This guy can move the puck and is very effective shooter. He is on the 2nd power play unit but really should be moved to the first and play some more minutes. The kid is a solid, solid hockey player. If you’re rocking Giordano still, as 53% of Yahoo people are, please let him go and pick this guy up.
Slava Voynov is another young defenseman who is probably highly overlooked as he plays in the shadow of Drew Doughty. Unlike Cody though, this kid is playing heavy duty minutes in the last few games. Pushing over 24 minutes over the last four games. The result of this extra ice time? Five points in the last five games. None of these points came on the PP either so his plus minus is an epic plus 8 in those same five games. This is on an LA team that hasn’t exactly been lighting it up either. So he creates offense and has been doing a good job. Drew Doughty on the other hand is at minus 10 and only 4 points. Darryl Sutter has noticed the excellent play of his young D and is pushing him harder on both PP and PK times. More minutes is only a good thing, so snatch him up while you can. He is Russian and it is contract year…wink wink.
Jiri Hudler is back. He is jelling with the young kid from his home country, Roman Cervenka, and has eight points in the first seven games. He is getting all the minutes he can eat too. The line combinations tend to mix up on teams that struggle and this is no exception. Hudler is playing with Tanguay right now and it is working, but who knows what next week will see. The point being is that this guy is getting paid top 4 dollars and he will see that kind of ice time. Some may point to his 20 percent, super high, shooting percentage but he had 19.7 shooting percentage last year over 82 games for Detroit and played way less minutes. So grab him while you can. It is very rare to see a guy like him still floating around on the UFA market. He wont keep up the point per game pace, probably, but he is can finish and the ice time will boost his numbers.
Matt Frattin (UPDATE: He is out for one to two weeks with a minor surgery) is having a real bromance with Nazem Kadri, and while Kadri himself should be on your team already, especially in keeper leagues, Frattin is probably still floating around. He is lesser known and comes with less expectations. This does not change anything as he is making the best of things in the little 14 minutes per game he gets. He is taking advantage of every single minute and performing on a fairly consistent basis. He has a point in six out of the 10 games he skated in. He also has 10 points, so that’s not too bad. We are all waiting for him to slow down, but the kid is still plugging away. So it will either be you that will be bragging about this pick up or it will be you cursing up a storm as he scores another game winning goal against your fantasy squad.
Sam Gagner is the highlight of this list though. This kid has been rumored to be traded at least nine times last year and yet he stuck around and is paying in spades for young Edmonton Oilers. Believe it or not he is still only about 50% owned, yet he had points in 11 out of the 13 games they have played so far. Boy is that consistent. He is seeing major minutes too, so that helps, but playing with Hemsky and Yakupov probably helps more. He is on pace for his best year yet, and guess what, he is 23 years old! That magic age for hockey players to post their best seasons. Grab this guy asap, because two or three more games and he will be 100% owned!