We’re almost halfway through the fantasy hockey regular season. At this point it’s obvious where you stand in your league and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Today we’re going to try and help you address those weak areas in your lineup. If you don’t have many weaknesses perhaps we can just help you win a tight category this week.
Fantasy Hockey: December 23rd Weekly Waiver Wire Pick-Ups
Goals – Generally players who score goals also contribute in other areas as well so it’s one of the more important categories to focus on.
Matt Beleskey, Anh – LW (Owned %: ESPN 41.9%, Yahoo 40%)
Beleskey is tied for 10th in the league with 15 goals. He’s only tied with Alexander Ovechkin right now. No big deal. How he’s still not owned in even half of leagues is amazing considering he’s playing on the best team in the league. His +12 is nice to have as well.
Nick Bjugstad Fla – C (ESPN 39.2%, Yahoo 27%)
The Florida Panthers have played a solid defensive game all season, but that hasn’t stopped Bjugstad from putting up 12 goals and 19 points. Florida is pushing for a playoff spot right now and Bjugstad is going to be the guy to lead them there on offense.
Assists – It’s hard to find a good playmaker, but a couple guys are quietly having great seasons dishing the puck.
Johnny Gaudreau Cal – LW (ESPN 39.8%, Yahoo 37%)
We witnessed Johnny Hockey’s scoring prowess on Monday night as he recorded his first career hat trick. However, Gaudreau has 17 helpers this season, good for second among rookies.
Mike Santorelli Tor – C (ESPN 22.6%, Yahoo 17%)
The Toronto Maple Leafs are leading the league in scoring right now, and Santorelli is a big reason why. Not only does he have 16 assists but he’s also leading his team in +/- at +13.
PIM – Penalty minutes are a fantasy category that’s generally easy to upgrade, as finding enforcers on the waiver wire isn’t hard. However, we’re looking for players who can also help you in other areas as well.
Antoine Roussel Dal – LW (ESPN 15.2%, Yahoo 20%)
Currently sixth in the league with 67 PIM’s, Roussel has also scored 7 goals and 16 points this season. His -3 isn’t that bad considering how bad his team’s defense has been.
Alex Chiasson Ott – RW (ESPN 6%, Yahoo 3%)
If you play in a league that counts +/- heavily, then you might not want to deal with Chiasson’s -7 this season. However, for a guy with 41 PIM’s his 7 goals and 15 points aren’t too shabby.
Shots On Goal – The SOG league leaders are normally dominated by the best scorers in the league so it’s often tough to find decent guys to make a big difference in this category.
Sean Monahan Cal – C (ESPN 50.1%, Yahoo 39%)
Monahan has 97 SOG’s this season while chipping in 11 goals and 22 points. His +6 is decent, but his lack of PIM’s doesn’t help you much.
Brendan Gallagher Mon – RW (ESPN 26.8%, Yahoo 27%)
While Gallagher isn’t known for his scoring he’s having a decent season with 9 goals and 18 points, while generating 96 SOG’s. Like Monahan he’s a solid +6 and he has a few more PIM’s as well.
Wins – Most starting goaltenders are going to be taken in the majority of leagues so finding a guy to play any week is always a challenge.
Andrei Vasilevskiy TB – G (ESPN 5.6%, Yahoo 9%)
With Ben Bishop still out with a injury and doubtful to questionable to return this week, Vasilevskiy will get the start tonight against the Penguins and possibly again on Saturday against the Hurricanes.
Niklas Backstrom Min – G (ESPN 6.3%, Yahoo 34%)
Tonight will mark the sixth straight start for Backstrom in Minnesota. It appears that coach Mike Yao is not happy with the play of normal starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper and is giving Backstrom every chance to prove himself this season.
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