Blake Wheeler, RW WPG (28GP-2g-16a-18pts, with a +9 and 18 PIMs)
A number of Winnipeg Jets are gaining some attention on the waiver wires due to the team’s strong play of late. The newly formed top line of Evander Kane-Brian Little-Wheeler seems like a no-brainer now that they’ve been tearing up the league for the past couple weeks. All three were highly-touted in their draft classes (all three were top-10 picks), but for various reasons none of them have found long lasting productivity at the NHL level yet. Things may be about to change. While Kane is probably owned in most leagues, and Little (who we highlighted last week) is quickly joining him, Wheeler is still highly slept on; probably due to his low goal total (2) through the first quarter. Don’t be fooled. While Wheeler may have been slow to find the back of the net, his potential with the top line, along with his ability to produce across the stat sheet, make him an ideal waiver pickup. Wheeler currently has 11 points (2g-9a) over his last 10 games and his +9 on the season leads the team.
Sam Gagner, C, RW EDM (22GP-3g-9a-12pts, with an even rating and 4 pp points)
I can’t say I’ve ever been too excited about Sam Gagner on a fantasy roster, but with his recent callup to the top line in the wake of a Taylor Hall shoulder injury, he’s looking like an extremely attractive short-term add. With Ryan Hugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle in the top-10 in league scoring, you have to take advantage of anyone getting a prolonged look on their left side. Hall does appear to be doing everything in his power to get back on the ice quickly, so the marriage may be short-lived, but it’s highly unlikely you’ll be disappointed with Gagner over the next week or so.
Nick Foligno, LW OTT (29GP-10g-9a-19pts, with a (-2) and 20 PIMs)
While most people in the hockey world had pegged the Senators as an obvious choice for last place in the East, their heavy reliance on youngsters has appeared to inject some life in to some veterans who have underwhelmed in their careers thus far. Among them, the Sens’ 1st round pick back in 2006, Nick Foligno, is currently playing the best hockey of his career and is worth a look in your deeper leagues, especially at the LW position. The hard working forward is riding a 7-game point streak, and has put up 16 points (8g-8a) in 17 games since November 1st.
Alex Goligoski, D DAL (16GP-2g-4a-6pts, with a (-5) and 2 pp points)
Goligoski made his return to the Stars’ lineup on Thursday after missing 11 games with a broken thumb, and he’s a must add if you have any question marks on your blue-line. He’s a top tier power-play threat with an exceptional shot, although his value may take a hit in plus/minus leagues on a Dallas team that looks like one of the weaker teams in the West this year.
Ray Emery, G CHI (9GP 5-1-2, with a 2.80 GAA and .898 SV%)
For Corey Crawford owners everywhere, it’s officially time to take out an insurance policy. Despite a decent record (12-7-2), Crawford has struggled mightily to keep the puck out of the net for a Chicago team that has some legitimate issues on defence this year. Emery’s numbers don’t exactly look better, but he’s been more consistent with one brutal start against the Oilers where he gave up 7 goals on 27 shots wreaking havoc on his overall numbers. It looks like Chicago is going to ride the “hotter” Emery for the time being, but don’t expect them to give up on Crawford yet. The Blackhawks’ defensive struggles may have a lot more to do with their 27th ranked penalty kill than it does with poor goaltender play.