We are almost in December and the better players in the league are starting to separate themselves from the pack. It’s time to ride their coattails and get some great production. The waiver wire is always full of gems so just remember to check the matchups and line deployment. Here is the latest overview of what is going on in the NHL.
Just when the Anaheim Ducks were getting back to full strength, the injury bug hit them again. Ondrej Kase is back, but unfortunately, Patrick Eaves, Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm are on the injured reserve. Kase bumps Pontus Aberg off the top line and Brandon Montour will be the power-play quarterback for the first unit.
The Arizona Coyotes are also getting healthier with Alex Galchenyuk back in the lineup with Jakob Chychrun soon to be returning. Galchenyuk is not playing with Clayton Keller and is also not on the top power-play unit. This is not what Galchenyuk owners had in mind. Chychrun has value in only very deep leagues, but he is supporting an expensive contract like his teammate, Christian Dvorak. They obviously hope these players develop into stars in the near future so the deals will look great. Coincidentally, both players are injured at the moment for what it’s worth.
With Patrice Bergeron out for an upwards of four weeks, what is happening to the Bruins top line? Well, Brad Marchand will be on a line with Jake DeBrusk and Joakim Nordstrom while David Pastrnak is going to be skating with David Krejci and Anders Bjork. Krejci seems like the biggest benefactor as he might skate on the top power-play unit.
Just when I thought Jason Pominville wouldn’t be effective anymore, he’s back on the top line with Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner. He’s not getting top power-play time, but as long as he’s on the top line there is some value here. Rasmus Dahlin continues to get the top power-play minutes over Rasmus Ristolainen.
The good news is that Andrei Svechnikov has bumped Jordan Staal off the top power-play unit. The bad news is that he’s still playing on the third line and no one’s happy about that.
There’s a new coach in Chicago but the results are the same. The Blackhawks are very desperate as they reunited Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane with Brandon Saad. Alex DeBrincat had been knocked off the top unit. With the Hawks struggling for wins, these units may be just temporary.
The Columbus Blue Jackets power-play is struggling, forcing some major shake ups. Artemi Panarin is on his own unit leaving Cam Atkinson, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Seth Jones on the other. There is no way this lasts.
Alexander Radulov is healthy again and is reunited with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. The Stars power-play is also struggling, forcing Esa Lindell on the point instead of Miro Heiskanen. Lindell has been productive and is making me think these combinations will last until John Klingberg comes back.
Detroit has been playing good hockey as of late thanks to the productive play of Anthony Mantha. Mantha is getting top line minutes with Dylan Larkin and is on the top power-play unit making him real interesting. Mike Green has also been productive since coming back from an injury. He will be on the point of the top power-play unit and has a good chance to surpass 40 points. The other hot Red wing is Andreas Athanasiou. Athanasiou currently plays on the second line and is on the second power-play unit.
The Edmonton Oilers are clearly struggling and reuniting Leon Draisaitl with Connor McDavid hasn’t helped. Draisaitl owners should be very happy with this deployment while Drake Caggiula seems to be the lucky one on the other wing. We’ll see how long this lasts with Ken Hitchcock behind the bench.
Bad news for Vincent Trocheck owners as he will out for a while due to some serious damage in his leg. This might hurt Jonathan Huberdeau‘s value on the second line, depending on what they want to do. Mike Hoffman‘s value could sky-rocket if he takes Trocheck’s spot on the top power-play unit.
The Los Angeles Kings are a mess. Goalies Jonathan Quick and Jack Campbell are out for the foreseeable future and a new head coach is behind the bench. Cal Petersen has played pretty well since being called up. He might be able to weather the storm until Quick comes back. Pick him up if you need a goalie.
Another struggling power-play is the New York Islanders. Mathew Barzal is on his own unit away from the other big stars. Ryan Pulock is now on the point of the top unit. Switch Barzal with Nick Leddy and then I’ll get excited.
Matt Duchene is red-hot for the Ottawa Senators and he is now running his own power-play unit. Brady Tkachuk is taking his spot. Colin White has some sneaky value as he is also on that top unit and plays with Tkachuk and Mark Stone.
The San Jose top line carousel continues. Logan Couture is the latest to join Joe Pavelski and Timo Meier. Joe Thornton is finally moving down the lineup but Evander Kane is still on the third line. They have split up Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson on the top power-play unit. Burns has been moved off to the second unit with Kevin Labanc replacing him.
St. Louis Blues are struggling to score goals. Jaden Schwartz is injured and Robby Fabbri takes his place on the top line alongside Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko. Alex Pietrangelo remains off the first power-play unit in favour of Vince Dunn. We’ll see what changes Craig Berube makes.
Another forward who can provide sneaky value is Jake Virtanen. In the last game against the Winnipeg Jets, Virtanen skated mostly alongside Elias Petterson and Nikolay Goldobin. Unfortunately, with the return of Sam Gagner, Virtanen was bumped off the top power-play unit. I can only recommend him if he’s playing in the top 6 and on the top power-play.
We’re almost near the end of the month and Vegas still doesn’t look like the team we saw last year. They are struggling to score goals during five-on-five and on the power-play. Speaking of the power-play, William Karlsson and Shea Theodore are featured on the second unit. Colin Miller is the defenceman you want in your league if available. Alex Tuch also looks pretty good so far this season and is worthy of an add.
Tom Wilson is back from his suspension and should be owned in all leagues. He’s playing in his usual spot on the top line and, due to the injuries to Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie, he’s also on the top power-play unit. What a beast.