Yahoo fantasy hockey season. The drafts are done and it’s time to obsessively check your lineups for any recent injuries, line changes, or other updates. Chances are, you’ve also started scouring the waiver wire so as not to miss out on any hot starter before someone else can beat you to him.
While a few NHL clubs have barely seen any action — including four teams at just one game apiece — most have showed enough to give us an idea of what we can expect in terms of player combinations and trends. That’s why it’s important to make pickups according to who looks like they’re in favorable situations while discarding the ones who may ultimately lose a sizable chunk of their value.
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In this weekly column, you’ll generally find recommendations for players who are owned by less than 50 percent of those participating in the major fantasy leagues (though exceptions may exist). Anyone listed below should be able to help in at least one of the standard categories, with some benefiting because of injuries to other players or their struggles.
Here are the initial offerings:
Jordan Staal, CAR (Yahoo: 34%): Let’s double up on our love for the Canes. Staal earns the nod in this list over linemates Justin Williams and Warren Foegele due to his significant contribution on both special-teams units (and because it probably looks better if we rep other teams). So far, Eric’s younger brother has managed three goals and two helpers to go along with 14 shots on goal.
Milan Lucic, EDM (Yahoo: 33%): The Oilers may have only played once, but the initial indicators point to Lucic sitting in a prime position to succeed. The onetime 30-goal scorer lines up with Leon Draisaitl on even strength while also joining forces with Connor McDavid on the top power play, where he’s already notched a goal. There’s no guarantee Lucic stays in this spot, so enjoy the ride while it lasts.
Sven Baertschi, VAN (Yahoo: 3%): While Baertschi was held scoreless in his first two appearances, he broke out with a three-point performance on Tuesday. The Swiss winger sees most of his time on the third line during 5-on-5, but he has already recorded a goal and an assist on Vancouver’s first man-advantage group.
Ryan Dzingel, OTT (Yahoo: 9%): The Senators may have been tabbed as the league’s laughingstock heading into October, but they’ve shown enough hard work in the early going to earn enough respect. At 26, Dzingel has led the “veteran” charge among Ottawa’s large youth contingent by following up back-to-back assist outings with a two-goal, seven-shot effort Monday.
Conor Sheary, BUF (Yahoo: 16%): Sheary earned two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh, but his accomplishments — like the 53 points he tallied in 2015-16 — have been under-appreciated since Sidney Crosby acted as his primary setup man. Now in Buffalo, Sheary has already fit into the attack and developed a connection with Jack Eichel by striking for two power-play goals.
He wasted little time displaying his talent in his first appearance Sunday by dishing out two assists, including one while up a man. You may want to see if DeAngelo remains in the lineup over the next week before grabbing him, but he may not last that long.
Alexander Edler, VAN (Yahoo: 20%): Now in his 13th season with Vancouver, Edler has amassed 338 points over 761 regular-season matchups. The Swede improved his scoring last year by registering 28 assists, 14 of them with the man advantage. Edler apparently wanted to prove that effort was no fluke when he notched consecutive two-assist nights during the last week — three of those four points contributing to the Canucks’ potent power play.
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