Horcoff RevisitedSunday, November 27, 2011
We’re about a quarter of the way through the 2011-12 season and while we’ve seen our fair share of surprises, we have no doubt there are more on the way. In this week’s Waiver Wire we’ll take a look at a few players who are hot now and could end up having big seasons.
Curtis Sanford-G-Columbus Blue Jackets
Fantasy owners have been slow to pick up Sanford despite his hot start and that’s not likely to change now that word has gotten out that Steve Mason could return as early as Sunday. However, we want you to keep a few things in mind. While Mason is arguably the main reason the Blue Jackets franchise has ever made the playoffs, we all know what he has done lately. He ran hot and cold during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 campaigns and to call him inconsistent this season would be somewhat complimentary. While the Blue Jackets have stayed loyal to Mason, it’s fair to say his hold on the number one job is weak. The other thing is, Sanford’s success isn’t entirely out of left field. He had a 1.93 GAA and .930 save percentage in 40 AHL games last season and a 2.13 GAA and .916 save percentage in 41 AHL contests in 2009-10. Yes, that was in the minors, but it still counts for something. After all, the Blue Jackets signed Mark Dekanich – who is out indefinitely with a groin injury – to an NHL contract on the strength of a 2.02 GAA and .931 save percentage in 43 AHL games in 2010-11. The Blue Jackets goaltending situation is messy, but for the price of a free agent selection, Sanford is worth the gamble.
Tim Connolly-C-Toronto Maple Leafs
Let’s not concern ourselves too much as to whether Connolly is playing with Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. In my opinion, Connolly is worth picking up either way. His season totals get dragged down by the amount of playing time he misses due to injuries, but his point-per-game numbers are still usually impressive. Although he had just 42 points in 68 games last season, he averaged close to a point per game in 2007-08 and 2008-09, and he has three goals and 11 points in 11 games this season. Connolly might not stay healthy for the remainder of the campaign, but he is playing at the moment. Pick him up for now use him while you can.
Adam Larsson-D-New Jersey Devils
Larsson has a ton of offensive potential and he’s been given a golden opportunity to shine this season with the Devils. However, he’s also a rookie who turned 19 on November 12th and is being asked to make the leap to the NHL immediately from the Swedish Elite League. That’s a tall order, so it’s understandable that he went pointless in the month of October. However, he’s gotten better as the season’s gone on. He has a goal and seven points in 12 games this month and he’s recorded an assist in each of his last four contests. He’s still a big gamble, but he’s also a blueliner on a strong team that’s getting a ton of playing time with the man advantage.
Jakub Voracek-RW-Philadelphia Flyers
Voracek didn't get as much attention as some of the Flyers’ other acquisitions this season, but he might end up having a significant impact. He entered the season as a sleeper after scoring 14 goals and 46 points in 80 games with Columbus this season and has broken out recently with two goals and 11 points in eight games. Voracek’s playing time has climbed from an average of 14:18 minutes in October to 15:28 minutes per game in November and he should play an even bigger role with Jaromir Jagr and James van Riemsdyk sidelined. Voracek, like many on this week’s list, is a good short-term option who also has a fair amount of long-term potential. We would not be surprised if he comes close to the 60-point mark this season.
Shawn Horcoff-C-Edmonton Oilers
Horcoff didn’t do a lot offensively over the 2009-10 and 2010-11 campaigns, but he didn’t have a lot to work with either. The Oilers have rebuilt their team, principally through the draft, and while the process might not be complete, their offense is certainly a lot better. Horcoff is currently centering a line that includes Ales Hemsky and Taylor Hall. The trio has displayed some chemistry and Horcoff has four goals and seven points in his last four games. At the very least he’s a hot player on a good line, but he could also end up being one of this season’s pleasant surprises.
Ian White-D-Detroit Red Wings
Since coming back from a fractured cheekbone, White has been on a tear with a goal and four points in two games. He now has 11 points in 17 games this season and we expect him to average around 0.5 points per game for the remainder of the season. White gets plenty of playing time, particularly with the man advantage. He’s also been paired up with future Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstron, which has only enhanced his fantasy value. White is still available in about 60% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues and should be scooped up if he’s free in yours.