At the time of writing, Sam Gagner
was one of the hottest waiver wire picks of the week. That’s hardly surprising, given that he had four goals and eight points in a single game. The only other two Edmonton Oiler players to ever do that were Wayne Gretzky
and Paul Coffey
– and who wouldn’t want a guy whose name can be spoken in the same breath as those two legends? I don’t need to tell you that Gagner isn’t a legend, but as he followed up his eight-point game with a two goal, three-point effort on Saturday, he is on everyone’s pickup list for the upcoming seven days. Below you’ll find six other waiver wire options:
Landeskog hasn’t attracted as many headlines as some of the other top rookies in the 2011-12 pool, but he’s been steadily improving as the season has progressed. Part of that can be attributed to his increased playing time, which has gone from 17:10 minutes per game in October, to an average of 18:59 minutes a contest in January. He has six goals and 14 points in his last 21 games and that’s a point-per-game pace he should maintain for the remainder of the season. Landeskog also has a plus-13 rating through 53 games, which is particularly impressive when you factor in Landskog was one of just three Colorado players who even had a positive rating after participating in at least 20 games.
Whitney has only played in 55 games over the last two seasons, so it’s not surprising he’s not commonly owned in hockey pools. That said, he’s still a great offensive blueliner when he’s healthy and he’s finally showing signs of that having substantially healed from an ankle injury. Whitney returned in Edmonton’s final game before the All-Star break and has a goal and three points in three games. Although he’s definitely a gamble given his recent injury history, he’s worth the risk if you’re searching for a defenseman.
-LW-Toronto Maple Leafs
MacArthur showed last season he can put up top-six numbers when given an adequate amount of playing time. The trouble is, after averaging 17:07 minutes in 2010-11, he’s back down to just 14:40 minutes per contest this season. In his reduced role with the Leafs, MacArthur has really only displayed two modes: hot and cold. 11 of his 16 goals have come during a trio of three-game goal scoring streaks and MacArthur also enjoyed a seven-game point streak from December 22nd through January 5th, only to immediately follow it up with a seven contest pointless slump. That all being said, he’s hot right now and currently playing on the second line with Mikhail Grabovski
and Nikolai Kulemin
. He’s worth grabbing, but should be regarded as more of a short-term pickup.
-RW-New Jersey Devils
It would be easy to overlook Clarkson because he doesn’t excel in any one statistical category, but his ability to score a good amount of goals and spend approximately 1.75 minutes in the sin bin per game, can be very valuable. He also ranks third on the Devils in power-play points with 10, and leads the team with 109 hits. His versatility can be quite an asset and it certainly helps that he’s picked up his game recently, scoring 10 goals and 15 points in his last 20 games.
-RW-Tampa Bay Lightning
Purcell broke out last season with 17 goals and 54 points in 81 games and another 17 points in 18 playoff contests. He picked up where he left off in October, but his stock went way down during a month-long slump from mid-November to mid-December. He might have turned a corner recently with six goals and seven points in his last nine contests. On top of that, he’s recently been getting playing time with Steve Downie
and Steve Stamkos
, making him worth rolling the dice on.
This late into the season, goaltending help is very hard to come by. Unless a starter suffers a major injury and you scoop up his replacement quickly, you’re going to have a hard time finding a goalie of value as a free agent. Dubnyk might be the exception. He’s only owned is a small percentage of hockey pools, but he had a 2.37 GAA and .926 save percentage in nine January games and he turned aside 43 of 47 shots on Thursday. Nikolai Khabibulin
isn’t a bad option either, despite his recent struggles, but he’s already owned in 49% of leagues. Look for the two of them to split the goaltending duties pretty evenly for the remainder of the season.