Waiver Wired BluesSunday, February 19, 2012
Sometimes you have to take a relative unknown before he catches fire to succeed in a fantasy league, but other times, the key is to simply give veterans who fell out of the spotlight another chance. This list is full of the latter and includes several players who are blossoming after returning from serious concussions.
Andy McDonald – C/LW – St. Louis Blues
What seemed like a promising season for McDonald was derailed on October 13th when he suffered a concussion. It was nearly four months later before he was able to play again, but he already has a goal and an assist in three games since rejoining the Blues lineup. When healthy, McDonald can record an average of 0.8-0.9 points per game and due to his prolonged absence, he’s only owned in a small percentage of fantasy of leagues. It’s time to scoop him up if he’s still available.
David Perron – LW – St. Louis Blues
Speaking of Blues players who missed a significant chunk of time because of a concussion, Perron is another player who should be on your radar. Going into Saturday’s match against Minnesota, Perron has 11 goals, 26 points, and a plus-12 rating in 32 games, including seven goals and nine points in his last six contests. Not bad for a guy who returned in December after missing over a year because of a concussion. Like McDonald, his prolonged absence has allowed him to slip under the radar and he’s still only owned in less than half of the majority of fantasy leagues.
Wayne Simmonds – RW – Philadelphia Flyers
Have you been trying to pry away Scott Hartnell from whoever in your league owns him? Maybe Wayne Simmonds, aka Hartnell light, is still available. At the time of writing, Simmonds is not claimed in many pools which is a shame because, like Hartnell, he can help you out in every major offensive category. Simmonds has also been on fire lately with seven goals, nine points, and 18 penalty minutes in eight February games through Thursday’s contest. Don’t let his 2010-11 numbers scare you off; he averaged just 13:27 minutes per game in his final campaign with the Los Angeles Kings, but he’s got an average of 16:06 minutes in his first 57 contests with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Luca Sbisa – D – Anaheim Ducks
Sbisa has been one of the benefactors of the Ducks’ meteoric rise over the last couple of months. After recording three points in each of his first three months, he has two goals and 11 points in his last 20 games, including five points in his last nine contests. It’s also worth noting that while he has a minus-three rating this season, he is plus-six since January 10th. Additionally, if your league happens to use hits and blocked shots, Sbisa should provide you with solid contributions in those categories. The Anaheim Ducks might not be able to make the playoffs, but they should finish strong and we expect Sbisa to finish the campaign on a high note.
Victor Hedman – D – Tampa Bay Lightning
Hedman’s season got off to a rough start, but things didn’t truly hit rock bottom until he suffered a concussion towards the end of December. It took him roughly a month to recover, but he’s come back with a vengeance. Going into Saturday’s game, Hedman has a goal, seven points, and a plus-five rating in eight games. Those numbers are pretty impressive for a blueliner on their own, but his value increases substantially if your league uses hits and blocked shots as categories. Hedman has always had more offensive potential than he’s demonstrated in his young NHL career and we think it’s worth taking a chance on him at this stage.
Evgeni Nabokov – G – New York Islanders
It’s surprising Nabokov is still available in roughly half of Yahoo! leagues and if that’s the case in yours, then you should grab him now. We can understand if you were skeptical about Nabokov going into this season and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t have our reservations. After all, Nabokov was returning from a year long absence from the NHL and into a situation where he would be competing for playing time with two other potential starting goaltenders in Rick DiPietro and Al Montoya. At certain points this season, it looked like Montoya or DiPietro could end up with the gig, but at this point, it’s clearly Nabokov’s to lose. He has re-established himself as one of the NHL’s top goaltenders with a 2.24 GAA and .925 save percentage in 30 games this season.