Corey Abbott

Waiver Wired

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It's Time to Grab Grabner!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Two of the most significant challenges of every fantasy pool GM are when to drop a player who is not meeting expectations and when to claim a free agent who is exceeding them. You are likely aware of early season rookie sensations Vladimir Tarasenko and Cory Conacher and if you haven’t claimed them by now, it is probably too late. Let’s look at some players who have started the 2013 campaign almost as impressively as Tarasenko and Conacher and are likely still available as roster adds.   


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Andy McDonald (C, LW - St. Louis Blues) - McDonald has been shamefully overlooked in Yahoo! Leagues entering the 2013 season.  He is owned by a mere 18% of fantasy managers, despite getting off to a great start with the Blues.  McDonald has two goals and two assists, including a pair of power -play points in four games thus far.  He also has added 13 shots on goal and sees regular action on the second line of a strong team.  McDonald has battled injury concerns throughout his career, but he is healthy now and is more than deserving of a spot on your roster.   

Cody Hodgson (C, RW - Buffalo Sabres)  - Hodgson was promised a more substantial role on the Sabres this season and in the early going of the year, he has shown he can handle the pressure of being the top center in Buffalo.  He has been driving hard to the net, which has allowed him to score in three times of the Sabres’ first four games. Playing between the scorching hot Thomas Vanek and productive captain Jason Pominville should help Hodgson stay fantasy relevant for the balance of the year.  Hodgson has also chipped in 18 shots and four penalty minutes, which helps his profile as well.  Chances are he might be available for pickup, as he is owned in just 24% of Yahoo! Leagues.     

Steve Sullivan (LW - Phoenix Coyotes) - The 38-year-old winger received a bump when he scored three goals on Wednesday in a 5-1 win over Columbus.  Sullivan followed up that contest with another strong showing on Thursday night when he notched a goal and an assist in loss to San Jose.  Although he has been inconsistent (pointless in his first two games this season), Sullivan should help supplement the Coyotes' offensive attack this campaign and fill a role similar to the one Ray Whitney played a year ago.  Sullivan is currently tied for the team lead with three power-play points, including two goals, and he's owed in just 6% of Yahoo! Leagues.   

Michael Grabner (LW - New York Islanders) - Grabner failed to repeat the success he enjoyed in his rookie season with the Islanders during the 2011-12 campaign, but he looks determined to get back on track during the NHL's 48-game schedule.  He has recorded three goals and five points in four games, while posting a plus-4 rating and 13 shots.  Grabner kills penalties and sees time on the power play for New York and he is a threat to score on both of them.  He already has a power-play and a shorthanded goal this campaign.  With Frans Nielsen on his line again, Grabner should be able to display the form he showed when he jumped onto the scene with 34 goals and 52 points in 76 contests in 2010-11.  Grabner is owned in 7% of Yahoo! Leagues, but his star is on the rise and he is quickly being snatched up by managers with over 3600 adds and counting on Saturday alone.   

Nazem Kadri (C - Toronto Maple Leafs) - The professional career of Kadri has seen its fair share of downs, but it appears he is finally receiving some ups under head coach Randy Carlyle.  The 22-year-old forward is being given the opportunity to play his natural position of center this season and he was finally kept on the team's roster following the shortened training camp.  He has responded with a hot start to the year by racking up a point in each of Toronto's first four matches.  Kadri has deposited three goals, including two with the man advantage, and five points, while supplying 11 shots and four penalty minutes.  His faceoff skills still need some work, but that can be learned through practice.  He's owned in only 2% of Yahoo! Leagues so chances are high he's available.  If you need help at center, Kadri's fantasy stock may finally be on the rise.   

Raphael Diaz (D - Montreal Canadiens) - The sophomore blueliner was great in Switzerland during the lockout and some of success has been carried over to the NHL.  Diaz has collected at least one assist in each of Montreal's opening three games of the 2013 season.  He has five helpers over that span, including three with the man advantage.  Diaz (4:40) has surpassed Tomas Kaberle (4:27) in average power-play ice time, which has helped him lock down more minutes on the point with a healthy and productive Andrei Markov.  As long as P.K. Subban remains unsigned and in the middle of a contract dispute with the Canadiens, Diaz should continue to get plenty of time with the top unit.  He would have more value if he had more than five shots, but his assists should be able to hold you over.  Diaz with zero percent ownership in Yahoo! Leagues, represents the biggest gamble on the list, but if you are hurting from Subban not being in a Montreal uniform yet, he is a good fill-in for now.   

 

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Corey Abbott is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him Twitter @CoreAbbott.
Email :Corey Abbott



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