This is a dangerous time of the season for fantasy owners. Enough games are in the books for your initial worries about a struggling player to cement. It might be tempting to dump a guy like Nail Yakupov or give up on the Philadelphia Flyers, but there’s a lot of hockey left to play and you should guard against making rash decisions just a few weeks into the season.
That being said, there are always scenarios where making a move is appropriate and if you do need someone, we have candidates lined up for your consideration below.
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Kyle Okposo (NYI) – RW – Owned in 32% of Yahoo! leagues
Who a player skates with can have a big impact on his fantasy value. Okposo has never recorded more than 52 points in a single season, but with Brad Boyes moving from the Islanders to Panthers, Okposo has assumed his spot on the top line. As a result, Okposo has three goals and eight points in eight games this season. He won’t maintain that pace, but he should shatter his old career high if he continues to play primarily with John Tavares and Matt Moulson.
Sami Salo (TBL) – D – Owned in 17% of Yahoo! leagues
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s hot start might not prove to be the start of a resurgence season, but if this team can do anything, it’s score goals. The Lightning have leaned heavily on Salo this season and that’s been particularly true when it comes to special teams. He leads all Lightning defensemen in power-play ice time per contest. That should help him record 30 or so points this season, provided he can stay healthy.
Derek Roy (STL) – C – Owned in 27% of Yahoo! leagues
Roy is coming off of a decent, but not good campaign with Dallas and Vancouver. He ultimately had to settle for a discount deal with the Blues in light of the unfavorable market this summer brought on by the falling salary cap. Combine that with the fact that he’s averaging just 14:23 minutes in seven games with St. Louis and it’s easy to pass him off as a once great player who fizzled out early. However, Roy is still interesting for one reason: while he’s not getting ideal minutes in even-strength situations, he’s leading all Blues forwards in power-play ice time. That’s pretty noteworthy, given that the Blues have been effective with the man advantage thus far and should continue to be at least decent in that regard. Roy has six points so far and four of them were recorded on the power play.
Mark Arcobello (EDM) – RW – Owned in 12% of Yahoo! leagues
Although Arcobello only has RW eligibility so far, he’s actually been serving as a center with the Edmonton Oilers. That distinction is important because it’s his ability to play up the middle that led to him getting a top-six spot in the first place. The Oilers are still likely a month away from getting Sam Gagner and Arcobello has done an admirable job filling the void in his absence. He has eight assists in nine games to go along with a plus-four rating. His lack of NHL experience makes him a big risk and when Gagner returns, Arcobello’s fantasy value will likely fade, but for those who gravitate towards short-term pickups, Arcobello is one that makes sense right now.
Mason Raymond (TOR) – LW – Owned in 38% of Yahoo! leagues
Raymond recorded 53 points in 2009-10 with the Vancouver Canucks, but he saw his playing time and production slip until he joined the Maple Leafs over the summer. So far he’s averaged a career-high 18:13 minutes per contest and has gotten playing time with Phil Kessel in addition to Nazem Kadri and Joffrey Lupul. Raymond has rewarded the Maple Leafs with four goals and eight points in eight games. If he can maintain a top-six role, a 20-25 goal, 50-60 point campaign wouldn’t be out of the question.
David Perron (EDM) – LW – Owned in 38% of Yahoo! leagues
Speaking of Oilers players who are getting a ton of playing time, Perron is averaging more than 20 minutes per game, which puts him on course to best his previous career high. Perron’s linemates have been varied, but the Oilers have enough skilled forwards to ensure he’ll be playing with capable scorers throughout the season. He’s never recorded more than 50 points in a single season, but he should comfortably surpass that if he stays healthy.
Kimmo Timonen (PHI) – D – Owned in 69% of Yahoo! leagues
This column typically isn’t for players who are owned in that many Yahoo! leagues, but Timonen is worth mentioning because at the time of writing, he’s by far the most frequently dropped player in those fantasy leagues. It’s not hard to see why: he’s a 38-year-old defenseman with no points in eight games and on top of that he’s hurt. Maybe you think age has finally caught up with him or the Flyers will be terrible this season or a combination of the two. However, the Flyers still have a strong offense even if all 2013-14 statistical data points to the contrary and Timonen is a huge part of that. His lower-body injury isn’t currently believed to be serious either. He might not flirt with the 40-point mark as fantasy owners are used to, but for the price of a waiver pickup, he’s worth the risk.
Frans Nielsen (NYI) – C – Owned in 16% of Yahoo! leagues
Nielsen has made a habit of besting himself annually with 33, 38, 44, and 47 points in each season leading up to the 2013 shortened campaign. He recorded 29 points in 48 games last season, which would have put him on pace for 49, if not for the lockout. This time around, Nielsen is off to a hot start with four goals and eight points in eight games. He’s averaging 18:22 minutes per game and is one of the Islanders’ top guys with the man advantage. He’s not a bad guy to pick up and ride while he’s hot, but overall he isn’t expected to get much more than 50 points this season.