Corey Abbott

Waiver Wired

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Martin Picking up the Pace

Sunday, November 24, 2013


This week's Waiver Wired takes a look at several players who are thriving in their new situations as well as a couple of veterans who are turning things around after difficult starts.  If you are struggling through injuries or looking to make changes, consider picking up some of the following players: 


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Martin Hanzal (PHO) - C - Owned in 37% of Yahoo! leagues


The 26-year-old center has all the tools to be a solid two-way pivot and he's finally putting it all together in 2013-14.  Hanzal has been a consistent scoring threat this year, while picking up seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points in 19 games.  He leads the Coyotes in points and ranks third on the club with 53 shots heading into Saturday night's action.  His previous career high for points in a single season came during his rookie year, when he picked up 35 in 72 games and he's well on his way to shattering that total.  Hanzal is also strong on faceoffs; he's won 52.1% of the 338 draws he's taken.  His physicality is another reason to like his game. He's racked up 61 hits and registered 27 penalty minutes this season.  Hanzal's versatile and able to contribute in several categories. He should make a strong addition to your fantasy roster once he's healthy again.  He was injured Saturday night against Anaheim. 


David Perron (EDM) - LW - Owned in 43% of Yahoo! leagues


Perron was expected to flourish with the Oilers and he's done just that so far this season.  He hit the 50-point mark in his second year with the St. Louis Blues and could flirt with the 60-point plateau by the end of the 2013-14 campaign if he can stay healthy.  Through 20 games with Edmonton, the 25-year-old winger has recorded eight goals and 18 points to rank among their team leaders in both categories.  He missed four games with a neck injury, but since his return he's recorded for six markers and three assists in seven November games.  He has taken a whopping 80 shots thus far, including nine in Thursday's win over Florida.  Perron is benefiting from more ice time and top-unit power play minutes. Fantasy owners should snatch him up while they can. 


Ryan O'Reilly (COL) - C/LW - Owned in 55% of Yahoo! leagues


O'Reilly has made a seamless transition from center to winger this season.  He has displayed very good chemistry with Matt Duchene and his point production hasn't slowed down, even though Duchene is on the shelf due to injury.  O'Reilly has a four-game scoring streak going into Saturday's contest in Los Angeles.  During that time, he has collected three goals and two assists.  The 22-year-old averages close to 20 minutes of ice time per match and he plays alongside skilled linemates each night.  If he's still around on waivers, then he's worth trying out. 


Gustav Nyquist (DET) - C/RW - Owned in 11% of Yahoo! leagues


The Red Wings had to make the difficult decision to send Nyquist down to the minors to start the 2013-14 season because of salary cap constraints.  While playing for Grand Rapids of the AHL, he amassed 21 points in 14 games.  In his season debut with Detroit on Thursday, he scored two goals, including the game winner, against Carolina.  Nyquist played alongside Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen in the contest.  He's been popular on the waiver wire since then, but he's still available in most leagues.  Nyquist is going to stay up with the Wings for the rest of the season, but his top-six spot isn't guaranteed.  As long as he plays regularly the rest of the way in some capacity, he should be able to register 0.6 points-per-game. That would make him a solid addition to your fantasy roster.  If he can play permanently on a scoring line, then that point pace could see a slight boost.    


Kris Versteeg (CHI) - LW/RW - Owned in 14% of Yahoo! leagues


Chicago re-acquired Kris Versteeg from the Florida Panthers last week in exchange for Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen.  Since returning to the Blackhawks, Versteeg has contributed one goal and three assists in four appearances, which is already nearly more than he registered in 18 outings with the Panthers.  With the reigning Stanley Cup champions he'll get to play with better players on a deep roster.  Versteeg has the ability to slide up and down the lineup, but when (if) the club returns to full health he's projected to slot into the club's third line.  Fantasy GMs in deeper leagues should consider picking him up. 


Tommy Wingels (SJ) - C/LW - Owned in 29% of Yahoo! leagues


Wingels has already posted personal highs in goals (7), assists (9) and points (16) this season after just 22 games.  He also leads the team with 49 hits.  He got to play with Joe Thornton while Brent Burns was hurt and when Burns returned on Thursday night, Wingels skated alongside Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau.  He made the most of that opportunity by netting two goals in a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.  As long as he plays in the top-six group of the Sharks, Wingels is worth having around on your fantasy roster.      


Paul Martin (PIT) - D - Owned in 24% of Yahoo! leagues


Martin was a widely accepted fantasy asset during the lockout-shortened season when he registered six goals and 23 points in 34 games.  An unproductive stretch to end October probably soured his worth in the eyes of several fantasy owners, but he has been much better in November.  Martin has notched one goal and five assists in eight games this month for the suddenly resurgent Penguins.  His power-play time has decreased with Kris Letang back in the fold, but he did skate on the top unit in Friday's win over the New York Islanders.  If you are seeking some help on the back end, he's worth adding.    


Marek Mazanec (NSH) - G - Owned in 9% of Yahoo! leagues


Mazanec may have temporarily quieted Nashville's hunt for a new goaltender with three impressive wins in his last three outings.  The Predators have been linked to Jonas Hiller in trade rumors of late.  A clearer picture of Pekka Rinne's status from a hip infection could be known within the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, Mazanec stopped 39 of 41 shots in a 7-2 win over Chicago prior to shutting out Detroit and allowing just two goals on 26 shots in a 4-2 victory against Toronto.  His turnaround has given him a 3-2-0 record with a .926 save percentage and a 2.37 goals-against average.  It looks like he'll be the Preds' starter until Rinne is able to return, barring a trade for another goalie.      

 



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