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Waiver Wired

Jump on the Barkov bandwagon

by Corey Abbott
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

It's still too early to panic if your stars are struggling, but here are some players to consider if you are looking to make some roster changes:

 

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Aleksander Barkov (FLA) - C - Owned in 24% of Yahoo leagues

 

Barkov has scored a goal in each of his past three games and he has six points in five outings this season. He has failed to pick up a point in just one contest so far and that came in Florida's 1-0 shutout loss to Philadelphia. He has amassed 17 shots on goal and he owns a 50.0 winning percentage on faceoffs. Barkov made positive strides last year after Jaromir Jagr joined the team and the 20-year-old center is poised to take bigger steps forward in 2015-16 on the top line between Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau.

 

Tomas Hertl (SJS) - C, LW - Owned in 25% of Yahoo leagues

 

Hertl has centred the third line for the early part of the year and he had two goals in three games during that time. With Logan Couture injured, Hertl has moved to the second unit between Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward. He has three points in five matches, along with 13 shots on goal. The 21-year-old has been solid in the faceoff circle as well with a 52.7 winning percentage. Couture is out for four-to-six weeks with a fractured right fibula, so it's a great time to act on Hertl due to his increased role.

 

Jori Lehtera (STL) - C - Owned in 15% of Yahoo leagues

 

Lehtera hasn't been teamed with Vladimir Tarasenko to start the 2015-16 campaign, but he has still been productive despite missing most of training camp with an ankle injury. He has registered two goals and three assists in five games. Lehtera had five shots on goal this past Friday after he posted only three shots in his previous four outings. I take that as a sign that he will start shooting more often and he has scored in his past two games, which will be great for his confidence and it should encourage him to put more pucks on goal. Lehtera has been flanked by Jaden Schwartz and Troy Brouwer and the trio has supplied the team with great secondary scoring. The Blues will not have Paul Stastny for the next two games of their road trip, so that should give Lehtera a larger opportunity; either on the power play or perhaps with a reunion with Tarasenko.

 

Martin Hanzal (ARI) - C - Owned in 12% of Yahoo leagues

 

Hanzal has been held back by injuries for most of his career, but he can be a useful fantasy player when he is healthy. He has collected seven helpers in five games this campaign, while playing between talented youngsters Tobias Rieder and Anthony Duclair. Hanzal hasn't score a goal yet, but he has been credited with 11 shots.  It should be noted that goals aren't really a strong aspect of his game even though he could end up in the 40-50 point range if he can stay off the sidelines.  Still, if you are looking for a center who can contribute hits, penalty minutes and win faceoffs then Hanzal is a decent depth target.  Hanzal has been dominant on the draw thus far with 50 victories and a 60.2 winning percentage.

 

Marcus Johansson (WSH) - C, LW, RW - Owned in 17% of Yahoo leagues

 

Johansson should get a boost now that Nicklas Backstrom is back in the lineup for the Capitals. He has one goal and two assists in four games this season along with a spot on the top power-play unit. Johansson skated alongside Backstrom on the second line Saturday night. He has 50-point potential even though he is still looking to hit that mark for the first time in his NHL career. This can be described as a preemptive roster grab if you act now because when Johansson records points they tends to come in bunches.

 

Brandon Pirri (FLA) - C, LW, RW - Owned in 17% of Yahoo leagues

 

Pirri has already surpassed his assist total from last season. He posted just two helpers in 2014-15 to go with his 22 goals. This campaign, Pirri has three assists and one goal after five games. He ended a four-game goalless skid on Saturday against Dallas. Pirri has formed a successful combination with Nick Bjugstad and Reilly Smith. Florida's second line has provided the team with some much-needed scoring depth. Look for the 24-year-old to surpass 20 goals again this year.

 

Alex Tanguay (COL) - LW, RW - Owned in 13% Of Yahoo leagues

 

Tanguay had 22 goals and 55 points in 80 games with Colorado last season. He was one of the team's more consistent players in 2014-15, along with fellow veteran Jarome Iginla. Tanguay has had a bit of a quiet start with three assists and five shots in four games, but that's still pretty good production. He has been skating on the top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, who co-lead the Avalanche in scoring with six points apiece.  Tanguay should be able to pump out assists throughout the year.

 

Ales Hemsky (DAL) - RW - Owned in 15% of Yahoo leagues

 

Hemsky has been a pleasant surprise after a disastrous 2014-15 season. He has produced one goal and five assists in five games. Hemsky scored in his first appearance of the year after he didn't find the back of the net until Nov. 28 during his first season with the Stars. His four-game point streak came to an end Saturday night, but he has been an improved player in the early going. Hemsky has been working well on the third line with rookie Mattias Janmark, who has two goals and two assists. He has seen some playing time with Jason Spezza as well and could return to the second line at some point because coach Lindy Ruff isn't shy about changing his lines. Hemsky has also played well on the second power-play unit, where he has earned three of his points. He admitted that he wanted to do too much last year, but now he's playing more confidently and it looks like a bounce-back performance is in the cards.

 

Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF) - D - Owned in 14% of Yahoo leagues

 

The 20-year-old, who will turn 21 on Oct. 27, has great two-way potential. The defensive side of that has suffered in Buffalo with a minus-49 rating in 117 career NHL outings, but he has been getting better in the puck possession game. Ristolainen had 20 points in 78 games last year, which should be easy to surpass in 2015-16. He has contributed a goal and two assists in his past three contests and he already has racked up 16 shots after five games. Ristolainen leads the Sabres in average ice time per game (24:38) and he gets plenty of power-play action as well (3:37 per match). He has a shot at 30 points this season and it wouldn't be surprising if he hit double digits in goals.

 

Nikolay Goldobin (SJS) - LW, RW - Owned in 1% of Yahoo leagues

 

Goldobin could be a very short-term fix, but he is intriguing nonetheless. He is playing with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski because Joonas Donskoi is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Goldobin made his NHL debut Friday night at New Jersey and he scored his first goal on Saturday against the New York Islanders. He has a great, quick release on his shot which has the potential to work well with a playmaker of Thornton's caliber.

Corey Abbott

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