Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 9
There was more upheaval this week in the NHL as Philadelphia relieved Ron Hextall of his duties as GM. Whether current coach Dave Hakstol’s job is secure or not is apparently a decision the new GM will make, but it can’t be a good feeling when the guy who hired you is shown the door. New coaches can sometimes radically affect the short-term performance of a team, but it’s hard to say if this move will inspire the troops — it’s worth watching though, as Philly has a lot of offensive talent that has underachieved so far this year.
Alex Galchenyuk (ARI) 41%
When you’ve been the whipping boy in the fishbowl of Montreal for six years, your name may be associated with underachievement. Pile on the fact that the player you were traded for (Tie Domi) is off to a historically good start with your old team and you can understand that this negative connotation may still be clinging to your name, but Galchenyuk may have a new story in the desert. His stats in Montreal really aren’t that bad, despite being banished to the third and fourth lines at times (three year average of 22 goals and 50 points). His new gig has him on a line with newly acquired Nick Schmaltz and super sophomore Clayton Keller, and this could end up being a legitimate number one line.
Kevin Hayes (NYR) 16%
Hayes is a huge center slowly finding his way in the NHL. Only 25 years old, he’s at the point where a lot of bigger players find their legs and begin to show their real talent. Hayes was a first-round pick and finished his last year at Boston College with 65 points in only 40 games. He’s currently the number one center for the Rangers, playing with Chris Kreider and Filip Chytil, a talented youngster. The Rangers are in a well-publicized transition period and Hayes has the chance to cement his spot on the first line.
Dustin Brown (LA) 30%
Brown looked to be a rapidly diminishing player a couple of years ago before a resurgence to 28 goals and 61 points last season (up from 14 goals and 36 points the previous year). His name was synonymous with the idea that the Kings’ style was slow and outdated, but Brown has either found an extra gear or loves playing with Anze Kopitar (more likely). Always a dedicated body checker, he’s dished out as many as 300 in a season, so if your team awards partial points for hits, he may be a solid addition on that basis alone. His 10 points in the first 13 games indicate he may also be on the way to another good offensive season.
Justin Williams (CAR) 15%
Carolina’s fast start has slowed somewhat, but they are still an entertaining team with talented youngsters such as Sebastian Aho and rookie Andrei Svechnikov. Williams is hanging in there at the ripe old age of 37, and is currently manning right wing on the second line. With an average ice time of 16:59 per game, he is holding down a regular shift and his 14 points to date are putting him on pace for a 49-point season. That’s right on cue for his three-year average of 21 goals and 50 points and should make him a solid depth option.
Brandon Saad (CHI) 17%
After last year’s dismal return to Chicago, it’s easy to think of Saad as an underachiever, but his previous three years wielded point totals of at least 23 goals and 52 points. He’s currently on pace for 43 points but is picking up steam lately, and the offensive resurgence of his center, Jonathan Toews, should help him erase the funk from last season. He was a beast in junior (76 points in 44 games his final season) and is still only 26 years of age.
Nick Schmaltz (ARI) 10%
I am doubling down on Arizona’s new number one line with Schmaltz, who has left wing eligibility. As mentioned, he and his linemates (Keller and Galchenyuk) have as much talent as many other number one lines in the NHL. Fresh off a 52-point season in Chicago last year, Schmaltz was struggling offensively so far this season with only 11 points in his first 23 games. The fact he was traded for two former first-round picks (including the number three overall pick in Dylan Strome) should indicate his perceived value by both franchises. He’ll get every opportunity to be an offensive leader for the Coyotes.
Jacob Trouba (WPG) 36%
Trouba is a prototypical two-way defenseman who can dish out punishing hits and skate as well as most of the forwards he defends against. Add his booming shot and excellent vision and you have a guy that could be an elite player someday (he’s only 24). With 10 points in his first 22 games, he’s on pace for close to 40 points this year, but the X-factor could be a potential trade out of Winnipeg. He’s made no bones about a desire to play elsewhere and may need to find another team to really display his talent, as the Jets’ blueline boasts some veteran talent.
Noah Hanifin (CGY) 23%
Hanifin came to Calgary in a blockbuster trade in the offseason. At just 21 years of age he’s still a pup by NHL standards, as defensemen are thought to hit their prime around the age of 27. Hanifin made a pretty smooth transition to his new team, as his former coach in Carolina (Bill Peters) came with him. He may only have 40-45 point potential, but the Flames are a surprisingly potent offensive team this year (seventh in the league), so Hanifin should benefit from the talent around him as well.
Calvin Petersen (LA) 17%
Jonathan Quick has just been removed from the IR list, but Petersen could give you another solid week of production. Coming out of nowhere, he quickly supplanted Peter Budaj after both Quick and Jack Campbell were struck down with knee injuries. The youngster has held his own, going 3-3 with a goals against average of 2.69 and a save percentage of 0.921. Beyond this week, it is hard to predict whether he’ll stay with the big club, or how much he’ll play, but it appears that everything is currently on the table in L.A.
James Neal (CGY) 24%
With only three goals and five assists in 24 games, I have no current stats to back up this suggestion. Brad Treliving may have another swing-and-a-miss with this free agent signing (yes, I’m talking about you Troy Brouwer), but Neal will be given every chance to work his way out of this funk. He just scored his 500th point and has averaged 26 goals and 48 points the last three years, so it’s surprising to see him struggle this much. I’m betting it doesn’t continue and he definitely has some serious offensive talent to play with in Calgary.