Happy holidays, and welcome to what will be the first of many fantasy hockey columns as the NHL season heads towards the stretch run. With teams already drafted, and heading towards the halfway point of the fantasy hockey season, it is a crucial time to monitor the waiver wire. There is value out there on a week-to-week basis if your team is in need of help; and we are here to help!
The following players are available in most leagues polled and are ideal options for a fantasy hockey team in a time of need. Think of them as the sleepers that no one is talking about.
Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire
Drew Miller, LW, Detroit Red Wings: Miller, who is only owned in one percent of all leagues polled, has four goals over the last three games, including a game winning goal. Miller is taking advantage of a situation that sees him playing on a new line, and is definitely worth a look in deeper leagues if you are looking for offensive depth. Keep in mind Miller's next three games are in Calgary, in Nashville, and against St. Louis, so don't be surprised if he slows down a bit over the next week.
Lauri Korpikoski, LW, Phoenix Coyotes: The former first-round pick checked in with three goals and an assist over the past week, including a game winning goal and was plus-three on the week. Again, in deep leagues, the left winger may be worth a look. With a game against St. Louis and a trip to the struggling Los Angeles Kings on tap, the opportunity for Korpikoski to continue his strong play will be there.
David Perron, LW, St. Louis Blues: This is the player that you absolutely have to have on your team right now, and he is only owned in approximately 14 percent of all fantasy hockey leagues polled. In five games since his return from a major concussion, Perron has averaged a point per game with one goal and four assists, including one game winning goal. Obviously, there is a high risk involved with Perron coming off the injury; if he can stay healthy he could provide a significant boost to any fantasy team. The week ahead for St. Louis sees a road game in Phoenix, a home game against the Dallas Stars, and a road game in Detroit visiting the Red Wings.
Victor Stalberg, LW, Chicago Blackhawks: Stalberg currently resides on approximately five percent of fantasy hockey rosters polled, and has had a good week fantasy hockey wise, checking in with two goals and three assists. Stalberg also notched a plus-five during that span. With the talent up front on the Blackhawks, it is worth a roster spot to add Stalberg to your roster. Chicago has a favorable schedule coming up, getting visits from the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets and Kings.
Matt Niskanen, D, Pittsburgh Penguins: Niskanen, who is only owned in approximately 23 percent of all fantasy hockey leagues polled, is an intriguing defenseman fantasy hockey wise right now because of injuries on the Penguins' blue line. As a result, Niskanen has been put in a position to not only play more, but contribute more on the power play. Niskanen has not disappointed, posting a goal and four assists in the past week. There is quite a bit of value here if you are looking for defensive power play points as long as the Penguins are thin on the blue line.
Jean-Sebastian Giguere, G, Colorado Avalanche: Giguere has been handed the keys to the Colorado goaltending job in place of Semyon Varlamov and he has not disappointed. Giggy has won all three starts while posting impressive stats to go along with the wins. In the three games, Giguere has a 1.62 goals against average and a .949 save percentage. The best part about Giguere's strong performances is that it is flying under the fantasy hockey radar, considering he is only owned in approximately 22 percent of leagues polled. If you are looking for goaltending help, look no further.
PIM Player of the week: John Scott, D, LW, Chicago Blackhawks: If you are looking to win the penalty minute matchup for the week, look no further than John Scott, who has had 22 penalty minutes in the past week. While it might be tough to justify a roster spot just for penalty minutes, there is added value here because Scott can be played as a defenseman or left wing.
News and notes
With Martin St. Louis and Claude Giroux returning to their respective lineups this week, don't hesitate to use them in your fantasy hockey lineup. Both got right back into the swing of things, with St. Louis scoring a goal in his first game back and Giroux checking in with a four-point game upon returning from a concussion.
With Chris Pronger out for the remainder of the year, keep an eye on Matt Carle. Carle is a player that traditionally has put up much better stats when Pronger has been in the lineup, so you might need an upgrade here soon.
About Mike Corcoran
Mike Corcoran joined KFFL in 2011 as their senior fantasy hockey writer. The Tarrytown, New York, native hosts a hockey radio show on ESPN Radio in Tampa, and covers the Tampa Bay Lightning professionally.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeCorcoranNHL