Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire: Evgeni Nabokov, Jason Blake, Ryan Malone, more
The weekend is upon us, and that means it is time for the weekly fantasy hockey waiver wire. The stretch run is near, so it is an important time of the year to focus on adding players to your roster to push you over the edge in your fantasy hockey league.
Jason Blake, LW, Anaheim Ducks: Blake, who is only owned in five percent of all leagues polled, has been on a torrid pace the past week with four goals and two assists, including two power-play points. Blake is coming off an extended period of missed time due to a wrist injury, so there is some risk involved. That being said, if you need depth at forward, Blake is a player to keep an eye on if he can stay healthy.
Ryan Malone, LW, Tampa Bay Lightning: Despite the Lightning's struggles as a team, Malone, who is owned in 12 percent of all leagues polled, had a strong five-point week with two goals and three assists. Malone had struggled early in the season; at times he had people scratching their heads about whether he was completely healthy. Those questions have gone away. Malone's upside is that he gets time on the top six and power play, so if that talented forward group gets hot, Malone should put up nice numbers as a result.
Kyle Wellwood, C/RW, Winnipeg Jets: Even though he did not score any goals this week, Wellwood did check in with four assists, which gives him 19 for the season. Wellwood is on pace to set career highs in the NHL this season, and he adds extra value in the ability to use him in multiple lineup positions in some leagues. Wellwood is only owned in four percent of all leagues polled, if he continues to get on the score sheet, he may be worth a look.
Sean Couturier, C, Philadelphia Flyers: We have talked about Couturier in this space before, and he has done nothing to change our opinion of him. He had a five-game goal scoring streak snapped Thursday night, but still got on the score sheet with an assist. Somehow, the rookie center is only owned in six percent of all fantasy leagues polled. If you need scoring depth, you can't go wrong grabbing Couturier while he continues to rack up points.
Paul Martin, D, Pittsburgh Penguins: Martin, who is only owned on three percent of all fantasy leagues polled, is finally starting to see his season turn around a bit. After struggling and battling injuries during the early part of season, Martin has registered assists in the last three games. Martin has the potential to contribute nicely offensively, so keep an eye on him over the next week or so.
Kyle Chipchura, C, Phoenix Coyotes: Chipchura, who is available in almost all fantasy hockey leagues polled, is suddenly hot offensively. In the last week, Chipchura had a goal and three assists, and also has hit the score sheet in five straight games. There is always a risk involved when a player gets hot that is not a goal scorer, but if you are looking to take a gamble in a deep league, Chipchura may be worth a waiver claim.
Evgeni Nabokov, G, New York Islanders: One of the toughest decisions to make right now in fantasy hockey, and one I struggle with daily, is what to do with Nabokov. He continues to put up solid numbers, but because of the team he plays on, you hesitate to put him in the lineup. At this point, you almost have to start him after his 40-save performance against Philadelphia Thursday night. Why? Even though the Islanders don't always put Nabokov in position to come away with the win, he can help you in other counting categories like saves and save percentage. If your league counts those scoring categories, he is worth consideration of being in your lineup if you're weak at goalie. If you are looking for goaltending help, the time has come to believe in Nabokov, who is only owned in 31 percent of all fantasy hockey leagues polled. He definitely should be owned, if only as a move to block others from owning him.
That will do it for this week's version of the waiver wire. Make sure you check back next week when we talk trade deadline and players to target in your fantasy hockey leagues as the fantasy hockey playoffs are on the horizon.
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 @MikeCorcoranNHLFollow @MikeCorcoranNHL
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