While most eyes are on football this weekend, the fantasy hockey season continues to chug along and there are only about five weeks before playoffs kick in for most leagues formats. What players do you need to know about to help you stay near the top of your fantasy hockey leagues?
Sam Gagner is coming off of an eight-point game
Sam Gagner, C/RW, Edmonton Oilers - Gagner caught everyone's attention Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks when he registered four goals and four assists in the final two periods. While this historical break out is most likely a once-in-a-lifetime outburst, keep an eye on Gagner moving forward. If he continues to rack up the points, even at a much slower pace, he could be worth a waiver claim. He also brings added value in getting credit for multiple positions and there remains speculation he could be dealt to another team before the trade deadline.
Andrew Cogliano, C, Anaheim Ducks - Cogliano, who is only owned in two percent of all fantasy leagues polled, checked in with a hat trick Tuesday night against the Phoenix Coyotes. While Cogliano may not be known as a natural goal scorer, he is a good spot start to fill in if your team is in injury trouble. Dainius Zubrus, C/RW, New Jersey Devils - Zubrus, who is only owned in four percent of all fantasy leagues polled, had a solid run over the past week with a goal and three assists. While he won't set the world on fire offensively, he is worth a look in deep leagues. Zubrus also adds extra value because you can slot him in at multiple positions.
Brandon Sutter, C, Carolina Hurricanes - Sutter, who is only owned in four percent of all fantasy leagues polled, had a solid week coming out of the All-Star break with three points in his last two games. Sutter is up to 12 goals and 10 assists on the year and could provide some nice secondary scoring if you are looking for scoring depth.
Mathieu Garon, G, Tampa Bay Lightning - Garon, who is only owned in 24 percent of all fantasy teams polled, appears to be the number one option in Tampa, and he has not disappointed in that role. In his last five starts, Garon is 4-0-1 and over the past week, Garon has posted a 2.38 goals against average and a .906 save percentage. Garon is establishing himself as a solid fantasy hockey option.
Devan Dubnyk, G, Edmonton Oilers - With four straight starts, Dubnyk appears to have taken over the starting goaltending duties for the Oilers. Dubnyk, who is only owned in 21 percent of all leagues polled, had a solid week, stopping 74 of the 80 shots he faced, good for a .925 save percentage. If you are looking for goaltending depth, Dubnyk's stock has increased enough that it's worth the risk to pick him up.
Fantasy Hockey News and Notes
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, who has been out with an upper body injury, looks like he is getting close to returning to the lineup. Bergeron reportedly skated in practice Friday without the non-contact jersey, usually the first sign a return to the lineup is imminent. Once he does return, feel free to get him back in your lineup, as he has been one of the better offensive defensemen this year.
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard reportedly suffered a broken pinky finger in Thursday night's win over the Vancouver Canucks. Initial reports suggested that Howard would miss two weeks, but a team release Friday said he would only miss the Red Wings next two games. Keep Howard on your bench and monitor his status. Start him as soon as he returns to the team's lineup, as he has been one of the best fantasy hockey goalies.
That will do it for this week's edition of the waiver wire. Make sure you check back next week as we continue to help you prepare for the fantasy hockey postseason.
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