Welcome back to another week of The Waiver Wire! This week, The Rangers dominate Crosby, a certain Finn dominates and the player with the best name in the league makes an appearance. So let's take a look at our disappointments, pleasant surprises and my Shot in the Dark player of the week.
Thomas Vanek - MIN - LW, RW - 83% owned
I have been a big Thomas Vanek fan over the course of his career. He's got size, hands, vision and a pretty solid shot. I even advocated him to be signed in the same way that Iginla was signed, to help ease the loss of Stastny, but Vanek seemed to have his eyes set on Minnesota, where he played his college hockey. This year as a whole has been a struggle for Vanek, who has scored 25 or more goals every year that he has been in the league (except a lockout year, where he still scored 20 in 38 games). Vanek has scored 40 or more goals twice in his career. This season, he only has one goal while playing in 17 games. In the past week, he is 0-1-1 with a -3 rating. What could be ever more frustrating, is that Mike Yeo seems to want to keep Vanek on the third line, as he is only averaging 14:48 TOI per game. Whether he deserves to play there or not, it is putting him in a situation where he will continue to struggle, which can be very frustrating for fantasy owners.
Sidney Crosby - PIT - C - 100% owned
Sidney Crosby finally has a bad week in the fantasy world. Of course this comes right after he had a 5 assist night against Buffalo, so it all seems to have evened out. This past week, Crosby put up 0-1-1 and was -3 in three games. Unsurprising was that Chris Kunitz was held pointless for the week. What I find super interesting, is that the New York Rangers shut out Crosby in the two games that they played against each other. They held him off the score sheet, and he was a -3. This is something to consider in the future, when they play again. Maybe you have another player with a much better match-up against Buffalo or Carolina. It may make you question whether to start Crosby. I'd still start him anyways, but it could be a risk worth taking if you are down a few points and need to take a risk that could be high reward.
Jamie Benn - DAL - C, LW - 100% owned
Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin were one of the top two duos last year in terms of production. I believe only Perry and Getzlaf were better and even that is debatable. If you drafted Benn expecting similar production, then so far you have been somewhat disappointed. Even more disappointing, is that Seguin has managed 12-10-22 in 18 games, yet Benn has only accrued 5-8-13 in 18 games. That nine point difference is almost baffling, given that their skill levels are very similar. In three games this past week, Benn has put up 0-1-1 and was -1 as well. Meanwhile, Seguin put up 2-1-1 and -1. Will this trend continue? Most likely not, but it is really frustrating for Benn owners to watch Seguin crush it, while Benn lags behind.
The Pleasant Surprises
Jori Lehtera - STL - C - 56% owned
It seems like the St. Louis Blues needed to convince Jori Lehtera to come to the NHL with some money, and boy did they, in the form of a 2 year, 5.5 million dollar contract. Many reactions to this contract, myself included were, "Who?". Lehtera was originally drafted by the Blues in the 3rd round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. It doesn't seem like he was under contract from 2012-14, until he re-signed with the Blues. It seems to be paying off, as he is over a point per game so far this season. A huge lift came during the past week when he put up 4-2-6 and was +5 in three games. At this point, he seems to be adjusting to North American ice, and is fitting in quite well and is definitely worth the pick up.
Alex Galchenyuk - MON - C, LW - 44% owned
Alex Galchenyuk has had quite a streaky season. I have considered him in past weeks to be one of the disappointments, but this week, he finds himself as a Pleasant Surprise. This past week, while on a line with Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec, Galchenyuk put up 1-4-5 and was +3 in three games. Galchenyuk is having a streaky season (38% of his points came in the past week), which can be both good and bad for fantasy owners. If you make the right call, he can be the reason that you get a big win in any given week, but if you make the wrong call, you could have points sitting on your bench.
Dan Girardi - NYR - D - 15% owned
It's nice to have a little defenseman love in these articles for those of you who love watching players walk the line. Dan Girardi isn't entirely known for his offensive abilities, but he's no chump either. Over the course of his career, he averages about 25 points per season. He's usually relied upon more defensively than offensively though, which makes him a less than popular pick for most fantasy leagues. If you owned him this past week, it paid off as he put up 1-2-3 and was +3 in 3 games this past week. If you are in a league that tracks blocks and hits, then he was a superstar for you tallying 11 hits and 7 blocks during the past week. He can't be counted on for consistent offensive production, but it's nice to see him put points up and could be worth a pick up in the right league.
The Shot in the Dark Player of the Week
Zemgus Girgensons - BUF - C, LW - 5% owned
Not only is Zemgus my favorite player on the Buffalo Sabres, but he also has my favorite name in all of the NHL. Don't worry, even though I'm completely biased, he still earned his way to this list. Last week, Zemgus (yeah, we're on a first name basis) put up 3-1-4 and was +5 in 3 games. He's averaged over 19 minutes over the past week. and Ted Nolan seems to love the way he plays the game. I expect Zemgus to break out this year, maybe to the tune of 50 points, but given how bad the Sabres are, he may not reach that level. In long term leagues with many keepers, or in deep leagues he'd definitely be worth a pick up. If you get a random injury, take a chance on him.
Well folks, that about wraps it up. What fantasy players are frustrating you? Who is saving your team? Who do you have an eye on? Let me know what you want to see next week on The Waiver Wire.
On a side note, it's more than a quarter of the way into the season for some players, and I am starting to think of mid-season awards. Let me know what awards, both silly and serious, you'd like to see!