Welcome back to another week of The Waiver Wire! This week is going to be a little different than the usual disappointments and surprises. This past week, there were so many lesser owned players that performed well, that I decided to write about all of them, because they deserve the spotlight. Sure, there are some players that disappointed (looking at you, Kessel, with your 0-0-0 and -6), but let’s hear about some diamonds in the rough.
Diamonds in the Rough
Nikolay Kulemin – NYI – LW, RW – 2% owned
Up first is Nikolay Kulemin. He had quite the monster week, which is surprising given that only 2% of the league owns him. Even more surprising is that he put up 4-1-5 and was +6 in 4 games while only averaging 12:31 in ice time. That is extremely efficient production, and something that helped the Isles win 3 of their last 4 (and 5 of their last 6). He won’t continue this type of production, as you rarely see a player score 2 goals and tally an assist in 10 minutes of ice time, but he could be a solid option in a deep league due to his ability to be placed on both wings.
Tyler Ennis – BUF – C, LW – 12% owned
Up next, because obviously I have East Coast (read Buffalo) Bias, is Tyler Ennis. Buffalo has lost 11 straight games. You read that correctly, 11. They haven’t won since December 27th. That makes it super tough to own anyone on the Sabres, but if you owned Ennis, you got a hell of a week. In four games last week, Ennis had 2-1-4 while being +2. Considering the Sabres lost those 4 games by a total of 12 goals, for Ennis to come out of those 4 games with a plus rating, should earn him some type of trophy. That trophy may be a bump down the depth chart as McDavid takes #1 center responsibilities (at least offensively). My recommendation on picking Ennis up? Only do it if you want to be disappointed.
Benoit Pouliot – EDM – LW – 4% owned
Edmonton seems to be less committed to the tank now that Eakins is gone (giggles). I bet he just didn’t want to win. They’ve won 3 of their last 7. Which well, for Edmonton, is sorta nice. In the last 3 games, Benoit Pouliot put up 4-0-4 and was +1. He also had 6 PIMs, 8 shots and 9 hits while averaging 17+ minutes per night. Something tells me that a 50% shooting percentage is unsustainable, but we won’t worry about fancy stats here! Edmonton has now caught up to Buffalo in the standings. Or Buffalo has caught up to Edmonton in the McDavid standings. However you want to look at it, Edmonton is playing not terrible hockey right now, sorta… I wouldn’t recommend picking Pouliot up, but if you’re in a league with physical stats, he seems to want to hit as of recently.
John Klingberg – DAL – D – 11% owned
It’s time for some D love in this edition of the Waiver Wire. John Klingberg (who?) had himself a hell of a week this past week. Klingberg racked up 2-3-5 and was +1 in the last 4 games he has played in. That’s some solid production. He produced points in 3 out of the 4 games, and those games happen to be the three that the Stars won in the past week. The Stars seem to be a very streaky team this year so it’s tricky to judge how well any secondary players may play on any given week. Klingberg averaged over 21 minutes per night in the last four games, so if you are in need of a defenseman, he could be a solid pick up.
Steve Bernier – NJD – RW – 0% owned
What. Steve Bernier is a player that I never thought would make almost any list I had to make for this. Alas, Jagr gets sick, and The Devils let him play 16 minutes with Gomez and Henrique, and boom, you get some production. In this case, “some production” was 3-0-3 while being -3 in 3 games. It’s not great, but if you told me Bernier would score 3 goals in 3 games, I’d say that you’re full of shit. He also took 10 shots in that span. Jagr will miss Wednesday’s game, so if you need some quick depth, pick up Bernier. He may not be getting those minutes or line mates for long, but he still may have another game or two in him.
Joni Ortio – CGY – G – 19% owned
I want to talk Joni Ortio’s stats and extend them an extra game beyond a week, because he needs some recognition. He really needs it, because odds are, with Ramo coming back soon, he will be sent back down, but this kid had a phenomenal week and a half in the NHL. In his four games since he was called up, he was 4-0, 1.23 GAA, .958 sv% and had one shutout. Before Ramo was hurt, he was starting to play less than stellar. Maybe it’s a situation like Pickard, where Ortio beats out the 2nd string for that spot or maybe the Flames carry 3 goalies for a bit. I wouldn’t bet on it, but it may be worth the risk if you are desperate for a goaltender.
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.