NHL teams are tired as we move through Week 2, which is apparently an excuse for a lot of goals AND not enough of them. Lines are being switched repeatedly. Coaches are saving their starting goalies for the last possible minute or sometimes changing their minds after you’ve decided to stop looking at Twitter.
It’s probably a good idea to wait closer to game time for waiver wire acquisitions based on all the late-breaking news. You might make a move in the morning due to open positions and then have two of the closed spots open later in the day thanks to a postponement. Of course — and this goes along with the previous paragraph — it’s important to stay on top of everything until puck drop.
Sure, you’re busy and can’t keep track of everything 24/7. That’s why it’s important to check the latest player news on RotoWire and Yahoo’s current hockey material to set your lineups and manage your rosters.
Here are 14 players who can be had in most leagues and help right away:
(Yahoo! rostered rates/stats as of Jan. 21.)
Bobby Ryan, DET (23 percent rostered)
Everyone was rooting for Ryan off the ice last season after he stepped away, and then we cheered after he netted a hat-trick in his second game back. The Red Wings knew they were adding character and heart when they signed him to a one-year deal, but they probably didn’t expect an immediate fantasy breakout. Ryan is already up to four goals — on only seven shots — with 17 PIM and a spot on Detroit’s first power play. While it’s highly improbable this run will continue throughout the season, let’s see how long it lasts.
Patrick also suffered through significant pain last season, missing all 2019-20 due to migraines. The 2017 No. 2 pick posted mediocre point totals his first two campaigns, but he seems to be making up for lost time early on with a goal and two assists. With Sean Couturier out a couple of weeks and Morgan Frost on IR, Patrick should move into the top-six and maintain the momentum.
Labanc burst onto the scene four years ago with a 40-point effort and followed that with 56. Regression came last season with 33 in 70 outings, but it was assumed he’d recapture earlier glory as one of the main producers on a mainly unproven frontline. Labanc didn’t register any points over the first two but struck back with a goal and an assist in St. Louis on Monday. An even-strength place beside Logan Couture can only boost confidence and stimulate scoring.
If you’re in a dynasty league, Cozens is probably long gone. The seventh selection from 2019 can rotate between center and wing, though they like him on the right side 5-on-5. Cozens may be more of a stash-and-wait candidate in one-and-done formats, but he’s gaining attention after being bumped up the Sabres’ depth chart. Probably not recommended for those with stacked lineups, but his upside is too tempting to ignore.
Joshua Norris, OTT (6 percent)
After destroying the AHL with 61 points, Norris has landed into the Senators’ lead center role. He’s impressed with three points — including two PPPs — and recorded six shots on goal against the Jets on Tuesday. With Ottawa operating an exciting offense and obviously looking to the future, there’s no risk Norris will drop down the lines anytime soon.
We all remember Texier when he finished off the Blue Jackets’ stunning sweep of the Lightning in 2019, but injuries have left us wanting more. The flying Frenchman has done his part with three goals and an assist this season, which is especially impressive considering Columbus has totaled only eight goals through four games. Texier’s speed and talent say he can keep this going, though a move to a higher line wouldn’t hurt.
Verhaeghe earned a ring with Tampa Bay but didn’t do much leading up to the Cup. The Panthers inked him to a reasonable two-year contract, so it was thought his role would be somewhere within the bottom-six. It was only until training camp when it was announced Verhaeghe would work with Aleksander Barkov, and that’s paid off with three points. Florida doesn’t play again until Jan. 26 and has already had to skip earlier postponements, which just means its skaters will have more remaining games to rack up points.
Derick Brassard, ARI (2 percent)
Recent seasons haven’t been kind to Brassard, though he enjoyed an excellent performance versus the Flyers in last year’s playoffs. He waited until right before the New Year to sign with Arizona and has fit in perfectly. The veteran has worked well with his wingers and the three assists have resulted in more than 16 minutes of average ice time. Brassard may be the third pivot on the Coyotes’ depth chart, but he still can be a decent contributor given the talent seems to be evenly spread across the top nine.
Alexander Romanov, MON (41 percent)
Romanov may have recently turned 21 and positioned on the Habs’ third pairing, but he’s already shown potential as a fantasy producer. In addition to two points from the opening four contests, the young Russian has chipped in with 13 shots, 14 hits, and six blocks. Romanov has also featured on Montreal’s second power play while making his mark on the first penalty-killing unit.
P.K. Subban, NJ (33 percent)
Anyone who had Subban the last two seasons may still be trying to wash away the disappointment. But for someone who hasn’t relied on him since his days in Montreal, I figured a D-man who’s averaging close to 27 minutes a night and extensively participating on both special-teams groups on a rising squad is worth a short-term shot. Subban found the scoresheet Tuesday with an assist and complemented that with three shots, two hits, and two blocks.
Erik Gustafsson, PHI (24 percent)
Gustafsson struck for two PPAs on his Philly debut Opening Night and contributed another helper against Buffalo, but has also been criticized for his defensive play. Without Shayne Gostisbehere, who might not be much of a factor when he returns, the Flyers remain light on right-sided offensive blueliners. That makes Gustafsson an essential piece of the attacking puzzle from the back end.
Rasmus Andersson, CGY (13 percent)
If you haven’t been following the Flames, you may have missed the fact that Andersson now skates on the top power play (including 8:09 there Monday). Mark Giordano’s career is winding down, so it was inevitable a lead successor would have to be found soon. Whether Andersson can be the next big producer has yet to be seen, but they’re at least providing him the opportunity.
Matt Murray, OTT (49 percent)
Murray was eventually nudged out of Pittsburgh by Tristan Jarry and headed to the Canadian capital with a clear path to the No. 1 job. The two-time Cup champ has allowed three or more goals in all three starts, but they’ve been against tough attacking teams. While Ottawa’s D isn’t the strongest, Murray should continue to receive most of the work while earning a few wins and accumulating plenty of saves.
Jonathan Bernier, DET (4 percent)
Being a goalie in Detroit used to be a sweet gig. It’s not terrible now, though the Wings’ rebuild has significantly shuffled the back line. Bernier enters his third year with the club and produced reasonable numbers (2.95 GAA, .907 save percentage last season). Thomas Greiss (12 percent in Yahoo) was brought in as another veteran option and has looked solid (2.59/.930 in two appearances), but Bernier is the one who’s picked up the two Ws. The duo works better as a streaming option, but I’m going to tout Bernier due to his lower roster coverage.
Other players to consider: Dylan Strome, Anthony Duclair, Kevin Hayes, Pavel Buchnevich, Devon Toews, Josh Morrissey, Noah Dobson, MacKenzie Blackwood
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