Every Monday, NHL.com staff writer Sean McCullen identifies potential waiver-wire pickups and points out lineup moves and schedule impacts for fantasy hockey.
The Tampa Bay Lightning enter the week 22nd in the NHL in goals per game (2.42).
As improbable as it is that they’re in the bottom-third in the League in scoring in mid-November, it’s just as unlikely they’ll be outside the top 10 at the end of the season. There’s too much talent on that roster.
Now is the time to pounce, whether it be in a trade or on waivers, and ride the Lightning to fantasy glory.
Forward Ondrej Palat will miss the next 2-4 weeks because of a left-ankle injury. That’s a bad break for the Lightning, but it has opened up some solid possibilities for fantasy owners in need of a boost, including two players in the Waiver-Wire Watch for Week 6.
Vladislav Namestnikov, C, Tampa Bay Lightning (1 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) — Namestnikov scored two goals Saturday playing with Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan, his second game on the Lightning’s top line. He has five goals, three assists and 22 shots on goal in 19 games. One negative is the 22-year-old hasn’t seen any power-play time since the promotion. If that changes he’s definitely worth adding.
Brock Nelson, C, New York Islanders (8 percent owned) — Nelson has been producing since coach Jack Capuano moved him to left wing on the New York Islanders‘ top line with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo at the start of their three-game California trip last week. He had two goals, two assists, a plus-2 rating and 10 shots on goal on the trip. In 18 games this season he has five goals and five assists.
Boone Jenner, C, Columbus Blue Jackets (16 percent owned) — Jenner is tied for fifth in the NHL with nine goals. And after going the first 10 games without an assist, he has four in the past eight, including three in three games last week. Jenner is trending up, as are the Blue Jackets, who have won six of 10 since their 0-8-0 start.
Alex Killorn, C/LW, Tampa Bay Lightning (9 percent owned) — Killorn has two assists and five shots on goal in three games since taking Palat’s place at left wing on Tampa Bay’s second line with Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov. As an added bonus Killorn is getting power-play time; he’s averaging 2:15 per game and has two goals and one assist on the man-advantage.
Leon Draisaitl, C, Edmonton Oilers (35 percent owned) — I suggested Draisaitl as a waiver-wire add two weeks ago. If you didn’t pick him up then you probably still have a chance to do so based on his ownership in Yahoo leagues. Draisaitl has at least two points in five of the eight games he’s played with the Oilers since being recalled from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League.
Nick Holden, D, Colorado Avalanche (2 percent owned) — Colorado gets offense from its defense, and although Tyson Barrie and Erik Johnson are better-known fantasy commodities, Holden is on pace for 38 points. He hasn’t scored yet but has eight assists through 17 games. If you’re in a hits league, Holden has 43 (2.53 per game), tied for 14th among defensemen entering the week. He certainly could help fill in if one of your regular defensemen is injured.
— Pavel Datsyuk played right wing on the Detroit Red Wings‘ top line, with center Henrik Zetterberg and left wing Justin Abdelkader, in his season debut Friday against the San Jose Sharks. On Saturday against the Boston Bruins, coach Jeff Blashill had the 37-year-old centering a line with Tomas Tatar and Darren Helm.
Datsyuk played with Zetterberg and Abdelkader on Detroit’s top power-play unit, along with defensemen Mike Green and Niklas Kronwall, against San Jose. Rookie Dylan Larkin replaced him against Boston.
— Jason Spezza has six goals, seven assists and 58 shots on goal in 18 games despite seemingly having played with every forward on the Dallas Stars roster this season. He’s been second-line center, second-line right wing, and even got a turn on the top line with center Tyler Seguin and left wing Jamie Benn on Nov. 3 at the Bruins. His two-assist performance against the Bruins didn’t dissuade coach Lindy Ruff from once again moving Spezza, who’s been at right wing alongside center Cody Eakin and left wing Mattias Janmark since the end of the Nov. 6 game at the Carolina Hurricanes.
— Goals could be at a premium when the Canadiens and Islanders play a home-and-home this week, starting Friday in Brooklyn and finishing Sunday in Montreal. Although the Canadiens are second in the NHL in goals per game (3.50), they’re second at 2.11 goals-against per game; the Islanders are fifth at 2.28.
— The Buffalo Sabres‘ next four games are against the Stars and Blues. They host the Stars on Tuesday, visit St. Louis on Thursday, visit Dallas on Saturday and host the Blues next Monday.
— The surprising New Jersey Devils are 21st in the League at 2.47 goals per game, but they could improve on that number this week, when they will play three games in Western Canada. The Canucks are 14th in the NHL in goals against (2.56 per game), but the Oilers are 28th (3.22) and the Flames are 30th (3.74).