Editor’s Note: This feature, which recaps the past week in fantasy hockey, will run every Sunday on NESN.com throughout the regular season.
The second month of the 2014-15 NHL season has been kinder to some of the league’s top stars.
Players selected in the first two rounds of many fantasy hockey drafts, such as Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, finally are producing at the level expected of them. Fantasy owners who were loyal to these players should continue to be rewarded.
Let’s recap the best and worst of the past week in fantasy hockey, and take a look at three players owners should add to their roster from the waiver wire.
Filip Forsberg, Winger, Nashville Predators
The Washington Capitals must regret trading the talented Swedish winger more and more with each passing week. Forsberg arguably is the front-runner for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. He has tallied eight points (five goals, three assists) during his current five-game point streak. Forsberg is an integral part of a Predators team that is playing very well for new offensive-minded head coach Peter Laviolette.
Claude Giroux & Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
Giroux has tallied two goals and seven assists in his last nine games, while Voracek’s totaled four goals and 11 assists in the past eight games. Voracek ranks second behind Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby in scoring (21 points) and assists (16). Fantasy owners should start as many top-nine forwards on the Flyers as possible.
Phil Kessel, Winger, Toronto Maple Leafs
Kessel ranks fourth in scoring with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 14 games. In five games last week, the Leafs forward scored three goals with six assists and a plus-3 rating. He’s rewarding fantasy owners who drafted him in Round 1.
Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist, Pittsburgh Penguins
Crosby leads the league in scoring with 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in 13 games. He also has 12 power-play points and a plus-6 rating. Crosby has picked up 10 assists in his last five games, five of which were earned Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres. His linemate Patric Hornqvist has settled in nicely to the Penguins offense after being acquired from Nashville at the 2014 NHL draft. Hornqvist has scored four goals with two assists in his last four games.
Mikko Koivu, Center, Minnesota Wild
The Wild captain has scored one goal in his last five games and has just three points (two goals, one assist) in 13 games overall. He’s also posted zero power-play points and an even plus/minus. Koivu is scoreless in his last three games.
Justin Williams, Winger, Los Angeles Kings
The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner was expected to be a reliable fantasy winger after a fantastic performance during the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. That hasn’t been the case through 14 games of the 2014-15 campaign. Williams has one point (an assist) in his last five games, and has scored one goal with two assists and a minus-1 rating in 14 games. The veteran forward is in the midst of a 10-game goalless drought.
Kari Lehtonen, Goaltender, Dallas Stars
A good portion of Dallas’ recent struggles can be attributed to the underwhelming performance from starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen. The Finnish netminder is 0-3-2 in his last five games and gave up three or more goals in four of those losses. He’s 4-3-4 with a lackluster 2.94 goals against average and a .904 save percentage in 11 appearances.
Waiver Wire Pickups
Derick Brassard, Center, New York Rangers
Brassard has scored two goals with six assists in his last five games. He’s playing in a top-six role and is proving to be a consistent scorer with at least one point in five of the last seven games. Brassard still is a reliable option for fantasy owners even though Rangers No. 1 center Derek Stepan has returned to the lineup after missing the start of the season because of an injury.
Nick Bonino, Center, Vancouver Canucks
Bonino was the best player Vancouver acquired from the Anaheim Ducks as part of the Ryan Kesler trade in June. The veteran forward has scored two goals with an assist and a plus-3 rating in his last three games as a top-six center. He should be owned and started in all types of fantasy leagues.
Brad Richards, Center, Chicago Blackhawks
Richards started the season slow, but he’s scored two goals with an assist in his last four games. Top-six forward Patrick Sharp will be out of the Blackhawks lineup for the next three to four weeks because of an injury, so expect Richards to play a more important role in Chicago’s offense. He’s worth a pickup for fantasy owners lacking depth and/or scoring at center.
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