Fantasy NHL – Red-hot Alex Killorn tops the week’s best waiver-wire finds

NHL


Every week we’ll mine the waiver wire for widely available assets to help your fantasy hockey squad, whether you favor dynasty or the re-draft format, and we’ll also toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who might be overvalued — in the short or long term — for one reason or another.


Forwards

Alex Killorn, LW, Tampa Bay Lightning (24.1 percent)

On a tear with five goals and five assists in six games, Killorn easily merits his current semi-permanent spot within Tampa’s dangerous top six. Exploit the 28-year-old in all formats as long as he remains hot on a scoring line and top power play with Nikita Kucherov. The sixth-year skater has enjoyed these explosive upswings for periods in the past.

Timo Meier, RW/LW, San Jose Sharks (4.4 percent)

The young sophomore has been on a nice run of late, racking up three goals and two assists in five games. Skating alongside an inspired Joe Pavelski, who is flourishing at center in recent games, has served Meier well. The 21-year-old is also seeing regular minutes with the Sharks’ secondary power play. He has value in deeper leagues.

Ryan Dzingel, C/RW/LW, Ottawa Senators (2.4 percent)

Despite shifting around the Senators’ lineup of late, Dzingel has been one of the club’s steadier producers, collecting one goal and five assists in five contests. Fantasy managers in deeper leagues can likely bank on a consistent top-six role for the versatile forward if a skater or two — say, wingers Mike Hoffman or Zack Smith — are moved ahead of the trade deadline.

Artturi Lehkonen, LW/RW, Montreal Canadiens (1.9 percent)

After scoring thee goals and two assists in three games on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher, Lehkonen is now earning the chance to skate on a top unit with Max Pacioretty. A daily fantasy asset or injury plug in the short term, the 22-year-old sophomore is also one to watch as an investment in deep keeper and dynasty leagues.

Evan Rodrigues, RW, Buffalo Sabres (0.3 percent)

After skating with Jack Eichel in recent play, Rodrigues has since shifted to replace Buffalo’s injured top center on a scoring line with Evander Kane and Kyle Okposo. That’s a promising yet volatile position with Kane on the organization’s trade block. Still, the 24-year-old deserves monitoring as the totally-out-of-it Sabres look to play loose down the stretch.


Defensemen

Brady Skjei, New York Rangers (18.4 percent)

With Ryan McDonagh joining Kevin Shattenkirk on the injured shelf, Skjei takes over full ownership of the quarterback position on the Rangers’ No. 1 power play. A promising, young asset to build around while GM Jeff Gorton endeavors to retool for the future, Skjei should see additional minutes and quality opportunities in the season’s waning weeks. The 23-year-old sophomore has an assist in each of McDonagh’s two missed games thus far, including one with the extra skater. Even once recovered from his upper-body injury, the Rangers’ captain could move ahead of the Feb. 26 trade deadline. At minimum, Skjei, an RFA-to-be, should be spoken for in most dynasty/keeper leagues.

Michael Matheson, Florida Panthers (3.3 percent)

The 2012 first-round draft selection is making some noise with the extra skater of late, collecting three power-play points, plus another goal and assist, in his past six games. Managers in deeper leagues and grand prize pool DFS competitors should be particularly interested in Matheson, who’s developing into a steady top-four defenseman for the Panthers during this hot streak.


Goaltenders

Anton Khudobin, Boston Bruins (15.8 percent)

Featured here last week as a one-off daily fantasy asset versus the Rangers (he allowed only one goal for the 6-1 victory), Khudobin has enduring value in accordance with the rest of this month’s schedule. Two more back-to-back sets for Boston means at least two more starts for the better-than-average backup. The Bruins are in Alberta next Monday and Tuesday for tilts with the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers before traveling east to face the Toronto Maple Leafs and Sabres on Feb. 24 and 25. Starts in both Edmonton and Buffalo in particular could work very well in Khudobin’s favor.

David Rittich, Calgary Flames (7.4 percent)

Calgary’s backup takes over while No. 1 Mike Smith recovers from a recently-sustained groin injury, beginning Tuesday in Boston. While Smith is listed as day-to-day — this week’s MRI revealed the issue isn’t as serious as initially thought — Rittich could still see a decent run of starts through this week and next. With an eye to the postseason, the Flames will take extra care in allowing their No. 1 all the time he requires in making a full recovery. In limited starts, Rittich has been mostly solid during his rookie season, including an impressive 30-save win against the New Jersey Devils this past Thursday. Just one thing: Maybe wait until after Tuesday’s date with the hottest team in the NHL before enlisting the 25-year-old’s services in fantasy competition. The Bruins have been tough to beat.

Michal Neuvirth, Philadelphia Flyers (4.4 percent)

Like Smith in Calgary, Philly’s starting netminder is sidelined with a lower-body injury. Unlike the Flames’ No. 1, Brian Elliott is out for an as-yet undetermined spell after aggravating what many characterize as a chronic groin issue. Like it or not, the Flyers could be stuck with Neuvirth for a while. While Philly’s backup was superb Sunday in Vegas, stopping 38 of 39 shots for the win (a rare Knights’ loss at home), he was much shakier in two previous starts against the Lightning and Washington Capitals. Only fantasy managers desperate for goaltending help might consider a leap to Neuvirth before we get a better sense of where he’s really at right now.


Lowered expectations

Jake Guentzel, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins (71.8 percent)

Falling well short of last year’s scoring pace as a rookie, Guentzel has also fallen well out of the Penguins’ top six. Minus-16 on the season with only five points in 18 games, the 23-year-old played all of nine minutes versus the St. Louis Blues this past Sunday. Shelve or drop the fourth-liner for now.

Darcy Kuemper, G, Los Angeles Kings (19.7 percent)

Kuemper’s impressive run as the Kings’ steady go-to netminder may be nearing an end. Not only is Jonathan Quick starting to look his healthy self again, stopping 35 of 36 shots for a victory over the Panthers on Friday, but the Kings’ backup was pulled in the following game after surrendering three goals on 14 shots. The pendulum is swinging back the other way in Los Angeles as coach John Stevens again turns to Quick more often than not.



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