Anthony Duclair, Kevin Fiala lead weekly pickups


Every week, we’ll mine the waiver wire for lesser-rostered assets to help your squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft 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 may be overvalued – in the short- or long-term – for one reason or another.


Forwards

Anthony Duclair, LW/RW, Florida Panthers (42.1%): Skating on a top line with Aleksander Barkov and competing on the Panthers’ secondary power play, Duclair has two goals and two assists in four recent games, including a helper with the extra skater. The winger – who wowed the fantasy crowd for a stretch in Ottawa last year – is also shooting on net with greater regularity. Managers will want to take advantage of the streaky forward’s current rate of productivity when the going is good.

Kevin Fiala, C/LW/RW, Minnesota Wild (40.4%): If it wasn’t for one unselfish pass in the third period, Fiala was likely to earn a hat-trick in Saturday’s 5-1 victory over the Ducks. Instead he only has six goals to show for his most recent seven games (interrupted by a substantial break). The 24-year-old winger finally appears to be humming along on a forward line with Joel Eriksson Ek. When hot, Fiala is one of my favorite under-radar fantasy assets. And he’s hot right now.

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Kevin Fiala records two goals in the Wild’s 5-1 win over the Ducks.

Nico Hischier, C, New Jersey Devils (38.3%): He’s back. After sitting out the first 11 games of the season (leg injury/COVID-19), the Devils’ new captain is two games to the good as a top-six center and contributor on the No. 1 power play. It won’t be long before the 22-year-old – now in his fourth NHL season – gets down to the business of putting points on the board. The Devils are scheduled to face the Sabres Tuesday and Thursday before hosting the Capitals twice over the weekend.

Eric Staal, C, Buffalo Sabres (25.8%): The Sabres are scheduled to play five games this week, perhaps setting the stage for a potential (and overdue) breakout from Taylor Hall. If not now, when? And while the underperforming-at-present talent is largely spoken for across the ESPN.com fantasy spectrum, his center remains widely available. No stranger to scoring himself, Staal also has to be better for his new squad. The veteran is worth a roll of the dice this action-packed week, in any case.

Martin Necas, C/RW, Carolina Hurricanes (22.3%): There’s already a lot to like about the Hurricanes’ second line and Vincent Trocheck, Nino Niederreiter and Necas are just going to get better the more they gel. This trio has a combined 15 points in their past five games, including a goal and four assists to Necas’ credit. The 12th overall pick (2017) is destined to be a point-per-game player at some stage. Perhaps sooner rather than later.

See also: Brock Nelson, New York Islanders

Defenders

Nick Leddy, New York Islanders (23.4%): Five of his nine points on the year have counted on the power play. Beyond that, there isn’t too much to get jazzed about Leddy as an asset. But he’s a steady blue-line body, who’s good for a couple of fantasy points, game in and game out. As such, there’s a place for the 29-year-old in deeper, scoring-driven leagues.

Calvin de Haan, Chicago Blackhawks (17.0%): The top-four blueliner ranks third overall in the league in blocked-shots and 12th among defensemen in hits. By no means a prolific scorer, de Haan’s due to see a modest increase in that department as well. But the odd assist here and there should just serve as a premium. De Haan only merits deliberation as an asset in deeper leagues that reward defensive and physical play.

Goaltenders

Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus Blue Jackets (35.7%): Truthfully, this fantasy commendation is half-hearted at best. But with Elvis Merzlikins out indefinitely (upper-body injury), it’s time for Korpisalo to step up.

Inconsistent to this point, the 26-year-old netminder has to be better if the Blue Jackets are to entertain any thought of reaching the playoffs. He’s going to play a ton, starting with this week’s two-game set against the Blackhawks, followed by a pair of contests in Nashville. Fantasy managers desperate for decent netminding might consider rolling the dice on Korpisalo pulling himself together and rising to the occasion.

Lowered expectations

Adam Henrique, Anaheim Ducks (55.7%): If the four points in 16 games doesn’t suffice in turning off fantasy managers, his clearing waivers should. It’s hard to believe the top-six center led the Ducks in scoring just last year. While Henrique is likely to turn it around at some point, that day isn’t today. Drop him for someone competing on an active NHL roster.



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