Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fantasy Hockey Wavier Wire pickups

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries continue to pile up for fantasy owners, as Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza is now literally hurting fantasy owners.
Spezza will be sidelined for about two months after having surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back. So, what should fantasy owners do now? You guessed it, hit the waiver wire.
Constantly surfing the waiver wire is the difference between winning and losing your leagues. Even if you don’t have to replace an injured guy like Spezza or Scott Hartnell, fantasy owners should always look to add more depth to their roster, while preventing the opposition from improving at the same time. Who’s stock is rising and needs to be owned? Let’s find out.

Cody Hodgson, Buffalo Sabres: Hodgson has a tremendous opportunity to be a big time fantasy producer. He doesn’t have any groundbreaking skills, however he is very solid in all areas. The 22-year old has a great hockey intelligence, terrific hands and sees the ice very well. That all helps immensely when playing on the first line with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Vanek is leading the league in points scored this season, which should have a positive fantasy impact on Hodgson. This first line is arguably one of the best fantasy lines in hockey and Hodgson could post terrific numbers in 2013.

Daniel Briere, Philadelphia Flyers: When healthy, Briere can light the lamp as good as almost anyone in the league. Well guess what? He’s healthy and will join Claude Giroux on the team’s top line, which will bolster anyone’s fantasy value. Giroux sees the ice better than anyone in the game and will give Briere plenty of scoring opportunities. Briere positions himself behind the net quite often, making him a threat to score every time he touches the puck. If someone dropped him while he was out toward the beginning of the year, grab him and grab him now.

Joel Ward, Washington Capitals: Believe it or not, Ward is the Capital’s leading goal scorer through seven games. No, seriously. With four goals and two assists, Ward is putting together an unexpected hot start. Many believe he will not keep this pace up, which is understandable, considering he isn’t a natural goal scorer. However, you simply cannot argue with the results. Who knows? The combination of playing on a line with one of the game’s better playmakers in Mike Ribeiro and playing under an offensive oriented head coach in Adam Oates, maybe Ward can continue to produce offensively.

Matt Frattin, Toronto Maple Leafs: Don’t look now, but the Maple Leafs actually have some promising offensive production. Frattin has been on a tear in the four games he’s played, scoring four goals and two assists. The intriguing aspect? His four goals are coming off just seven shots, so he is clearly taking advantage of his opportunity. Frattin has the skills to be a top six sniper and injuries have soared him up the depth chart.

Adam Henrique, New Jersey Devils: If anyone dropped Henrique toward the start of the season because of his thumb injury, they aren’t very intelligent. Okay, maybe that was bit rude, but take advantage of it. Henrique made his season debut on Thursday night and wasted no time lighting the lamp. It appears he will play on the top line with offensive juggernaut Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac, which makes him a very appealing fantasy option. We all saw what the 22-year old did last season and now that he is on the team’s first unit, we may see how good Henrique can really be.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy hockey/football columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

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