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Fantasy All-Access: Coyotes' Hanzal on waiver wire

by Sean McCullen / Arizona Coyotes

Every Monday, NHL.com staff writer Sean McCullen identifies potential waiver-wire pickups, and points out lineup moves and schedule impacts for fantasy hockey.

Four of the NHL's top players saw their early-season struggles continue in Week 2 of the fantasy schedule.

Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were held without a point in two games after they combined for two assists in the first five games for the struggling Anaheim Ducks (1-5-1). Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek hasn't scored a goal and has three assists in seven games after he was fourth in the NHL in scoring in 2014-15 (81 points). Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask allowed five goals in an overtime loss to the Flyers in his only start; he's 1-3-1 with a 4.40 goals-against average and .854 save percentage in five games.

It wasn't all bad for the fantasy elite.

After being held without a point through five games during the elongated Week 1, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby rebounded with a goal, two assists and 15 shots on goal in three games. Flyers captain Claude Giroux scored two goals against the Bruins on Wednesday, including the OT winner on the power play, to equal his point output in Philadelphia's first five games.

Even Sergei Bobrovksy, who started the season 0-6-0, got a win. The Columbus Blue Jackets earned their first victory of the season, 4-3 against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, thanks in part to the 27-year-old goaltender's 31 saves.

WAIVER-WIRE WATCH

Martin Hanzal, C, Arizona Coyotes (Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues) -- Despite the fact that Hanzal's nine assists were tied for the NHL lead through Saturday, he was owned in one-third of Yahoo leagues. That number should continue to climb so long as he's playing between talented rookies Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. Although he has not scored a goal, Hanzal has a plus-4 rating, 15 SOG and 10 hits to go with his nine assists for those of you in leagues using those statistical categories.

Marcus Johansson C/LW/RW, Washington Capitals (17 percent owned) -- Not only is Johansson the rare player Yahoo has given eligibility at all three forward positions, but he plays for the Capitals, and it looks like they're going to score a lot of goals (4.14 per game in their 6-1-0 start). Johansson has been at left wing with center Nicklas Backstrom and right wing Justin Williams on Washington's second line since Backstrom returned to the lineup Oct. 17. He has two goals and three assists, including a goal and an assist in the past two games. Although he has only one power-play goal, he's going to get his chances on the man-advantage; he's averaging 2:42 PP TOI per game so far.

Anders Lee, C, New York Islanders (38 percent owned) -- Lee, who had 25 goals in 2014-15, his first full NHL season, is averaging 3:01 per game on the Islanders power play and has five points (two goals) through eight games. The 25-year-old plays with John Tavares -- at least he did before being moved to the second line with Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday -- so he's going to score and score often.

Nick Bjugstad, C, Florida Panthers (42 percent owned) -- With Aleksander Barkov expected to miss time because of a hand injury, Bjugstad is centering Florida's top line between Jonathan Huberdeau and Jaromir Jagr. He had a goal and an assist Saturday against the Dallas Stars in his first game after receiving the promotion-by-injury; he played 17:51 after averaging 14:57 the first seven games. After establishing career highs with 24 goals and 43 points in 72 games in 2014-15, Bjugstad has three goals and three assists, a plus-3 rating and 17 SOG.

Nail Yakupov, LW/RW, Edmonton Oilers (62 percent owned) -- Most considered the No. 1 pick of the 2012 NHL Draft a bust after his first three NHL seasons (42 goals, 46 assists in 192 games), but Yakupov is averaging 0.88 points per game so far this season. Some of the credit for the uptick has to go to his playing with rookie phenom Connor McDavid, but it's not all about McDavid. Yakupov began to blossom toward the end of 2014-15, when he had nine goals and 11 assists in the final 29 games.

LINE CHANGES

- Crosby started the season with Phil Kessel and Chris Kunitz on his wings. On Saturday, he was playing at 5-on-5 with Patric Hornqvist and Pascal Dupuis, the result of coach Mike Johnston sliding right wing Phil Kessel down to Evgeni Malkin's line. Crosby will get his, for sure, but the 100-point season many envisioned when Kessel was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1 isn't going to happen.

- Radim Vrbata is back on the Vancouver Canucks' top line with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin. After going without a point through six games, Vrbata had a goal and an assist in his first game back with his 2014-15 linemates. If you picked up Brandon Sutter because he was playing with the Sedins, you should drop him now that he's not.

- It's hard to say what's going on with the Ducks' top line because, well, it's hard to say what's going on with the Ducks, who are 1-5-1 and have been shut out four times. Coach Bruce Boudreau started the season with Getzlaf and Perry playing on different lines but reunited them for Anaheim's second game. Then he split them up again. On Saturday, Getzlaf was playing between Mike Santorelli and Chris Stewart, and Perry was playing next to Rickard Rakell and opposite Patrick Maroon. Although I'm unsure what that means for the Ducks, I do know what it means for owners of Getzlaf and Perry, and it's not good.

- With Blues forwards Paul Stastny and Jaden Schwartz each out an extended period because of injury, the "STL Line" of Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera has been reunited.

SCHEDULE NOTES

Resting Rangers: The Ducks, Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning and Winnipeg Jets each will play four games this week.

The New York Rangers will play one, and the Los Angeles Kings two. The rest of the League has three games.

Tough road to hoe: Things won't get any easier for Getzlaf, Perry and the Ducks this week. They visit the Blackhawks on Monday, the Stars on Tuesday and the Blues on Thursday.

Go west: Max Pacioretty and the undefeated Canadiens (9-0-0) will play all four games this week on the road, beginning with three in Western Canada (Canucks, Tuesday; Oilers, Thursday; and Flames, Friday) and ending at the Jets on Sunday. Pacioretty's seven goals are tied for second in the League (Jaime Benn, Stars; Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild).

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