Every Monday, NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.
The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings play outside at Levi's Stadium in the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA2). This budding rivalry has brought out the best in the players involved, which is music to ears of fantasy owners everywhere.
This season, Patrick Marleau paces San Jose with four points (two goals, two assists) in the three games against Los Angeles this season, in addition to 86 points (39 goals, 47 assists) in 96 career games in the rivalry. For the Kings, Anze Kopitar has four points (one goal, three assists) in the three games this season and his career 0.88 points per game (45 in 51 games) against the Sharks is the most on the current L.A. roster.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
David Desharnais, Montreal Canadiens (owned in 18 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- The Montreal Canadiens have risen to the top of the Eastern Conference after gaining points in 10 of the past 12 games. A big part of their success has been their top-line center. During the 12-game stretch, Desharnais had 11 points (three goals, eight assists), 12 shots on goal and a plus-10 while playing over 17 minutes a game. The Canadiens look to continue their hot streak with four games this week, on the road against the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators, and at home against the Florida Panthers and Columbus Blue Jackets. We expect the 28-year-old, who already has four game winning-goals this season, to continue his clutch play.
Dan Hamhuis, Vancouver Canucks (owned in 4 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- The 32-year-old is still searching for his first goal of the season but is making an impact in other fantasy areas that make him a good add for this week. The veteran defenseman's stat line the last 12 games: five assists, 10 penalty minutes, 13 hits, 8 blocked shots, plus-2 while playing over 22 minutes. The Canucks play four games with only one at home (Minnesota Wild), and three on the road (New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders). This is good news for Hamhuis, who has six of his 11 points away from home.
John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks (owned in 47 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- Patience has finally paid off for Gibson's owners this season. The injury to top goalie Frederik Andersen has opened the door of opportunity for the 21-year-old. In his three games, two starts, since being recalled Gibson has stopped 73 of the 82 shots he has faced. For his career now he is 6-3-0 with a 2.31 goals-against average and .925 save percentage, and is a must-own, especially in keeper and dynasty leagues.
Goalie - CAR
GAA: 2.69 | SVP: .903
The backup plan -- This week there are a season-high 22 scheduled back-to-back games. This could open up some opportunities for backup goalies to have added fantasy value. The Carolina Hurricanes have two back-to-backs, so keep an eye on Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin, who could each get two starts. Nine of the back-to-back sets are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, which could give an added boost to owners looking for a goalie to start at the end of the week.
Islanders busy week -- The New York Islanders have an NHL-high five games this week, which makes them a great place to find waiver wire gems. Rookie forward Anders Lee, is only owned in 27 percent of Yahoo Leagues and has the third-most goals from a freshman this season (18). Defenseman Travis Hamonic has five points in his past five games and is only owned in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues. Forward Colin McDonald, fresh off his recall from the American Hockey League, has four points in his past four games. Pick up some Islanders this week and take advantage of the full schedule.
Right Wing - NYR
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 25
SOG: 65 | +/-: 7
Kevin Hayes, New York Rangers -- This rookie is finally hitting his stride. After having only 13 points in his first 32 games as a pro, the 22-year-old has 12 points in his past 18 games, which includes his current five-game point streak. The 24th pick in the 2010 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks finished his Boston College career with 132 points in 142 games before signing a free-agent contract with the Rangers. The 6-foot-5, 224-pound power forward has great chemistry with Carl Hagelin and J.T. Miller and is a must-own in all fantasy formats.