Every Monday, NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.
Thanksgiving is a time for family, food, faceoffs and a chance to reflect on what we are most thankful for. In the fantasy world we are thankful for all the great top line combinations; from the "STL Line" to "That 70's Line" to the top-line threats of the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators.
These trios have been supplying fantasy owners with plenty of points. We are also thankful for the Calgary Flames defense. The top four of Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell have combined for 60 points, were all drafted in low rounds or plucked of waiver wires, and have been gravy for fantasy teams. Lastly, we are thankful for Darcy Kuemper, who was drafted on average in the 13th round but is making saves as easy as pie.
FANTASY HOCKEY ANALYSIS
The 2014-15 NHL season is in full swing, so NHL.com has you covered with weekly fantasy hockey positional rankings, real-time spin updates and waiver wire advice.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Tomas Tatar (owned in 29 percent of Yahoo Leagues) – The 23-year-old is one of the hottest players in the League with points in five straight games and five goals during that stretch. The left wing is tied for the Detroit Red Wings lead with nine goals and has formed a great scoring second line with Riley Sheahan and Justin Abdelkader. Detroit has four games this week (OTT, PHI, @NJD, VAN) and we expect Tatar's red hot play to continue.
Jake Muzzin (owned in 46 percent of Yahoo Leagues) – Muzzin missed the first six games with an upper-body injury but has been making up for lost time. He is on a career-high four-game assist streak and has three multi-point performances in his past seven games. If you are in a league that includes shots on goal he provides an added bonus with 296 career shots in 147 career games played. The Kings have three games this week (@NSH, @MIN, CHI) and even with games against good defensive teams expect Muzzin to keep putting up points and shots.
Michael Hutchinson (owned in 11 percent of Yahoo Leagues) – The Winnipeg Jets goaltending has been a pleasant surprise and a big reason for the turnaround has been the play of Hutchinson. The rookie has won five of his first nine starts over two seasons and has a sparkling .946 career save percentage. Winnipeg has three games this week (@CBJ, @BUF, @BOS) and with back-to-back games against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres, Hutchinson makes for a great spot start this week. He could also gain more starts down the road. Ondrej Pavelec has a .884 save percentage in his past 5 starts.
Light week – With the holiday week upon us it will be a light week for some NHL teams. This week a season-high six teams play only two games, the Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs. Stay away from these teams when looking for waiver wire finds. On the other side of the spectrum the Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins each have four games scheduled, so check those teams for hidden gems.
Backup plan –
Defense - DAL
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 6
SOG: 8 | +/-: 3
Another nuance of the holiday schedule is with one game each Thursday and Sunday 23 of the 45 games (51.1 percent) are scheduled for Friday and Saturday. On those days 14 teams are scheduled for a back-to-back. Pay attention to some backup goalies that could get a spot start Friday or Saturday.
John Klingberg – The 2010 NHL Draft for the Stars was highlighted with taking goalie Jack Campbell at No. 11, but as Campbell continues to develop, Klingberg, the 131st player taken that draft, is making a big impact this season. The 22-year-old defenseman from Gothenburg, Sweden, has six points in his first seven NHL games, playing more than 20 minutes in all but one of those games. The 6-foot-2 right-hand is coming off double hip surgery but his hot start in the AHL (12 points in 10 GP) and NHL show that he is ready to take center stage and should be on your fantasy radar.