Every Monday, NHL.com staff writer Sean McCullen identifies potential waiver-wire pickups, and points out lineup moves and schedule impacts for fantasy hockey.
A disappointing start to the 2015-16 season for some of the top players in the NHL has fantasy owners contemplating moves that can get their team back on track in Week 2.
Sidney Crosby, a top-five draft pick in just about every league, was held without a point through the Pittsburgh Penguins' first five games, matching the longest such streak of his NHL career.
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner, is 0-5-0 with a 5.07 goals-against average and .835 save percentage after being drafted in the fifth round on average in Yahoo leagues.
Anaheim Ducks forwards Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf have a total of two points (no goals) between them through five games. They had none before each earned an assist in the Ducks' 4-1 win against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. The Ducks were shut out in three of their first four games and scored one goal in the other. That's not exactly good news for fantasy owners who invested a top-25 pick on Perry or Getzlaf.
Fortunately for those of you who own those players, or others who have underperformed through the first 12 days of the season, there are plenty of options available to bolster your team's production.
Artemi Panarin, LW, Chicago Blackhawks (owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues) –
Left Wing - CHI
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 7
SOG: 16 | +/-: 4
The 23-year-old Russian rookie is playing on Chicago's second line with Patrick Kane
and Artem Anisimov
. Not only that, but he's seeing power-play time, and lots of it (3:05 per game), making him a must-add at this point. Panarin has two goals, five assists, 16 shots on goal and a plus-four rating through his first six NHL games. The puck seems to find him. It's shocking he is owned in half of all Yahoo leagues. That won't last long.
Aleksander Barkov, C, Florida Panthers (28 percent owned) – Barkov has three goals, three assists, a plus-2 rating and 17 SOG through five games playing between Jaromir Jagr and left wing Jonathan Huberdeau, looking very much like the player Florida thought it was getting when it selected him with the No. 2 pick of the 2013 NHL Draft. Jagr, 43, has had a very positive impact on Barkov; the 20-year-old Finn has 10 goals and 11 assists in 26 games (0.81 points per game) since Jagr's first game with the Panthers on Feb. 28.
Max Domi, C, Arizona Coyotes (53 percent owned) – With two highlight-reel goals last week, Domi certainly is on the radar of hockey fans everywhere. The 20-year-old has three goals, three assists, a plus-4 rating and 16 SOG in five games for the Coyotes. For those of you who can still pick him up, do so as quickly as possible.
Tomas Hertl, C/LW, San Jose Sharks (26 percent owned) – Hertl is in line for top-six minutes with center Logan Couture out 4-6 weeks after sustaining a fractured right fibula at the ankle during practice in New Jersey on Thursday. Hertl, who has two goals, an assist and 13 SOG through five games, averaged 16:10 of ice time in two games as second-line center between Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward since Couture's injury.
Francois Beauchemin, D, Colorado Avalanche (46 percent owned) – With fellow Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie still to serve two of his three-game suspension for an illegal hit against Ducks defenseman Simon Despres, Beauchemin will be called on to pick up some of the offensive slack on Colorado's blue line. The 35-year-old has five assists, including two on the power play, and 13 SOG through five games playing on the Avalanche's top pair with Erik Johnson.
Center - VAN
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 5
SOG: 17 | +/-: 4
Last week, Brandon Sutter
(C, Vancouver Canucks
, 18 percent owned) was included in "Waiver-Wire Watch," mostly because he started the season playing right wing on a line with Daniel Sedin
and Henrik Sedin
. An injury to rookie center Jared McCann
caused Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins to move Sutter back to his natural center position Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers
. It remains to be seen whether Sutter stays at center on the third line or rejoins the Sedins on the top line once McCann returns to the lineup. Sutter is not worth owning if he's not playing with the Sedins.
Busy Rangers – The New York Rangers have four games this week (Oct. 19-25), including three at Madison Square Garden. The Avalanche, Blackhawks, Canucks, Ducks, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets each play two, and the rest of the League has three.
Tough stretch for Sid – If Crosby is going to break out of his scoring funk, he's going to have to do it against some stiff competition. This week, the Penguins play the Panthers, Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators, who are a combined 11-4-0 and are allowing 1.80 goals per game (T-5th in the League). Crosby was held without a shot in Pittsburgh's season opener against Dallas. Although it's almost never a good idea to bench Crosby, this week might not be a bad time to do it if you're loaded at center.
Rest vs. rust – The Philadelphia Flyers will have had five days off before they host the Stars on Tuesday. They defeated the Blackhawks 3-0 at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday.