The latest trend from the waiver wire has seen defensemen become more of a commodity. For the most part the players in the top 50 among defensemen have remained the same. But toward the end there are a few names that have snuck into the conversation, including some that likely are available.
When you talk about the Philadelphia Flyers defense, the top two names likely mentioned are Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov, one a breakout star from last season and the other a rookie trying to duplicate that performance this season. But perhaps the most overlooked member of the Flyers, and the most overlooked defenseman in fantasy hockey so far, has been Brandon Manning.
Manning (13 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) is tied with Gostisbehere for the Flyers lead among defensemen with seven points. Manning has a plus-6 rating and Gostisbehere is minus-5, but Gostisbehere has 28 shots on goal to 13 for Manning, but Gostisbehere is owned in 99 percent of leagues and Manning still hasn't garnered much respect from owners through 10 games. It was understandable not to trust Manning early, but it's time for him to be picked up in most 12-team leagues and he should even get consideration in 10-team leagues.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Joonas Donskoi, RW, San Jose Sharks (35 percent owned)
Donskoi finally is getting it going playing with center Logan Couture and left wing Mikkel Boedker on the San Jose Sharks' second line. Donskoi has two goals, one assist and two power-play points during a three-game point streak and slowly is creeping up the Sharks' depth chart in terms of scoring. Their next three games come against opponents who are in the top 10 in goals-allowed per game (at Arizona Coyotes, home against the Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins), so Donskoi should continue his scoring pace.
Nick Foligno, LW/RW, Columbus Blue Jackets (24 percent owned)
One of the Columbus Blue Jackets' bright spots has been the resurgence of their captain. Foligno went from 31 goals and 73 points in 2014-15 to 12 goals and 37 points last season. Through seven games this season he has one goal and seven assists. He had three assists and was a plus-2 in the 4-0 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday and has seven shots on goal in his past two games. The Blue Jackets have a difficult schedule, but if Foligno were to start finding the back of the net, he could return to the top-100 forward conversation.
Video: CHI@CBJ: Foligno screens Crawford, nets PPG
Jeff Petry, D, Montreal Canadiens (18 percent owned)
If the Montreal Canadiens (8-0-1) keep this up, their entire roster might see a nice spike in fantasy production this season. Petry has been one of the benefactors so far with two goals, four assists and a plus-1 rating in eight games. Petry is averaging 2:30 of ice time per game on the power play, third among Canadiens defensemen, and has been a nice provider of secondary stat category coverage with 16 blocked shots.
Michael Hutchinson, G, Winnipeg Jets (13 percent owned)
It's always difficult to pinpoint goalies on the waiver wire who will provide long-term value, but Hutchinson could give you that if he starts to run away with the Winnipeg Jets' starting job. In his last start he allowed three goals on 15 shots and was pulled in a 3-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. But before that he had a 37-save shutout in a 1-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. Connor Hellebuyck is 23 and unproven, so Hutchinson, 26, likely will continue to get starts and could exceed his personal NHL career high of 38 games played.
Video: WPG@DAL: Hutchinson stops Benn, then snatches rebound
Rickard Rakell, C, Anaheim Ducks (12 percent owned)
Rakell recently signed a six-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks but has yet to be cleared for contact after having abdominal surgery in September. When he does return, he could be on the top line with Corey Perry and perhaps Nick Ritchie, bumping Ryan Getzlaf to the second line to spread the scoring, Rakell could play left wing with Getzlaf and Perry or center the second line with prominent time on the power play. Rakell had 20 goals and 43 points last season and could be a huge pickup in deeper leagues.
Damon Severson, D, New Jersey Devils (5 percent owned)
Severson has one goal and five assists in eight games, and his six points are second on the New Jersey Devils to Taylor Hall (seven points). Severson, 22, has been playing on the top pair with Andy Greene and is beginning to show flashes of his offensive ability; he had 21 points in 72 games last season, his second in the NHL. The Devils are 3-for-8 on the power play in their past three games and Severson has been manning the point on the first unit and has four power-play points this season. He has 13 shots on goal but his minus-3 rating should improve and his production will increase if the Devils continue to trend up on offense.
Other candidates: Charlie Coyle, C/RW, Minnesota Wild (24 percent); Dennis Wideman, D, Calgary Flames (18 percent); Frans Nielsen, C, Detroit Red Wings (17 percent); Jake Gardiner, D, Toronto Maple Leafs (15 percent); Dustin Brown, LW/RW, Los Angeles Kings (11 percent); Radim Vrbata, RW, Arizona Coyotes (7 percent).