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Fantasy waiver wire: Replacing injured goalies

Backups Antti Raanta of Rangers, Jonathan Bernier of Ducks can help fuel playoff run

by Ben Zweiman @BZweimanNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Don't let a couple of late-season injuries derail your chance of winning in the playoffs. With goaltender being such a crucial position in Yahoo standard leagues, the recent injuries to Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks have likely had a big impact on your roster. 

FANTASY COVERAGE: SCHED. GUIDE FOR PLAYOFFS | DFS PICKS: MARCH 13 | PROJ. GOALIES

Lundqvist is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a lower-body injury, which will mean the Rangers are going to ride backup Antti Raanta (52 percent owned) down the stretch. Raanta was shaky in allowing four goals on 30 shots in a 4-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, but bounced back with 23 saves in a 4-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

Video: Pete Jensen provides quality fantasy tips

The Rangers play five of their next eight games on the road, where they are 25-9-0 this season. Raanta has been stellar away from Madison Square Garden, going 10-2-0 with a 2.08 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. His ownership is already very high, but he should still be available in most shallow leagues, and is a must-add if you're in need of a goalie for the playoffs.

Gibson returned to the lineup from a lower-body injury Friday, allowing four goals on 35 shots in a 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues. He was then listed as day to day on Sunday and didn't start in the Ducks' 5-2 win against the Washington Capitals. Jonathan Bernier (20 percent owned) made his eighth start in the past nine games, making 25 saves to help defeat one of the top offenses in the NHL.

Anaheim likely will be cautious with Gibson moving forward considering their Stanley Cup Playoff aspirations. Even if Gibson does return during the week, Bernier likely will see more starts, something he has certainly earned. Bernier is more readily available than Raanta in Yahoo leagues, but his playing time isn't guaranteed. If Gibson returns, monitor his status and consider Bernier a strong streaming option if you need to pick up a win during the playoffs.

It's also worth noting that the Red Wings got Jimmy Howard (41 percent owned) back in goal Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks. The veteran made 24 saves in a 4-2 win in his first game since Dec. 20.

 

WAIVER WIRE WATCH

 

Sam Gagner, C/RW, CBJ (30 percent owned)

Gagner ended a 30-game goal drought March 4 against the Ottawa Senators and has looked a lot like the player from earlier in the season ever since. He has goals in three of his past five games, adding four assists and 11 shots on goal during a five-game point streak. Two of those points have come with the man-advantage, an area the Columbus Blue Jackets need to improve upon down the stretch. That shouldn't be hard considering the Blue Jackets' schedule is very favorable with three weeks to go in the season.

Video: BUF@CBJ: Gagner drills a slapper past Lehner for PPG

 

Michael Frolik, C/RW, CGY (19 percent owned)

The Calgary Flames are on a nine-game winning streak, so getting a piece of their forward group this late in the season is a gift. Frolik has two goals, seven assists and is plus-7 with 20 SOG during the streak, playing big minutes at right wing on the top line with Mikael Backlund and rookie forward Matthew Tkachuk. Calgary plays its next four games at home, where Frolik has 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) in 33 games. Eventually the Flames' streak will come to an end, but even after that happens, Frolik will warrant attention.

 

Jake Guentzel, C/LW (7 percent owned) and Nick Bonino, C, PIT (6 percent owned)

Guentzel was bumped down to the third line with Bonino with the Pittsburgh Penguins roster becoming a bit healthier. But the demotion has only sparked Bonino and made Guentzel a legitimate fantasy asset. Bonino has four goals, including a hat trick last Wednesday, two assists and 14 SOG in his past five games. Guentzel has three goals in his past six games, but with 20 SOG in that span. Each is playing on the Penguins' second power-play unit and Pittsburgh also has a favorable schedule; six of its final 15 games are against teams in the bottom five of the Eastern Conference.

 

Jaccob Slavin, D, CAR (5 percent owned)

Slavin has slowly transformed into a top-pairing defenseman for the Hurricanes this season. He had been riding a five-game assist streak prior to his past two games, playing a season-high 29:47 in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Slavin has done a great job covering all categories recently; he has five assists and is plus-5 with four penalty minutes and 12 SOG in his past seven games. The Hurricanes play the most games the rest of the season (17), which means more opportunities for production.

Video: CAR@NYI: Slavin beats Berube with huge slap slot

 

Brayden Point, C/RW, TBL (2 percent owned)

The Tampa Bay Lightning were hit down the middle with injuries to Tyler Johnson and Vladislav Namestnikov (each lower body). That has thrust Point into the top-line center role playing with Ondrej Palat and the lethal Nikita Kucherov. Point skated 22:11, though he was held scoreless, in a 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers on Friday. The high amount of ice time is encouraging, and it's only a matter of time before he begins to click with Kucherov, who has 10 goals in his past nine games. Point is a solid add in a deep league if you're looking for assists.

 

Other candidates: TJ Brodie, D, CGY (36 percent); Josh Bailey, LW/RW, NYI (26 percent); Tomas Tatar, LW/RW, DET (15 percent); David Savard, D, CBJ (13 percent)

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