Fantasy Spin: Grabner among sizzling waiver options
Many fantasy owners have already reaped the benefits of waiver wire pickups less than a week into the young season. With injuries piling up (Scott Hartnell, Joffrey Lupul, etc.) and a jam-packed Thursday night of NHL action now in the books, here are three forwards that fantasy owners should be conscious of based on their consistent production during the opening week of the NHL season.
The offensive clinic that rookie Vladimir Tarasenko and Andy McDonald have put on in the early going can be attributed to the stellar play of Steen (owned in 14 percent of Yahoo! leagues), St. Louis' second-line center. Through four games, Steen has assisted on four goals and seen nearly two and a half minutes per game on the man advantage (1 PPP). He also sports a plus-4 rating and is second on the team in shots on goal (14), behind only Tarasenko (16). After playing in only 43 games last season for the Blues due to recovering from a concussion, the dual-eligible forward has returned to form in a hurry -- a trend that fantasy owners searching for offense should latch onto.
A night after posting a hat trick against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Sullivan (6 percent) cashed in on a golden 5-on-3 opportunity against the Sharks on Thursday. He also added an assist in the game, giving him five points in four games. Logging an average of 3:14 minutes per game on the power play, Sullivan is clearly being featured in the Coyotes' offense after a strong season in Pittsburgh last year. While his rating (minus-3) has been nothing to brag about thus far, he definitely warrants a look in deep fantasy leagues based on PPP (3) production alone.
Grabner (7 percent) has hit the ground running from a fantasy standpoint in 2012-13. After enduring significant drop-offs in goal-scoring (34 to 20) and rating (plus-13 to minus-18) last season, Grabner has reeled off five points (3G, 2A) with a plus-4 rating, 2 PPP and 10 SOG for the 2-1-0 Isles this season. With a revitalized Brad Boyes and maturing Frans Nielsen working alongside him on the team's secondary unit, Grabner is becoming a more valued commodity by the day.