The fantasy significance of Mikhail Grabovski's opening-night performance went way beyond his hat trick.
The 29-year-old made a strong first impression with the man advantage, an indication that he can be an adequate replacement for Mike Ribeiro on the Washington Capitals' first power-play unit.
As a result, his time on the waiver wire has been short-lived.
Working on the Capitals' first power-play unit with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin can do wonders for Mikhail Grabovski's fantasy value. (Photo: Bill Smith/NHLI)
Grabovski (C-eligible in Yahoo Fantasy leagues) didn't take anything for granted after being bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs this summer, reeling off four points (three goals, one assist), three power-play points (two PPG, one PPA) and four shots on goal in Washington's 6-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
As many fantasy owners recall, the Capitals led the NHL in power-play percentage (26.8 percent) last season with Ribeiro, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Troy Brouwer and Mike Green running the show. But after Ribeiro cashed in on his strong campaign by signing a four-year deal with the Phoenix Coyotes on the opening day of free agency, the team needed to make a move of its own.
Washington waited until Aug. 23 to sign Grabovski, but it turned out to be better late than never for a team that desperately needed a second-line center to replace Ribeiro, who finished tied with Ovechkin for the NHL lead with 27 power-play points in 2012-13.
Grabovski logged 3:29 of power-play ice time in the season opener, a sizable difference from what he saw last season in Toronto. He averaged 1:42 of ice time with the man advantage in 2012-13 and totaled only three power-play points in 48 games -- his exact total through one contest this season.
The difference is already night and day.
From a fantasy standpoint, one game remains a small sample size for Grabovski -- but owners need to act quickly to scoop up Grabovski if they need to fill a void left by young players who didn't make their teams' opening-day rosters (i.e. Jonathan Drouin, Chris Kreider, etc.).
Grabovski's Yahoo ownership has already risen from 20 percent to 35 percent overnight, with upwards of 5,000 owners taking a flyer on the Capitals forward since the team's season opener went final on Tuesday.
In short, time is of the essence. Don't let this early-season waiver wire reinforcement pass you by.