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Gagner, Hodgson among trending waiver wire targets

by Pete Jensen

The waiver wire is an ever-changing medium that gives fantasy owners a chance to bolster their rosters at any time. Last Friday, Michael Grabner led the list of key names for owners to consider, but as we close in on the two-week mark since the season began, there an entirely new batch of trending players to take note of.

Sam Gagner
Center - EDM
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 8
SOG: 19 | +/-: -3
More injuries have piled up over the past few days (Jason Spezza, Ryan Callahan, etc.), so here's an updated list of 10 fantasy assets floating around in both deep and shallow leagues that can pay dividends moving forward.

Sam Gagner (C/RW, Edmonton Oilers)

-Often overlooked because he's situated amongst an array of emerging young forwards in Edmonton, Gagner has made an early statement from a fantasy standpoint with eight points, 10 PIMs and 19 SOG in seven games. The 23-year-old has also logged nearly four minutes per game with the man advantage, displaying proficiency in those situations (5 PPP) for a power-play unit that sports the NHL's third-best conversion percentage (31.4). The dual-eligible forward has been the trendiest fantasy player in the League over the past two days in Yahoo! leagues (over 5,000 adds during that span), so be sure to snatch him while you still can.

Cody Hodgson (C/RW, Buffalo Sabres)

Cody Hodgson
Center - BUF
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 6
SOG: 24 | +/-: 0
-The Sabres' top line of Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Hodgson has kicked its production into high gear through seven games, with both the Vanek-Pominville (9 G with both players registering a point) and Vanek-Hodgson (5 G) point pairs ranking among the League leaders. Hodgson only scored three goals in 20 games with Buffalo after being traded by the Vancouver Canucks before the deadline last season, but has already eclipsed that total with four in 2012-13. Fresh off a three-point night in Thursday's win over the Boston Bruins, Hodgson (6 points, 4 PIMs, 24 SOG) warrants much more ownership than he currently holds in Yahoo! leagues (39 percent).

Matt Frattin (RW, Toronto Maple Leafs)

-Among players with four-plus goals on the season, Frattin (6 points, plus-2, 7 SOG, 6 hits in 4 games) leads the NHL in shooting percentage (57.1). He may only be a third-liner, but he's producing in droves alongside Nazem Kadri, who has been a point-per-game player thus far for Toronto. Only owned in seven percent of Yahoo! leagues, Frattin has three goals in his last two games and could potentially emerge as a top-six forward for the team if he continues to produce at such a torrid pace.

Tom Gilbert (D, Minnesota Wild)

Tom Gilbert
Defense - MIN
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 6
SOG: 12 | +/-: 0
-Gilbert (owned in 12 percent of Yahoo! leagues) is seeing nearly three minutes of power-play ice time per game for the Wild, who are currently tied for the most points in the Northwest Division standings. He has a track record of producing points at a high level (45 in 2008-09 for Edmonton), but his numbers have been on the decline ever since. Based on his production through seven games (6 points, 4 PIMs, 1 PPP, 12 SOG), the 30-year-old is on the cusp of emerging as a commodity on the blue line in deep fantasy leagues, so make sure to take advantage of this early notice.

Brad Boyes (C/RW, New York Islanders)

-In Thursday's win over the Devils, Boyes (6 points in 7 games) capped his second multi-point game of the season by scoring the overtime-winning goal. He's skating on a line with Grabner and Frans Nielsen, establishing a noticeable comfort level with his new team after a disappointing stint with the Sabres last year. Only possessed by owners in five percent of leagues, Boyes is logging a tad over three minutes of power-play ice time per game and already has four points to show for himself with the man advantage. While he will likely never again reach elite goal-scoring numbers (43 G in 2007-08), the Isles' second-line wing certainly holds some value in deep fantasy leagues.

Additional waiver wire options to consider: Sami Salo (TBL), Patrik Berglund (STL), Brendan Gallagher (MTL), Mika Zibanejad (OTT), Nick Johnson (PHX)


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