With the playoffs approaching rapidly in most fantasy hockey formats, managers are probably scrambling to pick up the last bits of waiver-wire/free agent gems in their respective pools. Since some consider the best defense to be a good offense, it might be prudent to lock up some of fantasy hockey’s lesser known players for the stretch-run.
While picking up a player that isn’t popularly owned in Yahoo! formats is not an instant recipe for success, there are a few wingers that have been garnering attention in fantasy formats through their recent play – something that could greatly help those on the cusp of a playoff berth.
Here are some of those wingers (ordered by percent owned) and a look as to what they have been doing:
5.) Lee Stempniak (Calgary Flames – W – 25% Owned) – Stempniak’s value jumped when this article was being written as the winger went from being 24% owned in Yahoo! formats to being 25% owned. While the one percent spike doesn’t make Stempniak a player that is under 25% owned, he is still on the cusp somewhat, and his play has been speaking for itself as of late.
In his last four games, Stempniak has recorded six points (1 Goal, 5 Assists), but his point totals for the season (7 Goals, 15 Assists) have been quite impressive as well. The winger is currently one of Calgary’s better offensive producers and fantasy managers should absolutely give the forward a look, especially those in deeper formats that are in need of some scoring depth.
4.) Jiri Hudler (Calgary Flames – W – 18% Owned) – Throughout the month of March, Jiri Hudler has compiled six points (2 Goals, 4 Assists) in nine games played and is receiving his fair share of ice time in the process.
So far this season, Hudler has recorded nineteen points (6 Goals, 13 Assists), but some of those points have been recorded during the winger’s hot streaks. Fantasy managers in deeper leagues should definitely take a look to see if Hudler is available and those in shallower formats might want to monitor the forward’s production to see if he hits another hot patch and produces in spurts.
No, this list will not be full of options solely from the Calgary Flames’ roster, but it was tempting to also include Curtis Glencross, who just missed the cut.
3.) Brandon Saad (Chicago Blackhawks – W – 13% Owned) – Saad currently has fifteen points (4 Goals, 11 Assists) for the Chicago Blackhawks and his stock is steadily rising as he is getting playing time on the Blackhawks’ first line. What is more surprising here is the fact that Saad has come out of nowhere during the month of March to score eleven of his fifteen points.
Over the last ten games for the Blackhawks, Saad has been a powerful presence as he has recorded one goal and ten assists for Chicago. What is even more impressive for the young winger during this stretch is his consistency. While Saad hasn’t put up a tremendous amount of goals this season, it has been hard to keep the forward off of the scoreboard as he has only been held pointless in two March contests. Fantasy managers should certainly take a flyer on Saad while he is hot as the winger isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
2.) Jannik Hansen (Vancouver Canucks – W – 8% Owned) – Much like Brandon Saad, Hansen has been an offensive juggernaut during the month of March. Jannik Hansen has registered eleven of his eighteen points (5 Goals, 6 Assists) over the last eleven games and has only been held scoreless in four contests this month.
The young winger certainly showed signs of promise last year when he recorded 39 points for the Vancouver Canucks in 82 games, and it seems that the native of Herlev, Denmark is finally rediscovering the scoring touch that he had last season. Fantasy managers in all formats should try to snag Hansen as he has been putting up points by the boatload. The law of averages might dictate that the winger will temper his production as the season winds down, but those that take a gamble on Hansen should be handsomely rewarded.
1.) Guillaume Latendresse (Ottawa Senators – W – 2% Owned) – Latendresse has only suited up for twelve contests this season, but he has managed to put up six points (3 Goals, 3 Assists) in that span. Since his return to the Ottawa lineup, Latendresse has recorded five points (3 Goals, 2 Assists) in six games played and has registered a +3 rating.
Fantasy managers might have slept on Latendresse since he didn’t produce much during the month of January, but the wingers is certainly finding his groove right now. Managers shouldn’t hesitate to add Latendresse in any fantasy format as he is only two percent owned and is usually an offensive force when healthy. Seeing as how Latendresse has a propensity to hit the IR, fantasy managers should track his progress on a game-by-game basis to make sure that the winger is completely healthy.
Colin Wilson (Nashville Predators – C/W – 11% Owned) – Wilson would have definitely been included on this list had it not been for his current IR status.
Before he sustained his injury, Wilson was racking up points for the offensively starved Predators as he had recorded nineteen points (7 Goals, 12 Assists) in 25 games played. If Wilson were healthy right now, then he would be a surefire option for pickup, especially since he has dual-position eligibility. Fantasy managers should keep a close eye on Colin Wilson’s status even though he remains out indefinitely with an upper-body injury and should feel more than confident adding him to their respective lineups if the winger makes his return any time soon.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard (Minnesota Wild – W – 3% Owned) – Pierre-Marc Bouchard was nowhere to be found during the first two months of this abbreviated season, but the winger has finally returned. In his last four games, Bouchard has recorded seven points (1 Goal, 6 Assists) and is showing signs of offensive life. Fantasy managers in deeper formats should definitely consider adding Bouchard to their rosters, but another game or two of monitoring the forward’s production wouldn’t hurt.
** In case I missed someone who has been on a good production pace as of late feel free to leave a comment or a suggestion below!
In his third year with The Hockey Writers, Toli covers all things related to the New York Islanders. Focusing on the Islanders, the NHL Draft & draft-eligible prospect goalies, and hockey history, Toli can be contacted on Facebook by searching/messaging Toli Metter and on twitter by searching @ToliMetterTHW.