Every week, we'll mine the waiver wire for widely available assets to help your fantasy hockey squad, whether you favor dynasty or the re-draft format, and we'll toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Then, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who might be overvalued -- in the short or long term -- for one reason or another. Additionally, starting this week, we will provide a list of players we now deem droppable in standard fantasy leagues.
A serious, and probably season-ending, knee injury suffered by Max Pacioretty means a top-line gig for Galchenyuk aside center Jonathan Drouin. The 24-year-old recently erupted for three goals and an assist in a 6-3 win over the New York Islanders. A strong finish to yet another disappointing season would benefit both Galchenyuk and the Canadiens, who are expected to continue shopping the 2012 third-round draft selection in the offseason.
A newly formed forward duo with Ryan Spooner is working out well, with the former Bruin assisting on all three of Hayes' goals in four games together. Spooner himself -- rostered in 17.7 percent of ESPN leagues -- has seven points through that quartet of contests. Playoffs or no playoffs, the Rangers aren't expected to bow out of 2017-18 quietly.
A fantasy wild card at the best of times, Ryan is currently running hot, with seven points in six games on a line with Mark Stone, who himself is riding a nine-game point streak (two goals, 12 assists). Also helpful? A quieting of all the talk about the Senators' trying to offload Ryan and his bloated contract ahead of the deadline. Such a distraction must be difficult to manage, pro athlete or not. Fantasy managers in need of an injury plug might give the 30-year-old a whirl in hopes of a strong finish to 2017-18.
On a line with Joe Pavelski and San Jose newbie Evander Kane, Donskoi is benefiting from keeping such company, with a goal and three assists in three contests. Providing underappreciated playmaking skills to that top line, the 25-year-old former Finnish pro is worth adding in deeper leagues, at least until the return of a healthy Joe Thornton. At that point, Donskoi is likely pegged for demotion.
We anticipate seeing Trouba back in the lineup next week, once the Jets are back from their six-game road trip. Fantasy managers in need of an upgrade on defense might consider acquiring the 24-year-old now, ahead of an anticipated jump in interest. Before suffering his ankle injury, Trouba collected 20 points and 129 shots in 50 games while averaging more than 22 minutes of ice time. He could factor into Winnipeg's power play as well.
Holden has an assist in each of his two games since he joined the Bruins, both of them counting with the extra skater, along with 10 shots. The loss of injured rookie Charlie McAvoy means Boston will want even more from its newest top-four defenseman. Under such circumstances, fantasy managers in all but the shallowest leagues should consider adding the 30-year-old offensive defenseman.
The towering 22-year-old blueliner offers value beyond scoring, leading the Avalanche in hits (176, ranked second overall in the West) and PIM (68). Skating a near-campaign-high 25:02 against the Nashville Predators on Sunday, the top-pair defenseman has two goals and one assist in four games, bringing his total to 18 points on the season. Zadorov has a place in deeper leagues that reward both traditional and less conventional categories.
Anton Khudobin, Boston Bruins (18.9 percent)
Khudobin serves as a solid daily fantasy selection while No. 1 Tuukka Rask takes extra time to recover from a minor lower-body injury. Boasting a .921 save percentage and 2.34 goals-against average on the season, the Bruins' backup is coming off an impressive 27-save 2-1 overtime victory over the Canadiens.
A lower-body injury suffered by No. 1 Ben Bishop means a little more Lehtonen for the time being. Running hot and cold over the course of this season, as he has for a good part of his NHL career, the Stars' backup has been impressive more often than not since the start of the new year. With Bishop anticipated to miss at least a couple of contests, pencil Lehtonen in for starts against the Predators on Tuesday, the Anaheim Ducks on Friday and likely the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday. Whether fantasy managers are willing to ride the 34-year-old against three playoff-bound teams is another conversation, likely hinging on degree of desperation.
Alexandar Georgiev, New York Rangers (1.2 percent)
If offered another chance to serve in relief of No. 1 Henrik Lundqvist before the healthy return of backup Ondrej Pavelec (knee injury), Georgiev makes for an exceptionally interesting DFS play in Grand Prize Pool competition. The 22-year-old prospect was solid Saturday in his third career start, stopping 35 of 37 shots for a victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Bumped from the second-line wing, where he enjoyed a great deal of productive success this season (December was bonkers), to third-line center, Johnson has just two even-strength goals and one power-play assist in 11 contests. The acquisition of former Ranger J.T. Miller and the eventual return of Ondrej Palat (lower-body injury) suggest that Johnson isn't about to reclaim that second-line gig anytime soon.
Droppable: The following players are deemed worthy of letting go altogether in re-draft leagues only because of serious injury, reduced role or some other significant factor:
Max Pacioretty, LW, Montreal Canadiens (78.7 percent)
Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston Bruins (76.4 percent)
Danton Heinen, C/LW/RW, Boston Bruins (23.9 percent)
Conor Sheary, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins (19.7 percent)