By this point in the year, you should have a pretty good idea who your draft day steals were and who the main contributors of your roster are. You should also be able to notice which categories you might need to target through a free agent/waiver wire pickup, and let’s be honest – we all have to go fishing in that pool from time to time. The reason could be an injury (or number of injuries) or simply a miss on a sleeper pick or any other number of factors. Whatever the reason, here are a few Eastern Conference faces that might be able to help you out for a little while.
Chad LaRose – LaRose is a LW/RW eligible player in Yahoo, who has been skating with Eric Staal as of late. LaRose has 11 points in 17 games, which is the second most on the Canes, and he has 35 hits to go along with it. LaRose will not bring much (if any) PPP, but right now he’s a cheap pickup for G, A, SOG, and Hits. He is owned in only 6% of Yahoo leagues.
Derek Stepan – Stepan is more likely to be owned in your league, as he carries an 18% ownership rate in Yahoo leagues, but seven of his 10 points on the year have come in his last four games and he is clicking well with Gaborik.
Artem Anisimov – Anisimov is listed as a center in Yahoo, but is playing wing along with Stepan and Gaborik. Anisimov is owned in only 6% of Yahoo leagues, but is benefiting from the Stepan-Gaborik connection. If your league does not count faceoffs, Anisimov will be a nice gamble as long as he remains on this line.
Dmitry Kulikov – Kulikov may not be available in your league (owned in 39% of Yahoo leagues), but he is a very special defenseman who is really starting to blossom. Although he has not scored a goal yet this season, Kulikov has 12 assists in 16 games and is being featured with Brian Campbell on the team’s top power-play unit. This is Kulikov’s third year in the NHL and the Panthers have been ecstatic about the kid ever since draft day. Expect good things.
Jason Chimera – Chimera is not much of an offensive threat, but he is hot right now. Chimera has two goals in his last two games, one of which was a shorthanded game-winner. He also has nine points, 39 shots, and 27 hits in 15 games. If you’re desperate for some shots or hits and are hoping for some offense in the meantime, Chimera might be worth a look. He is also a plus-eight, so if nothing else, he might be able to help you out in that category for a few games if you are in a roto league.
Zack Smith – Smith is available in almost everyone’s league (owned in 3% of Yahoo leagues), but is posting some decent stats so far. Through 18 games in Ottawa, the depth center has nine points, is a plus-three, and has 26 PIM, one shorthanded goal, one shorthanded assist, and 34 shots on goal.
Adam Henrique – Henrique is a very talented rookie who was overshadowed by some of the other young talent in New Jersey, but he has been making his mark in the NHL as of late. Henrique has seven points in 12 games, with two of his four goals being game-winners. Of the three Devils centers who have taken 100 or more faceoffs (Elias, Henrique, Zubrus), Henrique (54.1%) is the only one with over a 47% winning rate, which increases the odds he will be on the ice in critical situations. He is owned in only 5% of Yahoo leagues.
Martin Biron – Biron is a perfect complementary goalie to Henrik Lundqvist because he is great in short spurts, but not in an increased role. Biron is not getting the time of a 1b goalie, but when he does play, he is doing exactly what they need him to. Marty is 3-0 on the year with a 0.95 GAA and .963 save percentage. He even has a shutout already. He is owned in only 6% of Yahoo leagues.
Jhonas Enroth – Enroth is owned in 39% of leagues, so he might not be available in yours, but if you need an extra and can get your hands on him, go for it. Ryan Miller has been struggling a bit and Enroth is 5-0 through seven appearances with a 1.75 GAA and .944 save percentage. I have to thank our own Shoeless from the message boards for giving me the heads up early on that Buffalo plays the most back-to-back games of any team this season, just adding even more value to Enroth. Of course as soon as I finish writing this, Miller is announced to be out with a concussion. If you didn’t pounce on Enroth yet, try to grab him quick!
Did I miss anyone? Please feel free to tell me about it below in the comments.