Dobber launched his fantasy hockey website DobberHockey back in 2005 and has been Puck Daddy's resident fantasy hockey 'expert' since 2009. Ian Gooding has been the associate editor for DobberHockey since early 2015.
Now that the trade deadline has passed, teams are looking more closely at prospects to help improve their rosters – particularly the tanking teams that aren’t doing so well. Should you do the same for your fantasy roster?
If you don’t think you should pin your championship hopes on prospects, consider this: Non-playoff teams with injured key players may eventually consider shutting down these players for the season, as opposed to playoff teams who will often push these players back as quickly as possible. Consider the status of the likes of James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Justin Faulk, Alex Edler, and Cory Schneider, each of whom are dealing with lingering injuries on teams that are closing in on April tee times.
We know the incentive these players’ teams have for shutting these players down: A potentially high draft lottery pick. But in the meantime, these teams may want to give a prospect or two a cup of coffee to fill the roster gaps. Think William Nylander (see below) on the Leafs, who have been very forthcoming with their plan for the 2015-16 season. But we’ll list a few more prospects to consider beyond Nylander below in the Waiver Wire section. For more prospect information (with a fantasy slant) you’ll want to check out DobberProspects.
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Jussi Jokinen, Florida Panthers (8-1-8-9, plus-1, 4 PIM, 14 SOG, 2 PPPts)
Need assists? How about eligibility in all three forward categories? If you could use a player that provides these, Jokinen needs to be in your lineup. Jokinen has flown under the radar with a quietly effective 47 points in 66 games overall, including eight assists over his last eight games.
Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets (10-9-6-15, plus-5, 2 PIM, 33 SOG, 2 PPPts)
The end of Bryan Little’s season was Scheifele’s gain, as he has now taken over as the first-line center in Winnipeg. One positive sign that this run will continue: Scheifele has received at least 21 minutes of ice time in each of his last five games.
Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Ryan Strome, New York Islanders (10-1-0-1, plus-2, 6 PIM, 20 SOG, 0 PPPts)
Strome still has massive upside, but he just hasn’t been able to break through this season (24 points in 54 games). He snapped a nine-game pointless drought with a goal against Toronto on Wednesday. With that in mind, the 22-year-old Strome is still a great buy-low candidate in keeper leagues.
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins (9-0-0-0, zero rating, 8 PIM, 11 SOG, 0 PPPts)
The Bruins have managed to climb to the top of the Atlantic Division standings in spite of Chara’s recent slump. Thought to be over the hill by many prior to 2015-16 fantasy drafts, Chara’s surprisingly successful first-half stats seem to be an aberration now. All but five of his 32 points this season were recorded before February 1.
Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings (8-0-0-0, minus-6, 4 PIM, 31 SOG, 0 PPPts)
Another veteran who is starting to show his age, Zetterberg has not recorded a point in eight games and counting. It hasn’t been from any lack of trying, however, as Zetterberg took eight shots on goal against Columbus on Tuesday and 23 shots over his last five games. Eventually those shots have to find the back of the net.
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs (13%) (3-2-0-2, even, 0 PIM, 8 SOG, 1 PPPts)
Nylander has scored his two goals over his past three games, so he’s rounding into form quite nicely. One of the best prospects in the world, he’s out to show that he should be a regular in 2016-17.
Nikita Soshnikov, Toronto Maple Leafs (9%) (5-2-1-3, minus-1, 6 PIM, 18 SOG, 1 PPPts)
Nylander is the more heralded of the two Leafs’ youngsters, but Soshnikov has arguably been the better player over the six games each has played. Soshnikov also adds value in leagues that count hits with 21 over that span, so he has the ability to fill many categories the rest of the way.
Connor Carrick, Toronto Maple Leafs (0%) (5-0-2-2, minus-1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, 1 PPPts)
Yes, we are going crazy… this is in fact our third Leafs’ recommendation here. Able to score decent points in both the OHL and AHL, Carrick has “grease” to his game, according to Mike Babcock. This is evident with his 132 penalty minutes with the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Carrick joined the Leafs in the recent Brooks Laich deal.
Ben Hutton, Vancouver Canucks (1%) (6-0-5-5, minus-5, 2 PIM, 8 SOG, 3 PPPts)
Hutton has been with Canucks nearly a full season already, so he may not qualify as a prospect anymore. However, he’s been receiving a huge uptick in ice time totals recently (three games with at least 24 minutes this month) now that Edler is out for the season.
Ryan Murphy, Carolina Hurricanes (0%) (2-0-3-3, plus-3, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 0 PPPts)
Not only does Murphy have three assists in his last two games, but he has also received second-unit power-play time with Faulk out. Murphy has a scoring pedigree from the OHL, with point-per-game totals over his last three junior seasons.
Brett Ritchie, Dallas Stars (1%) (2-0-0-0, minus-1, 5 PIM, 6 SOG, 0 PPPts)
Recently called up, Ritchie was rewarded right away with a spot on the potent Jamie Benn/Tyler Seguin line. The 220-pound power forward brings a noticeable physical element, dishing out eight hits and earning a fighting major in his first game this season.
Laurent Brossoit, Edmonton Oilers (1%) (0-1-1, 3.37 GAA, .883 SV%)
The Oilers’ top goaltending prospect is not likely to play much behind a hot Cam Talbot. However, don’t be surprised if he receives a few starts near the end of the season as the Oilers attempt to bolster their Auston Matthews odds. You’re probably better off to consider him in a deep keeper format.
Zack Smith, Ottawa Senators (10-7-3-10, plus-4, 12 PIM, 26 SOG, 3 PPPts)
Smith has been on fire, scoring seven goals over his last ten games. He’s also riding a six-game point streak on an underrated line with Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who until recently was hot himself. Smith has already set career highs in virtually every scoring category, yet he’s still available in most Yahoo leagues.
You can follow Ian Gooding on Twitter @Ian_Gooding
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