image courtesy of Eyes on the Prize
In the last week, we’ve seen some talent hit the waiver wire and be claimed into new homes. Normally, when a player is placed on waivers it means they have blown their chance (Dano), didn’t show what coaching expected from them (Alzner), or was merely an extra body around for when injuries hit. Basically – players you shouldn’t have fantasy interest in. This was not the case this week though as these names are still fantasy-relevant, and here’s why:
Waived by: Carolina
New home: Edmonton
Zykov’s 3 points in 13 games may look marginal and worthy of a “pass” when it comes to fantasy gambles. But look at the context and you’ll become a believer. Last season, he scored 33 goals and 54 points in 63 AHL games. When he got called up at the end of the year, he tallied 7 points in 10 games for the Hurricanes. At 6’1″ and 225 lbs, he brings the size and speed that every single NHL team likes in their lineup, even if he doesn’t use his size for physicality as often as others. Considering all those fasts, he should’ve been a legitimate option for the Hurricanes staff in 2018-19.
Instead, he has spent nearly 60% of his ice time playing with McGinn and whichever 4th-line call-up they’ve had at the time. The MOST ice time he’s seen in a game so far is 11:46, and he dipped as low as 4:41. Some games he plays net-front on the PP, but some games he gets no PP time at all. So all things considered, I don’t blame him for not being able to get in a scoring groove. I think if he’s given linemates with average hands and some time in the offensive zone, he’s capable enough to be a 40-point power forward. With McDavid, he could hit 50. Let’s see how Edmonton plans to use him.
Waived by: Montreal
New home: Los Angeles
It’s pretty shocking for Montreal to waive a 6’2″, 192 lb former 1st-round-pick regardless of skill level given their recent history of being so small, but here we are. Scherbak is a bit more of a wild card than Zykov because he hasn’t seen as much time in the last year. After scoring 30 points in 27 games in the AHL, he missed the end of 2017-18 with a concussion, and has been a healthy scratch for the Habs’ 2018-19 campaign. Last year he got his first real NHL tryout, in which he managed 6 points in 26 games (not great, but the team sucked, he was scrambled between 10 different line combos and saw only 13:23 aTOI). This year, he didn’t get a single game in the NHL before being waived.
I know what you’re thinking – LA kinda sucks right now too. So by no means is Scherbak a sure-thing to turn it around on the West coast. But right now he might step into the Kings’ second line beside Jeff Carter (the spot is currently held by Kyle Clifford, and Scherbak’s pass-first attitude could work well with Carter), and that’s not a bad place to be. Even 3rd-line time with the talented Adrian Kempe wouldn’t be the end of the world on paper, but that would most likely be minimal ice-time given how much LA leans on their top-six. If he squeaks into a role beside Carter or Kopitar, I’d wager Scherbak is capable of producing at a 35-point pace. This could be higher, but its highly unlikely that he sees PP time no matter how much the coach hates Kovalchuk at even-strength.
With WJC season nearly upon us, we’ve got you covered. Our own Jokke Nevalainen has already broken down a predicted Team Sweden (here) and Team Finland (here), with more coming soon. This is must-read content for casual viewers and fantasy junkies alike as we prepare to see the best junior tournament in the world!
FIRST NHL GOALS TIME!
Eeli Tolvanen wasted no time after being called up, netting a sweet backhand from the danger zone:
Ben Harpur makes himself look like a sniper off the rush for his first:
Don’t blink or you’ll miss Adam Gaudette’s first goal – on and off his stick in an instant:
Igor Ozhiganov will take every bounce he can get if more pucks get in the net like this one:
Thank you for reading, and best of luck as your fantasy team may or may not lose players as they are loaned away for the WJC!