As the All-Star break nears and the NHL hits the midseason mark, let's look at every team in the Eastern Conference and identify one widely available player from each roster to add from waivers in your fantasy hockey league. Check back on Friday for one must-add player from every Western Conference franchise.
Overshadowed by a pair of fellow rookies in defenseman Charlie McAvoy (campaigning for the Calder) and forward Danton Heinen (riding a point-per-game pace since Nov. 29), DeBrusk is quietly carving out his own role on a Bruins scoring line and power play with center David Krejci. Unlike McAvoy and Heinen, DeBrusk is largely available in ESPN leagues across the board. The 21-year-old former first-round draft pick is comfortably on stride to near 50 points in his first NHL season.
Perhaps the collection of a goal and four assists in two contests leading into the Sabres' break is a positive sign indicating brighter days ahead for Okposo. Well off his scoring pace of the past four years, he appears, finally, to be warming up altogether. As long as he remains on Jack Eichel's wing, the skilled power forward threatens to contribute each and every night.
Earning his way onto a scoring line and power play with Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou, Bertuzzi has eight points in nine recent games. This young, talented line is worth watching. The 22-year-old rookie also has a proclivity for collecting penalty minutes -- 204 PIM in 137 AHL contests -- and brings added value to fantasy leagues that reward that category.
The Panthers hope to have Luongo back in early February, which would spell the end of James Reimer's provisional reign as Florida's everyday starter. The 38-year-old veteran was good -- 2.62 goals-against average, .928 save percentage -- before suffering a lower-body injury at the beginning of December. Since the club is committed to hold off until its No. 1 is 100 percent, another solid showing from February to April isn't a big ask. Just don't count on too hefty a share of victories.
While there isn't much fantasy brilliance to mine from the Canadiens these days, Petry sports some shine as the preferred fill-in for an injured Shea Weber. Anchoring the Habs' No. 1 power play, the 30-year-old defenseman has enjoyed even greater success of late, collecting four assists, including three with the extra skater, on 12 shots in three games. Petry is also logging heavy ice time, averaging nearly 25 minutes per contest since mid-December. Plus, Weber (dealing with a foot injury for a month and counting) could still be out for a while.
At long last, there's a blurry glow on the horizon, possibly signaling an end to Duchene's dark opening days as new member of the Senators. Honestly, it's been a disastrous coming-out party for the 27-year-old ex-Colorado winger in Ottawa, but three goals and three assists in four games indicate a potential turning of the page. Duchene can score, we all know that, and there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with him physically. Fantasy managers are advised to jump back aboard before he starts denting the score sheet again with regularity.
The domino effect of Victor Hedman falling hurt (lower-body injury) sees Mikhail Sergachev ascend the ranks to anchor the top power play (and sub in on the top pair), while Stralman subsequently takes over for the rookie blueliner on the Lightning's secondary unit. An offensive defenseman by nature, Stralman should see an increase in production while Hedman recovers over the next three to six weeks.
Perennially underrated as a fantasy asset on a Leafs roster rife with offensive talent, Bozak remains consistently serviceable. He's not flashy, but rather functional, particularly in deeper leagues. Centering a dangerous line with wingers James van Riemsdyk and Mitch Marner, the 31-year-old also has near universal appeal as a temporary injury substitute across the ESPN spectrum. You could do worse.
Touched on in last week's Fantasy 31, the Hurricanes' No. 1 offensive defenseman is having a lousy season. However, he's still skating on Carolina's top pair, anchoring the club's No. 1 power play and shooting the puck (128 SOG) often. We'll see how Faulk responds after the Canes' Jan. 20 restart.
Centering the Jackets' top line and power play alongside Artemi Panarin, Dubois is managing well enough and producing at a fairly regular clip. Keep in mind that the 19-year-old is just getting started, still less than 50 games into his NHL career. At minimum, the 2016 third-overall draft selection must be rostered in the vast majority of dynasty and keeper leagues. A bounce-back effort from Alexander Wennberg (rostered in 25.2 percent of ESPN leagues) should also be in play, after the talented forward endured a disappointing, injury-riddled first half to 2017-18.
Skating again on a No. 1 line with Taylor Hall and fellow rookie Nico Hischier, Bratt is well on pace to hit the 20-goal/50-point plateau in his rookie season. Like other gifted youngsters on this list, the 19-year-old is an obvious asset in dynasty and keeper leagues, at minimum. Also, defenseman Sami Vatanen (rostered in 15.5 percent of ESPN leagues) is clearly adjusting to life in New Jersey. Acquired from Anaheim in late November, the top-pair/power-play defenseman has six points in his past eight games.
Subbing in on an Islanders scoring line with Jordan Eberle and Mathew Barzal, Beauvillier has been a lot of fun of late, potting four goals and an assist (plus-seven) in four games. If possible, exploit this exceptionally productive outburst before it fizzles, while also acknowledging Beauvillier's potentially bright future as a long-term contributing force in the NHL. The 2015 first-rounder has skills.
While Nash isn't favored to score 30-plus goals in an NHL season ever again, his current 7.7 shooting percentage also isn't going to remain that poor. The 33-year-old winger is still skating on a potent Rangers scoring line and the secondary power play, and that adds up to a more productive second half. He netted two on seven shots in Tuesday night's win against the Philadelphia Flyers. Nash should see an excess of 20 goals by campaign's end. In any case, he still shoots the puck a lot (142 SOG).
Philadelphia Flyers: Travis Konecny, C/LW/RW (5.6 percent)
Playing on a top line with Claude Giroux (54 points) and Sean Couturier (45 points), Konecny can't help but contribute with some sense of regularity (six points in eight games). Flyers coach Dave Hakstol seems content with leaving the 20-year-old sophomore there for now.
As recently discussed by NHL analyst Mike Johnson, coach Mike Sullivan and staff don't care who gets it done between the pipes for the Penguins; the goal is to win. Right now, Jarry is getting it done while perceived No. 1 Matt Murray is most definitely not. Furthermore, according to Johnson, the organization really likes the 22-year-old rookie, for what that's worth. We're not suggesting Jarry runs with the starter's gig for the rest of 2017-18, but he'll get his fair share of chances while wielding the hot blocker.
An ongoing work in progress in his first full NHL season, Vrana isn't currently making the most of his role on a scoring line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and with the secondary power play. One assist in nine recent games doesn't impress much. Still, the Capitals remain committed to the process, allowing the 21-year-old time and opportunity to figure it out. Fantasy managers in dynasty/keeper leagues might benefit from doing the same.