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Waiver Watch: Lee Stempniak, Andrej Sekera on the rise

The veteran Lee Stempniak is piling up points but remains a free agent in most leagues. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Every week, we'll mine the waiver wire for lesser-owned assets to help your squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft format -- and we'll also toss in some tips for daily fantasy sports players out there. Categorized by position, the players are ranked in descending order by ownership percentage in ESPN.com leagues.

We'll also include some former go-to fantasy assets who may be overvalued -- in the short or long term -- for one reason or another.


Forwards

Lee Stempniak, RW, Carolina Hurricanes
Ownership percentage: 8.0

The kids -- Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Elias Lindholm -- aren't the ones worthy of credit for somehow keeping the Hurricanes in the playoff conversation. Competing on a line and power play with Jeff Skinner, Stempniak has racked up eight points in his past nine games. And -- unlike Aho, Teravainen, Lindholm, etc. -- the 34-year-old winger is largely available. Consider this veteran Band-Aid as an injury substitute in deeper leagues where assists carry substantial value.

Ales Hemsky, RW, Dallas Stars
Ownership percentage: 3.5

As anticipated, with an eye to inking his next pro contract, Hemsky is endeavoring to make the most of what's left of this campaign. Amassing three goals and one helper in his most recent trio of games, the 33-year-old has seven contests remaining to prove he still has plenty left in the tank after losing most of this season to hip surgery. No doubt, skating on a top line with Jamie Benn gives him a leg up in this regard. The veteran winger merits attention as both a daily fantasy commodity and last-minute roster substitute in deep redraft leagues.

Brock Boeser, RW, Vancouver Canucks
Ownership percentage: 3.3

Signed to an entry-level deal just days ago, Boeser is one to watch as 2016-17 winds down, with a look ahead to next season. The first-round draft pick (23rd overall, 2015) is already earning the chance to contribute on the Canucks' top power play. He has 94 total points -- including 43 goals -- to show for two seasons (74 games) at the University of North Dakota.

Clayton Keller, C, Arizona Coyotes
Ownership percentage: 1.8

After an impressive year at Boston University -- 21 goals, 24 assists in 31 games -- Keller is getting the chance to preview what's to come from the seventh overall draft selection (2016) for next year and beyond. Owners in deep dynasty leagues might benefit from getting a jump on this hot prospect now.

Sven Andrighetto, RW, Colorado Avalanche
Ownership percentage: 0.6

Plugged in on a top-six unit with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, Andrighetto is having a pleasant time of it, scoring four goals and contributing an assist in his past five games, including a tally with the man advantage. Give the 24-year-old a look as an inexpensive asset in daily play as long as he remains in that spot. Since joining the Avalanche earlier this month, the former Canadien has nine points in 12 games altogether.

Tanner Kero, C, Chicago Blackhawks
Ownership percentage: 0.4

The latest shuffling in Chicago sees Kero take over for Artem Anisimov between Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin, replacing recent sub Nick Schmaltz, who reclaims his former posting on Jonathan Toews' wing. Logging over 15 minutes of ice time, Kero assisted on Panarin's first period goal (plus-two) from that position in Monday's 5-4 OT loss to the Lightning. As long as he sticks on that dynamic scoring line, the 24-year-old center sports enhanced dark horse potential in daily formats. Particularly since Anisimov isn't due to return from his lower-body injury until after the playoffs get underway.


Defensemen

Andrej Sekera, Edmonton Oilers
Ownership percentage: 37.0

The veteran defenseman is, again, due a shout-out for his recent uptick in production: eight points in seven games, including three with the extra skater. Boasting additional value in all fantasy competition that rewards blocked shots, Sekera ranks sixth in the West in that category with 149 on the year, including 27(!) through those aforementioned seven games.


Goaltenders

Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders
Ownership percentage: 12.7

Offered his first taste of NHL competition since the end of December, Halak held his own, rejecting 37 of 40 shots in Friday's shootout victory over the Penguins. While Thomas Greiss has been just so-so this month, look for Halak to garner his share of starts as the Islanders desperately fight for a playoff spot.

Michael Hutchinson, Winnipeg Jets
Ownership percentage: 5.2

Now that it doesn't much matter, he's performing well. Surrendering five goals in his past four games -- three of them wins -- Hutchinson presents as a strong play in daily formats until he falls apart, including Tuesday evening in New Jersey.

Laurent Brossoit, Edmonton Oilers
Ownership percentage: 1.3

In the expiring days of the 2016-17 regular campaign, Brossoit is emerging as a reliable option for the Oilers while Cam Talbot rests up for the playoffs. We expect coach Todd McLellan will continue to turn to his 24-year-old backup, especially once Edmonton officially punches its ticket to the postseason.


Lowered expectations

Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh Penguins
Ownership percentage: 99.7

With a hopeful look to a long postseason, the Penguins won't bring Malkin (upper-body injury) back one minute ahead of feeling plenty sure he's 100 percent. Skating on his own, the star center has yet to practice with his teammates. So while coach Mike Sullivan is offering assurances that we'll see Malkin back "sooner rather than later," prepare for another handful of games lost while the organization errs on the side of caution.

Aaron Ekblad, D, Florida Panthers
Ownership percentage: 61.0

Well off the postseason track, the Panthers gain nothing from rushing Ekblad (neck injury) back to action in 2016-17. In fact, general manager/coach Tom Rowe has expressed his regret at reactivating the star defenseman last week, following four games lost to a concussion. Realistically, we may not see Ekblad back at all season.

Nino Niederreiter, LW/RW, Minnesota Wild
Ownership percentage: 60.0

The streaky winger hasn't scored a goal in over a month. If possible, those engaged in tight head-to-head playoff tilts may choose to replace Niederreiter in these last vital couple of weeks.