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Waiver watch: Essential fantasy hockey linemates

Pavel Buchnevich has been making the most of his minutes for the New York Rangers lately. Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

Every week, we'll mine the waiver wire for lesser-rostered assets to help your squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft format, and we'll also toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who might be overvalued -- in the short- or long-term -- for one reason or another.


Forwards

Pavel Buchnevich, LW/RW, New York Rangers (rostered in 43.5% of ESPN.com leagues): By now, all managers but those in the shallowest of leagues should have clambered aboard the Buchnevich fantasy bandwagon. He's seeing a hefty dose of ice time at even-strength and with the extra skater alongside an ultra-hot Mika Zibanejad, which helps to explain the six assists and one goal in five contests. My earlier concerns about the young winger possibly losing value once Chris Kreider fell injured have happily gone unfounded. Grab him if you can.

Alex Iafallo, LW/C, Los Angeles Kings (19.9%): Winners of six straight, the Kings are clearly uninterested in slinking off quietly to wrap up an otherwise disappointing season. Combining for nine goals and 10 assists through this fruitful stretch, the club's top line of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Iafallo merit a fair share of the credit. Of the three, the 26-year-old, real-life bargain (salary: $2.4 million) remains widely available while on pace for a career year on his own. Since Dec. 21, Iafallo has 12 goals and 15 assists in 32 games. That works out to 0.84 points per contest. And he's at his most productive right now.

Vladislav Namestnikov, C/LW, Colorado Avalanche (19.4%): Caveat: My fantasy-fueled appreciation for Namestnikov runs in step with Nathan MacKinnon healing quickly from whatever lower-body injury cut his night short on Monday. The former Senator/Ranger has three goals and an assist in five recent games, settling in on a top line with MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. An alternative spot in the lineup dulls his fantasy shine significantly. Keep a view of MacKinnon's health and other shuffling up and down the order.

Connor Brown, RW/LW, Ottawa Senators (16.1%): Judged by his recent productive surge, Brown doesn't seem all that bothered about his team standing virtually no chance of earning a playoff spot. Sizzling on a top line and power play with Chris Tierney and now Brady Tkachuk, the former Leaf has five goals and one assist, while seeing a hefty portion of minutes, in seven recent games. One of your streakier sorts, Brown sports legit boom-versus-bust potential as 2019-20 winds down.

Joel Farabee, LW, Philadelphia Flyers (1.4%): Re-summoned from the minors this past week, the 20-year-old scored in his second game as James van Riemsdyk's roster substitute on a top-six scoring line. There's fantasy-dark-horse potential here, particularly in DFS competition, as long as Farabee sticks alongside Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny. Otherwise, we're likely still a season or two removed from gauging what the 14th-overall draft pick (2018) truly has to offer.

Defenders

Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes (18.8%): In the absence of other standout, underappreciated "D" assets this weeks, it bears mentioning that Chychrun might not be long for returning to Arizona's lineup after missing not quite three weeks with a hip issue. Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet indicates the young blueliner is close. Before suffering the injury, the 21-year-old was contributing at a steady clip by potting seven points, including a pair with the extra skater, on 30 shots through nine games. Better than just another warm fantasy body, Chychrun could conceivably return in action Thursday when the Coyotes launch a pivotal, five-game homestand against the visiting Canucks.

Goaltenders

Mikko Koskinen, Edmonton Oilers (31.5%): The goaltending pendulum in Edmonton is once more swinging back in favor of the club's perceived No. 1. Boasting a .966 SV% through three starts and one relief appearance thus far this March, Koskinen is the clear go-to as the Oilers battle for postseason positioning. Mike Smith was yanked in his most recent start -- this past Thursday in Chicago -- after allowing four goals on 21 shots.

Linus Ullmark, Buffalo Sabres (11.0%): Exhibiting minimal rust in his first game back after losing six weeks to a lower-body injury, Ullmark stopped 33 of 35 shots in Monday's emphatic 3-2 shootout win over the Washington Capitals. Remember, the Buffalo netminder was better than solid before falling hurt, rocking a 5-3-0 record and .929 SV% through all of January. Relatedly, Carter Hutton hasn't won a game for the Sabres since Feb. 22.

Cam Talbot, Calgary Flames (7.5%): While Talbot has won three straight in the span of six days, including a shutout of the Florida Panthers, David Rittich doesn't have a W to show for the Flames since Feb. 25. Another impressive performance against the Islanders Thursday, assuming Talbot earns that start, and Calgary's perceived No. 1 might be even less busy in the coming weeks. Available in more than 92% of ESPN.com, the Flames' "backup" is in a real groove at present.

Lowered expectations

Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Florida Panthers (71.8%): First off, he's hurt, and we're not sure how badly. Even once recovered from a lower-body injury, Florida could continue to lean heavily on backup Chris Driedger, who has allowed only four goals in three straight starts -- winning two of them. One point out of a playoff spot with 13 contests remaining, the Panthers will ride whoever gets the job done, regardless of contract or résumé. Right this minute, that's Driedger.