Waiver watch: Duchene, Getzlaf lead fantasy hockey bounceback stars

Matt Duchene of the Nashville Predators celebrates his fifth goal of the season. Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP

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 may be overvalued - in the short- or long-term - for one reason or another.


Matt Duchene, C/RW, Nashville Predators (33.5%): Shifted to right wing alongside center Mikael Granlund, Duchene is appearing his old productive self to launch 2021-22. After last year's disappointing campaign, and considering his annual paycheck, the Predators must be thrilled (relieved). He's shooting, he's scoring, he's putting in hefty minutes most nights, and, perhaps most importantly, the 30-year-old looks utterly re-inspired. The collection of five goals and five assists on the season - all but one of those points registered in his past seven games - suggests the former prolific scorer has, maybe, rediscovered his rhythm. Unless your fantasy squad is remarkably healthy and extraordinarily stacked, Duchene is worth a roll of the fantasy dice right now.

Ryan Getzlaf, C, Anaheim Ducks (31.7%): Like Duchene, the Ducks captain currently resembles his 2018 vintage more than his less-productive self of recent years. On a top scoring line with Adam Henrique and Troy Terry - who should be grabbed without hesitation if somehow available in your league - Getzlaf boasts one goal and eight assists his past eight contests. The physical center also has 24 hits and 15 blocked-shots (second most amongst NHL forwards) on the season. A revitalized well-rounded asset, he should be spoken for in all but the shallowest of ESPN.com standard leagues.

Mats Zuccarello, RW, Minnesota Wild (31.4%): Out of COVID-19 protocols, Zuccarello is back on the Wild's top line and power play with Kirill Kaprizov. Snatch him up before another fantasy manager beats you to it. Zuccarello is marching at a point/game pace is these early goings.

Nazem Kadri, C, Colorado Avalanche (22.1%): Back in sync with linemate Andre Burakovsky at even strength and with the extra skater, Kadri is riding a four game point streak with two goals and four assists. Partly thanks to a couple of fighting majors and a game misconduct - all earned against the St. Louis Blues, as it were - the scrappy center is also already up to 24 penalty minutes on the season (should your league reward such behavior). Plus, Kadri can be counted on to shoot on net with regularity. A multidimensional fantasy asset, he's worth rostering in deeper leagues.

Brandon Saad, LW, St. Louis Blues (7.5%): Few forwards run as hot and cold as this new member of the Blues, and right now, with three goals over his past two games, Saad's running fairly warm. There's also a lot to like about his spot on a scoring line with a recently-returned Ryan O'Reilly and David Perron, for however long that configuration lasts. I'm all over the well-travelled forward as a temporary injury-plug, or daily fantasy asset, at minimum, at least until he cools off again.

See also: Rasmus Asplund, C/LW, Buffalo Sabres (9.5%); Nicolas Roy, C, Vegas Golden Knights (1.3%)


Artem Zub, Ottawa Senators (31.7%): Hands up if you thought Zub, not Thomas Chabot, would prove the most valuable fantasy blue-line asset in Ottawa to start 2021-22. Right? But five assists, 30 blocked-shots, 22 hits, 14 shots later and here we are. The second-year player is a must-roster in any fantasy competition that respects those who sacrifice their frames in stopping pucks. Zub is only three shy of league-leader Jake McCabe (CHI) in blocked-shots, despite having played two fewer games.

Ryan Graves, New Jersey Devils (25.0%): A darling of the fantasy community two seasons ago, Graves is re-endearing himself to managers after last winter's letdown of a campaign. The 26-year-old leads his new Devils' team in blocked-shots (21), hits (19), and plus/minus (plus-seven). He also has a goal and four assists through 10 games. That works out to a wholly impressive 2.0 fantasy points/contest. Scoop him up.

Oliver Kylington, Calgary Flames (1.9%): No Calgary defenseman is averaging more fantasy points/contest in ESPN.com standard leagues than Kylington, including Rasmus Andersson. Paired with Chris Tanev, the 24-year-old has a goal and six assists in his most recent six contests. All the more impressive, considering he doesn't get much more than a brief sniff of power-play time. That could soon change if Kylington continues to contribute in such fashion. He's worth a flier in deeper leagues.

See also: Mario Ferraro, San Jose Sharks (9.6%)


John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks (34.7%): From the net out, the Ducks are having a fine time of it at present, winning four straight and sitting third in the Pacific Division. I like the team's chances of continuing their run of good fortune, facing the Canucks twice and Seattle once this week. Gibson has allowed only three total goals in his past three starts - all wins. Throw the skilled netminder out there as long as the whole squad is rolling.

Martin Jones, Philadelphia Flyers (3.1%): All the goalie-related preseason hand-wringing in Philadelphia has proven unwarranted so far. However few and far between his appearances have been to date, Jones has performed wonderfully for his new club. Really great, in fact. While the former San Jose goalie isn't active enough to merit rostering in most conventional competition, he sports some serious shine as a bargain asset in daily fantasy play. The Flyers are scheduled to face the Hurricanes and Stars this coming Friday and Saturday, respectively. I'm completely onboard with rostering Jones in DFS play if he starts against Dallas, assuming Carter Hart gets the call versus Carolina.

Lowered expectations

Vince Dunn, D, Seattle Kraken (39.6%): One assist in six games - zero power-play points on the season - isn't going to cut it. Not when other categories, blocked-shots for instance, aren't getting much love either. Staunch Kraken defender Jamie Oleksiak has more points than Dunn, which doesn't sit right. Away from the cluster of talented blueliners in St. Louis, the 25-year-old puck-mover was expected to blossom in his new Seattle digs. So far, it hasn't worked out that way.

See also: Max Comtois, LW, Anaheim Ducks (55.7%)