Many head-to-head leagues are about to start their fantasy hockey playoffs this week. And while it’s too late to make trades in most leagues, there’s still moves you can make to put yourself in a better spot for a championship.
You see, the free agent and waiver wire lists are brimming with players that are flying under the radar. Fantasy general managers are stubbornly holding on to underperformers such as William Nylander (91 per cent owned), Duncan Keith (84 per cent owned) and Brandon Saad (58 per cent owned), while there are hidden gems on the waiver wire.
Below are 10 players that can help you with your fantasy playoffs that are owned in less than 40 per cent of Yahoo pools.
10. Jordan Staal
There is some hidden value for Staal owners in leagues that counts faceoffs. In Yahoo leagues with the following categories (goals, assists, plus/minus, PIM, power play points, shots, faceoffs, hits and blocks), Staal is the 86th ranked played, but is owned in only 26 per cent of Yahoo leagues. He’s cooled down in the past month or so, but his last two games could be an indication he’s turning it around (two points, plus-two, nine hits and 24 faceoff wins). He is worth a flier, but would be an easy drop if these two games are simply a blip on the radar.
9. Ondrej Palat
This pickup would be a bit of a gamble, as Palat has been out with a lower body injury since Jan. 20. He’s missed 20 games since then, but the initial prognosis was he would miss six to eight weeks. We’re now in week six, so he should be back soon. Palat, owned in 38 per cent of leagues, is one of those versatile players that can easily move up and down the lineup, and he was doing pretty well before his injury, His 82-game pace is: 14 goals, 39 assists, 53 points, 169 shots, 118 hits, 14 power play points and 75 blocked shots.
8. Mark Borowiecki
I confess I love having players like Borowiecki in my lineup in fantasy playoffs in leagues that count hits, PIM and blocked shots. I have won the championship in each of the last two years in one of my leagues, and a large part of that is picking up playing like Borowiecki and Radko Gudas as those two can almost singlehandedly win you the hits and blocked shots categories, plus contribute in PIM. Borowiecki is the 13th ranked defenseman in the past 30 days, thanks largely to 62 hits and 25 blocked shots. He’s owned in nine per cent of Yahoo pools. Keep him in mind when you need a boost in some of the often-forgotten categories.
7. Kevin Hayes
In the last 30 days, Hayes is the most second-most valuable Ranger after Mika Zibanejad, but is owned in only 14 per cent of Yahoo pools. In that time, Hayes has se