We’re into the stretch run of fantasy hockey, with head-to-head playoffs starting, and some close races coming to a head in Roto and points leagues. With the trade deadline done, we’re going to try to find you some gems off of the waiver wire that can provide more of a boost than your average streamer.
Rasmus Andersson (D) – Calgary Flames
Cap Hit: $755,833 for one more year after July first
Availability: 99% unowned in Yahoo, 79% unowned in Fantrax
Andersson will have hardly any spotlight on him this season playing behind Norris trophy candidate Mark Giordano, but if you really do watch him play, man does he look good! Four points in the first half of the season, and already up to nine points in the second half (23 games). His ice time and power play exposure are both up since the mid-way point, and the last few games his shot rate has taken off as well. Andersson doesn’t yet have the responsibility of handling unproductive shorthanded shifts, so he is being sheltered towards more offensive opportunities. For the remainder of the season, it’s possible he keeps up a 30-point pace, similar to what he has done the last dozen games or so.
Adrian Kempe (C) – Los Angeles Kings
Cap Hit: $894,167 with his contract expiring this summer as a restricted free agent (RFA)
Availability: 99% unowned in Yahoo, 77% unowned in Fantrax
The young centre has been skating third line minutes with power play time on the second unit, and somehow that seems to be serving him well. He has produced nearly a 40-point pace in the last 40 games and can also give you a solid number of peripherals. He wins faceoffs, shoots, and hits. The plus-minus is something you are just going to have to live with, or hopefully your league doesn’t count it.
Kempe was a bit more prolific with the offence last season, but like the rest of his teammates, he has taken a step back this year. A little bit of bad luck with Kempe on the ice can be attributed to a few points knocked off last season’s total,
Joel Armia (RW) – Montreal Canadiens
Cap Hit: $1,850,000 with his contract expiring this summer as a RFA
Availability: 99% unowned in Yahoo, 85% unowned in Fantrax
The 25-year-old winger has been playing on the third line with Paul Byron, and rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi. He only has 17 points in 42 games, but he has been heating up recently with four points in his last five games, and his ice time is going up at the same time. Kotkaniemi had the night off on Wednesday just to rest, and without him, the Canadiens split Jonathan Drouin and Max Domi over two lines, with Armia lining up alongside Drouin – putting up three shots and no points in the win.
Montreal has 15 games left and are really pushing for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Expect Armia to be a larger contributor over the last month in the race for a top-eight finish in the conference.
Jack Campbell (G) – Los Angeles Kings
Cap Hit: $675,000 for one more year after July first
Availability: 93% unowned in Yahoo, 72% unowned in Fantrax
The Los Angeles Kings don’t have much left to play for this season, so they may as well let their younger starter get some more games, while they rest Jonathan Quick. When Quick is healthy, he plays over 60 games in a season easily, however staying healthy has been difficult for him. This season has been particularly trying, having been hurt in addition to the performance not being up to par. Quick’s GAA is over a goal higher than his career average, while his save percentage doesn’t look any prettier. Campbell’s numbers on the other hand look very respectable (aside from wins – because he gets no goal support), and has made a great spot start for owners thus far this season. With some solid stats, and the possibility of starting more often, Campbell makes a great add to help fill in those extra goalie games in a roto league.
Garrett Sparks (G) – Toronto Maple Leafs
Cap Hit: $675,000 with a one-year, $750,000 AAV extension kicking in on July first
Availability: 97% unowned in Yahoo, 81% unowned in Fantrax
On the same train of thought as to why Jack Campbell may be worth an add in your league, Garrett Sparks is also worthy of consideration. The Toronto Maple Leafs have 15 games remaining after Wednesday night, and it sounds as though Sparks may start eight of those games. With a start in every second Leafs game until the end of the season, and a top team in the league in front of him there may be a good percentage of wins to be found here. To contract Campbell from above, if the peripherals mean less, and you are just searching for cheap wins, Sparks represents what could be your best bet for the remainder of the year.
Kevin Labanc (LW) – San Jose Sharks
Cap Hit: $717,500 with his contract expiring this summer as a RFA
Availability: 82% unowned in Yahoo, 49% unowned in Fantrax
Over his last 13 games (the last month), Labanc has 12 points, five of them on the power play. Power play points can be so tough to find this time of year, but with Labanc staking a claim to the top powerplay unit, this could be your chance to sneak in a few extras at the end of the season. Unfortunately, Labanc doesn’t shoot as much as some of the other options that are likely available to you, with only 15 shots on net over the last month.
If you are buying stock here, keep an eye on the lines once Evander Kane returns, as it could have a negative impact on Labanc’s outlook to finish the season.
That caps off this week’s article, thanks for reading. As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean.
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All salary info from capfriendly.