Fantasy Hockey Sleepers for Week 3 (Oct 14-20)

Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund
Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund
Oct 6 2013 Calgary Alberta CAN Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund 11 celebrates his goal with teammates TJ Galiardi 39 and Jiri Hudler 24 against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome Sergei Belski USA TODAY Sports

Each fantasy hockey season is full of injuries and players who just don’t meet your expectations. Being able to adjust on the fly and find studs on your league’s waiver wire is critical to fantasy success. Here are five players owned in 30 percent or less of Yahoo leagues who can help your team:

Jiri Hudler (30%):   The Calgary Flames are expected to be at the bottom of the NHL standings by the end of this year. Although rookie Sean Monahan is stealing the headlines with four goals and two assists, Jiri Hudler has two goals and five assists … and isn’t at risk to be sent to his junior team at the end of the season. It’s true the Flames don’t have a ton of established star talent in their lineup, but it’s for that exact reason Hudler is getting 20:11 minutes of ice time per game and is even getting the opportunity to score like a first liner. He’s worth adding, but watch for his plus/minus of three to take a turn for the worst.

Matt Read (28%):  I don’t think I’ve ever recommended someone to add who hasn’t registered a point all season, but hear me out. The Flyers are without Scott Hartnell and Vinny Lecavalier, and are already hurting for offense. In his two season career (one and a half really, thanks to the lockout), Read averages better than a goal every four games. He’s currently scoreless in six, but has 19 shots on goal and averages over 20 minutes a game. If he ever gets a crack at playing in the top six—his current linemates are Sean Couturier and Max Talbot—he could jumpstart the Flyers offense and your fantasy team. The team is already shuffling its lineup, searching for answers. Get him at the ground floor.

Shane Doan (25%):   The heart and soul of the Phoenix Coyotes, Shane Doan is not washed up. After going scoreless in his first five games of the season, he tallied a goal and assist against the Carolina Hurricanes, both on the power play. The Coyotes’ top two lines are pretty balanced, so you could say he’s on line 1A with Antoine Vermette and Mikkel Boedker. He shoots and hits, and is a fearless leader who will drop the gloves to defend a teammate for five penalty mintues. He’s in my lineup and he’s not going anywhere.

Nathan Gerbe (12%):    Somebody’s happy to be out of Buffalo. Gerbe has three goals and two assists on the season, and has solidified positions in the top six and second power play unit for the Carolina Hurricanes. He has registered a point in every game this season but one. His best season was when he scored 31 points in 64 games for Buffalo in 2010, so it’s hard to expect this kind of output to last, but he’s worth riding on his current hot streak.

Ryan Malone (3%):   Being the third member on top lines with two superstars is typically rewarding. I’m always on the lookout for guys that fly under the radar that score these opportunities, and Malone has just that with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. He plays with them at even strength and the power play, so it won’t get better than that for him. He only has two assists so far, but already has 24 penalty minutes, 11 shots on goal and eight hits. So in the off-chance he doesn’t start getting points for you right away, take solace in the fact that he’ll help you in some of the other categories. Other “third wheels” of note: Todd Bertuzzi (Datsyuk, Zetterberg), Bryan Bickell (Toews, Kane), and Patrick Maroon (Getzlaf, Perry).

Last Week’s Picks:

Steve Downie had two assists and a whopping eight shots on goal in three games. Marcus Johansson laid a goose egg in the points column, but the Capitals as a team only had three goals last week. Tough break. My gamble on Jacob Trouba also blew up in my face with zero points, but I did say to just add him to your watch list. He has six shots on goal in his last two games with seven hits. Aleksander Barkov enjoyed a three point game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, with a goal and two assists. And last but certainly not least, Alex Chiasson continues to score points. He had a goal and two assists in two games last week. Even better, he’s on the top power play unit with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, who finally seem to be clicking. I hope you added him.

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Matthew Dimmick
Matthew Dimmick is a fantasy hockey contributor for XN Sports. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');