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.
Mikael Granlund, C/LW, Nashville Predators (Rostered in 44.0% of ESPN.com leagues): After focussing on both Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg in this space in recent weeks, it's occasion (once again) to herald their center as the gifted playmaker partially responsible for the wingers' early-season success and as an underappreciated fantasy asset in his own right. Granlund has 21 assists on the year, tied for third-most in the NHL with four fewer than stand-alone leader Connor McDavid. When Duchene or Forsberg is putting the puck in the net, there's a good chance Granlund is in on, and helping to perpetrate, that action. Toss in another five goals of his own, and the 29-year-old is averaging 1.9 fantasy points/contest in ESPN standard leagues. He's worth rostering in all but the shallowest of fantasy competition.
Reilly Smith, RW, Vegas Golden Knights (41.6%): One of the Golden Knights' most consistent players overall this season, Smith has contributed at a steady pace since late October. After a sluggish two-assists-in-five-games start, the second-line winger has since pitched in 10 goals and seven helpers in 15 contests. These numbers fall more in line with Smith's seasonal haul through his first three years in Vegas, before struggling to contribute during last winter's pandemic-shortened campaign. With Max Pacioretty sidelined for all but seven games to date, the 30-year-old also leads his squad with 75 shots. Having a healthy William Karlsson back as his everyday center should only help Smith sustain a robust productive rate as the Knights charge ahead with fewer injuries altogether.
Rickard Rakell, C/RW, Anaheim Ducks (22.0%): Since recovering from an upper-body injury, Rakell has four goals and two assists in seven games for the Ducks. While the scoring line of Adam Henrique, Ryan Getzlaf (currently on IR) and Troy Terry and has garnered much attention this season, and deservedly so, the Rakell, Trevor Zegras (29.7%) and Sonny Milano (5.2%) unit is also one to watch. Before stumbling through last winter's condensed and COVID-19 altered campaign, like many other players, Rickard averaged 0.73 points/game through his four previous seasons in Anaheim.
Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW, Los Angeles Kings (12.0%): Riding a five-game point streak, Arvidsson has two power-play goals and five assists (two with the extra skater) on 21 shots since Nov. 24 - earning his devoted managers 3.3 fantasy points/contest. The 28-year-old - a dynamite goal-scorer in his earlier days with the Predators - merits rostering while in this productive groove, especially on the club's top power play. The Kings visit the struggling Canucks on Monday.
Dryden Hunt, LW, New York Rangers (0.4%): The scoring unit comprising Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, and Hunt has been the Rangers' best of late. Promoted from his usual fourth-line role, the NHL career part-timer has a pair of goals, three assists, eight shots, nine hits and one blocked shot in his past four games. That all works out to an average of 2.3 fantasy points/contest in ESPN.com's standard competition. Not bad. While Dryden's professional resume implies this gig is hardly permanent, New York has won six straight and 10 of their past 11. Coach Gerard Gallant isn't likely to fiddle much anytime soon. If nothing else, consider enlisting Dryden as a less-conventional Daily Fantasy commodity in the coming days. The Rangers face the Blackhawks, Avalanche, Sabres and Predators this week.
Adam Boqvist, Columbus Blue Jackets (9.3%): That's more like it. The young defenseman seems to be finally settling in with his new squad, after losing a handful of games to injury. Five goals and three assists - including three points on the power play - in seven games suggests the former Blackhawk should be rostered in leagues that value scoring above all. Drafted eighth overall by Chicago in 2018, Boqvist is still only getting going.
Sean Durzi, Los Angeles Kings (6.7%): One of the more productive NHL debuts we've seen from a blueliner in some time. Three points in his first two games proved sufficient in extending the 23-year-old's stay with the Kings, even with a healthy Drew Doughty back in action (Olli Maatta currently sits as the odd defender out). Now Durzi is up to five points in five contests, all but one of them counting with the extra skater. On a tear with the Reign before his call-up, the former OHL standout could stick around in Los Angeles longer than many of us anticipated. Consider enlisting his fantasy help, if only for a limited period, in deeper fantasy leagues or as a DFS option. Durzi should already be widely spoken for as a dynasty asset.
Petr Mrazek, Toronto Maple Leafs (14.0%): Never mind the four goals allowed in the Marlies' 5-1 loss to Laval, mostly thanks to the AHL team's porous play out front, what matters more is that Mrazek reportedly felt and looked good in his first competitive appearance since late October. According to the goalie himself, the groin injury that had sidelined him most of this season wasn't an issue ("didn't feel it at all"). Excellent news. I'd guess one or two more appearances in the minors, perhaps in Springfield on Friday, then maybe again in Providence Sunday, are in order before this conditioning stint concludes, but if all goes well, we should see Mrazek back in a Leafs uniform shortly. As backup to Jack Campbell, the 10-year veteran presents as a valuable streaming or DFS option for a surging (outside of Winnipeg Sunday) Toronto squad. Keep a view of his rehabilitative progress.
Ville Husso, St Louis Blues (4.4%): The Blues' net belongs to Husso while No. 1 Jordan Binnington sits out most of this week in step with the league's COVID-19 protocol. St. Louis hosts Florida on Tuesday before welcoming the Red Wings Thursday. Binnington then qualifies to suit up for one of the weekend's back-to-back contests against the visiting Canadiens and Ducks, predictably leaving the other to the club's No. 2. Altogether, it projects as a potentially successful week for the 26-year-old. As an injury substitute or DFS asset, Husso strikes as a valuable fantasy commodity in the coming days.
Jeff Petry, D, Montreal Canadiens (74.6%): Two even-strength assists through 25 contests and now he's shelved with an upper-body injury. A dependable fantasy performer for the Canadiens since 2017-18, Petry, like his teammates, is having a rough go of it this autumn. And there's no bright tunnel's end light in sight. Montreal has lost all three of their games since Jeff Gorton was hired as the club's new Executive VP of Hockey Operations and unofficial-GM-for-now, allowing a total of 10 goals. Hardly Gorton's fault, who has barely had time to remove his coat, but the team seems despondent as ever with Marc Bergevin out the door. If they're not buying 100% into what coach Dominique Ducharme is selling, why not institute a coaching change as well? Why commit to Ducharme for the rest of the season? Even an interim figure put in place before the new GM hires their own candidate could, maybe, light a minor fire in the meantime. As it bleakly stands, until the club finds a fix to whatever's ailing, Petry and most of his teammates serve as little more than fantasy dead weight.
On the topic of head coaching changes, outside of Montreal we've had two in a matter of hours. Alongside GM Jim Benning, coach Travis Green was let go in Vancouver on Sunday, before Alain Vigneault and assistant Michel Therrien lost their positions in Philadelphia on Monday. Through an antiseptic fantasy lens, I advise you hold onto your under-performing Canucks and Flyers a little while longer. These changes behind the bench often - not always but frequently enough - result in inspiring players to do better. Check this space Thursday for more on how they're first responding to Bruce Boudreau and Mike Yeo (interim) in Vancouver and Philadelphia, respectively.