Pick 'Em Up! Week 7: Tlusty, Markstrom, Fehr
In our Pick 'Em Up column, we mine the fantasy hockey waiver wire for overlooked talent and hidden gems. Striking gold with a key free agent can be the difference between a championship season and mediocrity, so whether you're scrambling to replace an injured starter, or just looking to infuse your bench with upside, Pick' Em Up gives you options to help reshuffle the deck.
This week, along with some new names, we re-examine some players who have already appeared in this column earlier in the year, but who continue to be available in a large number of leagues.
Top of the Heap
Nazem Kadri TOR C - It's almost inconceivable that Kadri remains available in close to a third of Yahoo! leagues. He's leading the Leafs in scoring and running at a point-per-game pace - 24 points in 24 starts. He's also plus-13, with 6 PP points and has 52 shots, and he only seems to be getting better - 10 points in his last six games. His breakout is old news to most owners (we sounded the alarm on him weeks ago in this very article), but if you're in a shallow league or if he somehow slipped through the cracks, consider this a friendly reminder to snap him up while you still can.
Jiri Tlusty CAR C, LW - Another player we've previously highlighted, Tlusty might be the free agent steal of the season. Over the last month, no player has scored more goals (11), and he's recorded 18 points in his last 16 starts. The line of Semin, E. Staal, and Tlusty is currently one of the most dangerous in hockey. And, Tlusty is still available in 42% of leagues! Like Kadri, he's probably gone if you're in a competitive pool, but there are a surprising number of owners out there who have yet to catch on.
Dan Ellis CAR G - Tlusty's teammate Cam Ward is out 6-8 weeks with an MCL sprain, meaning the Hurricanes must turn to veteran back-up Dan Ellis between the pipes. And, while Ellis does represent a definite step down in talent level, he's proven capable of shouldering the load in the past during stints in Nashville, Tampa Bay and Anaheim. He steps into a pretty good opportunity. Carolina leads the Northeast Division by six points, and the team has won four straight. Ellis could be a diamond in the rough if he locks into the same groove. He'll share the duties with 3rd stringer Justin Peters, but Ellis will have first crack at being the workhorse.
Jacob Markstrom FLA G - Keeper owners are no doubt already aware of Markstrom. He's been tabbed by experts as a future "franchise" goalie for some time, and he might be the biggest reason that Roberto Luongo isn't currently tending the crease for the Cats. Other than the odd call-up, the Panthers have been content to bring him along slowly in the AHL, but that plan is suddenly out the window thanks to an injury to starter Jose Theodore - out five to six weeks with a torn groin. Back-up Scott Clemmensen remains in the picture, but Markstrom is more talented and will finally have a chance to make the job his on a permanent basis.
Scouring the Depths...
Devin Setoguchi MIN RW - Setoguchi is a streaky performer, but right now he's in the midst of an upswing. He has 10 points in his last 12 starts, and he's put together a five-game scoring streak. It's too much to expect him to maintain the pace, but he can pitch in with some help in a depth role, at least until he goes cold again.
Eric Fehr WAS RW - This is Fehr's second time finding his way into our Pick 'Em Up column. In fact, we highlighted him in last week's edition, but hey, he's only owned in 1% of leagues and he's suddenly found himself on a line with Nicklas Backstrom. There's definitely room for another mention... especially considering Tuesday's three-point breakout, which
allows us to pat ourselves on the back included this incredible OT winner. Fehr now has 11-points in his last ten games.
Slava Voynov LA D - The 23-year old Russian is outpacing his expected development timeline, and he's also outpacing his teammate Drew Doughty as L.A.'s top-scoring defenseman this season - 13 points to Doughty's 10. Thanks to a streak of seven points in his last six games, Voynov is one of the hottest pick-ups on Yahoo! this week. In spite of that, he's still available in half of leagues.
Paul Martin PIT D - Martin has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury, and that might have made him a roster casualty over the last week. He also went undrafted in many cases, and he remains available in 50% of leagues. He's currently sitting with 15 points through 21 starts, and it's raining points in Pittsburgh. Martin could be back with the Penguins as early as Thursday tonight, so it's worth checking to see if he's out there.
That's it for now. We'll leave you this week with highlights of Nazem Kadri's recent hat trick... Good luck on the wire!