It feels nice to have hockey back doesn’t it? Despite postponements still occurring for NHL teams—Canadian ones especially—it’s nice to see some sort of normalcy again, in any form it comes. With players constantly being put on COVID Protocol then coming back into action, this season has been tough to navigate not just for teams, but also for anyone involved in fantasy hockey too.
Having reliable players with good category coverage in your lineup can help with the difficulties of shortened rosters. Here are some players to target as the rotation of players available continues to fluctuate on a weekly basis.
Alex Tuch – LW, RW – Buffalo Sabres
Alex Tuch recently came back from injury on December 29, where he registered one assist and four hits. From December 29 to Jan 1, Tuch produced three points, four shots on goal, five hits, and two blocks, all while playing on Buffalo’s first line.
Tuch, who was a player Buffalo really wanted as a part of the return in the Jack Eichel deal, has underrated offensive abilities and it is even more underappreciated now that he is in Buffalo. Tuch is also in COVID Protocol right now, which qualifies him to be put on the IR. At 28% owned, Tuch is absolutely worth adding and stashing on your IR for the time being.
Oliver Kylington – D – Calgary Flames
If you are in a league with a good amount of Flames fans, it’s likely that you may have to trade for Oliver Kylington. However despite the amazing season he has been having, he is still only 19% owned.
He just had a four-game point streak end, plays top-four minutes, gets second unit power play time, and is averaging around 0.6 points per game. Getting a defenceman off the waiver wire who is on pace for 50 points in a season is incredible value. Even if he is not on the waiver wire, you might not have to pay much to get him on your team. If he is available, he’s worth picking up and holding onto for the long haul.
Noah Dobson – D – New York Islanders
Honestly, you could probably argue that Noah Dobson is the most valuable New York Islander in fantasy hockey. And yes, I know who Mathew Barzal is and trust me I am not forgetting about him. Dobson has really elevated his game recently, registering seven points in his last six games. He is usually getting 20+ minutes a night, and is a key member of their first power play unit.
Dobson is 26% owned, and depending on how deep your league is, you may have to trade for him. Usually I don’t trade that much during fantasy because I tend to find the market a bit overvalued, however Dobson is someone I would really consider trading for.
Ilya Mikheyev – LW, RW – Toronto Maple Leafs
This has potential to be a really sneaky, but really beneficial add. Ilya Mikheyev is currently on the Leafs’ second line, playing with Tavares and Nylander. On top of that, he is finally getting some power play time on their second unit.
Mikheyev has scored three goals since being put on the power play, and he has got two of them on the man-advantage. While getting second line minutes, Mikheyev has the potential to bring some solid secondary scoring for your team if this continues.
Dan Vladar – G – Calgary Flames
With so many Canadian home games getting postponed, and potentially more to come, the Flames are going to have to make up these games at some point. With an increasing number of games to play in a decreasing amount of time, it is very likely Dan Vladar will see more action. Despite picking up two losses this week, he was just relied upon to play two straight back-to-back games as Jacob Markstrom was sidelined.
Vladar has looked extremely comfortable in the crease. He is proving himself to be a very reliable goalie as the Flames’ backup. Vladar is only 15% owned, and he would be an incredible third option in net for fantasy.
Having the status of players constantly change because of COVID protocol can be really frustrating. However one thing that I have noticed is that it has also really changed the market and how fantasy hockey managers decide to approach their team. With many managers running out of IR and IR+ spots, there is a strong chance that someone in your league may have either dropped a player who probably shouldn’t have been, or that they will trade someone for less than fair market value just to open up a roster spot. Take full advantage of this if you have the room on your roster.