Calgary Flames

NHL Fantasy: The newest sleepers to pick up based on early-season play

Fantasy hockey is finally back and I could not be happier. Now is the time of the year to start monitoring the waiver wire to see what value can be found, and to capitalize on it early. Early on in the season, you might see people in your league giving up on players too early, or you might notice lesser-known players who are in a great position to break out. Either way, the waiver wire is key for this. Below are some players you should consider picking up before they’re gone.

All the owned percentages are based on Yahoo! leagues.

Nick Paul – C, LW – TBL

Paul is only 27% owned and is currently skating on the third line for the Lightning. However, the reason why he is a very intriguing option to pick up is the fact that he is currently skating on the first power play unit with Point, Stamkos, Kucherov, and Hedman. It doesn’t get much better than that. Paul has been a point per game over the first five games of the season, with four of those points coming from the power play. Paul could be a great depth piece to add to your lineup.

Ryan O’Reilly – C – NSH

O’Reilly is currently skating on the top line with Fillip Forsberg and he is on the first power play unit. Despite that, he is only 25% owned. Yes, that’s not a typo. And funny enough, this isn’t even the most surprising rostered percentage in this post (see the next name below). O’Reilly should be owned in at least 80% of all fantasy leagues. He might have had a down year last year, but this type of exposure alone is way too good of an opportunity to pass up. With four points in five games so far, O’Reilly could be a fantastic pickup that will benefit your team for the whole year.

Sean Couturier – C – PHI

16% owned? Really? For a point-per-game player when healthy? This is a gift on the waiver wire. As long as he can stay in the lineup, Couturier is an incredibly valuable fantasy option. He is on the top line, top power play, and is a point per game so far. Run—don’t walk—to pick up Couturier on your team.

Barret Hayton – C – ARI

Hayton has been held pointless so far this year, but I think he is bound to start producing. He is skating on a line with Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, and he is on a power play with those two players, along with Logan Cooley, and Sean Durzi. That is too much talent to be around for his lack of production to continue. I wouldn’t recommend picking him up right away, but he is definitely an option to keep on your watchlist and monitor to pick up once he starts to produce.

Adam Ruzicka – C – CGY

Ruzicka might just be Calgary’s best-kept secret. Ruzicka last year was producing at a near-point-per-game pace when he was playing in the top-six, then for some reason, Darryl Sutter decided to send him to the press box to never show his face again. However, this year is a new year, and Ruzicka is now skating on the second line with Kadri, and he is currently on the top power play unit. He is continuing to produce where he left off last year, as he has continued at a point-per-game pace. I don’t think Ruzicka is going to score 82 points this year (however, if he does I will not complain), but I do think he is a great option to stream in the meantime.

Hidden gems are unearthing

This is arguably the best time of the year to pick up a player who will be a regular contributor to your team for the rest of the year. Keep a very close eye on the waiver wire, and if Couturier is available in your league, please do yourself a favour and pick him up right now.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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