Fantasy NHL: Jordan Staal among week's top waiver wire picks

Jordan Staal is heating up at just the right time for the Carolina Hurricanes. Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire

Every week, we'll mine the waiver wire for lesser-owned 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 might be overvalued -- in the short or long term -- for one reason or another.


Jordan Staal, C, Carolina Hurricanes (23.0 percent): After a five-game drought, Staal -- whom we were all excited about following his healthy return in late February -- is finally back at it with three goals and three assists in his past five games. Splitting red-hot rookie Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen on a Hurricanes scoring line, the veteran center projects to wrap up 2018-19 on the upswing as Carolina aims to nail down a playoff berth during its final stretch of seven games.

Anthony Cirelli, C, Tampa Bay Lightning (7.0 percent): The Lightning's third-line center refuses to cool off. With 11 points in his past 12 contests, the 21-year-old has also scored a goal in three of his past four games. Averaging more than 16 minutes of ice time since early March, Cirelli could serve as a useful plug-in on any still-relevant roster hit by injury, unless power-play points come with a premium. Scoring with the extra skater simply isn't his jam.

Alexander Nylander, LW, Buffalo Sabres (1.2 percent): A future fantasy contributor in Buffalo, William Nylander's younger brother is earning an rich opportunity at present, skating on a top line with Jack Eichel and Conor Sheary. He scored from that very position (assisted by Eichel) last Saturday in Montreal. Drafted at No. 8 overall in 2016, the 21-year-old is expected to finally carve out a full-time role with the Sabres, beginning next fall. Though managers in deeper dynasty leagues should already be looking forward to that next chapter, Nylander might sport some dark horse value in DFS play in the present, at least as long as he sticks with that top forward unit.

Sam Steel, C, Anaheim Ducks (0.3 percent): Like Nylander in Buffalo, this Ducks prospect (another 2016 first-rounder) is someone to keep an eye on for next season and beyond in dynasty and keeper competition. However, also like Nylander, the 21-year-old is currently earning a shot at top-line minutes for a non-contender, filling in at center between Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg while Ryan Getzlaf nurses an upper-body injury. Steel is yet another intriguing option for those interested in DFS action in GPP play.


Dylan DeMelo, Ottawa Senators (2.0 percent): I'll tell you what, there's nothing "bush league" about the recent effort from this 25-year-old defenseman in Ottawa. After laying low for most of the season, the former Shark has erupted for a goal and five assists in his past four games, including two points with the man advantage. He's also seeing mega-minutes, skating on the top-pair and with the Senators' secondary power play. At minimum, there's DFS value to mine from DeMelo in GPP play, as the Senators finish out the season.

Devon Toews, New York Islanders (1.7 percent): It's Toews -- and not Nick Leddy or Ryan Pulock -- who is anchoring the Islanders' top power play as the club jostles for position in the Metro down the stretch. As such, contending fantasy teams with blue-line holes to fill in deeper leagues might consider the 25-year-old rookie. With only a half-dozen games remaining, he could certainly fetch you a few precious special-teams points.


Mike Smith, Calgary Flames (35.5 percent): Calgary's crease seemingly belongs to Smith as the "Best in the West" looks to secure the top spot in the Pacific over the next few days. Winner of back-to-back impressive showings against the Senators and Canucks, the veteran goalie is projected to start again on Monday versus the Kings. That adds up to three straight games on the bench for David Rittich. Furthermore, Calgary's remaining schedule features five of seven contests against non-playoff teams. This club wants nothing more than to storm into the postseason with Smith at his confident best. Any contending fantasy manager might give that some thought.

Lowered expectations

Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins (99.1 percent): His latest upper-body issue, be it related to his recent injury or something brand new, is concerning. After skating for only three games following a near month-long absence, Letang is now listed as day-to-day. Eyeing a successful run in the playoffs, the Penguins are likely to play it conservative in regard to their top offensive-defenseman. There's no chance they'll bring him back until he's fully fit.

Also saddled with that day-to-day tag, the following fantasy candidates also merit monitoring as the regular season draws to a close: Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche; Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks; Max Pacioretty, Vegas Golden Knights; Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild.