Waiver watch: Hot starts and solid goalies

Oscar Klefbom could be a key contributor for the Oilers. Andy Devlin/Getty Images

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.


James Neal, RW/LW, Edmonton Oilers (Rostered in 20.3 percent of ESPN.com leagues): Two goals in only his second game serve as a good start in proving Calgary just wasn't the right fit. While a top-six role alongside center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins assures of ample scoring chances at even-strength, it's Neal's spot on a No. 1 power play with Connor McDavid that appeals most. The 32-year-old veteran could pot 35 goals this season. It's also worth noting that Zack Kassian (3.0 percent) is hanging on to his top-line gig alongside McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and has three points to show for his efforts thus far.

Roope Hintz, C/LW, Dallas Stars (17.7 percent): To borrow from my ESPN.com colleague's twitter account, "Roope showing plenty of Hintz that a year two breakout is coming." Three goals in three games certainly suggests we have lift-off. Never mind their shaky first week, the Stars are going to contend this season, partly owing to the productivity put forth from their second-line center.

Pavel Buchnevich, RW/LW, New York Rangers (12.2 percent): A pair of assists though two games submits the 24-year-old is settling in comfortably enough on a top line and power play with Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin. As long as he continues to fulfill that role, Buchnevich has a place in all but the shallowest of ESPN.com leagues. Just keep in mind, the Rangers have only the one contest - Saturday versus the Oilers - on their schedule this week.

Victor Olofsson, RW/LW, Buffalo Sabres (11.0 percent): Skating on a top line and power play with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, the 24-year-old rookie doesn't seem the least intimidated by the big stage, scoring two goals and an assist in his first two games this season. Serves as a nice follow-up to last year's four points in a half-dozen contests. One of my picks to break out this year, Olofsson won't be widely available for long. Like, jump on this guy now.

Cody Glass, C, Vegas Golden Knights (9.3 percent): To start, Glass - not Paul Stastny as anticipated - is centering a Knights' dynamite scoring line that also includes Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone. As long as this scenario endures, Vegas' first ever draft pick should be spoken for in the majority of fantasy leagues. After collecting five points in a brief six-game AHL stint last year, the 20-year-old has a goal through his first two NHL contests.

Sammy Blais, LW/RW, St. Louis Blues (1.0 percent): A top-six dark horse that drew attention to close out the preseason, Blais is already exceeding expectations with a pair of goals and one assist through two contests. Linemate to Ryan O'Reilly and David Perron, the 23-year-old might not be long for earning a sniff with the extra skater as well. He has a place in deeper leagues.


Kevin Shattenkirk, Tampa Bay Lightning (27.0 percent): Now this is more like the Shattenkirk with whom we're familiar from his days in St. Louis. Rifling 11 shots through three games, the veteran defenseman has already equalled his goal total from all of last season in New York with two (plus an assist). Valuable minutes alongside partner Victor Hedman and with the secondary power play promise more of the same from the still only 30-year-old.

Oscar Klefbom, Edmonton Oilers (17.7 percent): Anchoring the Oilers' top power play, Klefbom is already credited with three assists, including two with the extra skater, after only two games. The evidential reluctance clearly felt by managers in investing in Klefbom in any league that rewards scoring is a bit boggling. Sure, he's had injury issues these last two seasons, but appears in good health now. The 26-year-old boasts 50-point potential, easily, if he can avoid falling hurt.


Jaroslav Halak, Boston Bruins (17.8 percent): Pitching a 35-save shutout against the Coyotes is a pretty nice way to launch 2019-20 after last year's solid campaign, his first in the Bruins' crease. At minimum, Halak serves a appealing tag-teammate to Tuukka Rask and tempting Daily Fantasy asset, when active. And should Rask falter or fall hurt, the 34-year-old journeyman could be so much more than that.

Carter Hutton, Buffalo Sabres (12.7 percent): Some of us here at ESPN.com made a rather large deal about Hutton joining forces with incoming goalie coach Mike Bales this season, and so far, we appear rather wise. Buffalo's No. 1 is already two wins to the good, stopping all but three total shots versus the Penguins and Devils, respectively. While it's super early, and could easily blow up in a hard hurry, Hutton is nonetheless off to a great start after last year's disappointing inaugural run with the Sabres. He certainly merits a roll of the dice in deeper leagues. Lowered expectations

Lowered Expectations

Ryan McDonagh, Tampa Bay Lightning (83.4 percent): Fellow Tampa blueliners Victor Hedman, Mikhail Sergachev and Kevin Shattenkirk (see above) all rank higher than McDonagh in conventional scoring-focussed fantasy leagues and yet here we are. A solid, well-rounded defenseman, McDonagh will undoubtedly contribute, but not to the degree of the aforementioned three.

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers (39.6 percent): I'm worried he won't play that much. Only two games in, and the Rangers already seem inclined to split the netminding work rather evenly between Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev. Further, the 23-year-old backup looked great against the Senators, stopping 31 of 32 shots for the win. This rhythm keeps up, and managers keen on rostering Lundqvist may not get more than 45 games out of the veteran this season.