Waiver watch: Who to spotlight from the red-hot Hurricanes and Oilers

Keep an eye on Jordan Staal, especially if your league counts faceoffs. Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire

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.


Jordan Staal, C, Carolina Hurricanes (rostered in 33.5 percent of ESPN.com leagues): Centering a scoring line with Andrei Svechnikov and competing on a power play with Sebastian Aho and Nino Niederreiter, the veteran forward has four points (plus-five) in four recent games. Perennially underappreciated in the fantasy realm, Staal has a place in deeper leagues -- particularly where faceoff wins are awarded. A regular leader in that category, the 31-year-old only trails Sidney Crosby so far this season in both faceoffs taken and won.

Zack Kassian, RW, Edmonton Oilers (19.7 percent): There's no overlooking his current role, skating on an Oilers' top line with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Plus, he's producing, to the tune of three goals and two assists through five games. After several tough, underwhelming seasons in the NHL, the 2009 first-round draft selection might, finally, be in for a breakout campaign. Kassian is also usually good for a decent PIM haul, if your league is into that sort of thing.

Patrick Marleau, LW/C, San Jose Sharks (10.0 percent): All that offseason hard work is paying off as the veteran forward shifts seamlessly from unemployment to producing on San Jose's top line. Two games in, and Marleau has two goals and an assist on seven shots. As long as he remains on a unit with Logan Couture and Timo Meier, the 40-year-old remains relevant in most conventional ESPN.com leagues. After dropping four straight to start the season, the Sharks are 2-0 with Marleau back aboard.

Tanner Pearson, LW, Vancouver Canucks (8.6 percent): Of the three teams for which he played last year, Pearson was most productive, by far, in his 19-game stint with the Canucks, scoring nine goals and three assists. Now settled in on a scoring line and power play with Bo Horvat, the former King has two goals and two assists on 18 shots through four contests. He's also averaging more than 18 minutes per game. The 27-year-old winger is worth adding in deeper leagues.

Andre Burakovsky, LW/RW, Colorado Avalanche (5.0 percent): One of my preseason breakout candidates, Burakovsky is thus far satisfying expectations with two goals and two assists in four games. The talent has always been there for the former Capital, but not always the fit. Still working it out with new centerman Nazem Kadri, the 24-year-old winger might at long last erupt if the forward pairing develops consistent chemistry. I like their chances.

Oskar Lindblom, LW, Philadelphia Flyers (2.2 percent): Skating on a second line with Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny, Lindblom has a pair of goals and one assist in three games. That's a good spot for the young forward, who should see a significant increase in shots on net in his second full season. If he can maintain a grip on that top-six spot, a 30-goal campaign from Lindblom is not out of the question. Managers in deeper leagues should jump on him before he garners more attention.


Neal Pionk, Winnipeg Jets (29.9 percent): Ranking second to Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey in fantasy stature, Pionk is nonetheless worth investment in most conventional ESPN.com leagues. Anchoring the club's secondary power play, the former Ranger leads Winnipeg's battered blue line with two goals and three assists on 13 shots. As long as Dustin Byfuglien remains inactive -- no update to offer on that front -- Pionk should continue to contribute on the regular.

Devon Toews, New York Islanders (4.7 percent): Bettering fellow blueliners Ryan Pulock and Nick Leddy in the production department, Toews is justifying his recent inclusion in the Islanders' top power play. As long as he sticks there, the 25-year-old sophomore merits rostering in deeper leagues. A proven contributor in the AHL, Toews has 40- to 45-point potential at this level.


Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks (17.8 percent): Since this season's slightly wobbly opener, Markstrom has been great, stopping all but six of 100 shots in three straight games, including two victories. While the ever-improving Canucks won't win as many games as other teams, Markstrom should give his side a chance more often than not. An unlike numerous other No. 1 netminders, he's bound to shoulder a heavy workload. Please be aware, though, that Markstrom will be out this week after being granted a personal leave of absence from the team.

Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers (15.8 percent): The Oilers are 5-0 to start 2019-20 and Smith is jazzed. More performances like Saturday's 4-1 win over the Rangers, and the veteran netminder could swing more starts away from Mikko Koskinen (who also has been solid enough). While Edmonton is bound to tumble to earth at some point, Smith appears and sounds more confident than he has in some time. If you already need fantasy goaltending help, he's worth a flier. For now.

Ilya Samsonov, Washington Capitals (5.5 percent): Make that two near-perfect starts to launch his NHL career. Following up his impressive debut against the Islanders, the 22-year-old again allowed only one goal in Saturday's 4-1 win over the Stars. While there's no disputing Braden Holtby remains the No. 1 netminder for the Capitals (for now), Samsonov should see more action than anticipated if he keeps up this quality of play. At minimum, when tapped to start, the rookie goalie presents as an appealing option in Daily Fantasy play.

Lowered expectations

Petr Mrazek, G, Carolina Hurricanes (86.3 percent): Only because James Reimer (7.1%) is playing so well. Posting a .933 SV% and 2.65 GAA, the Hurricanes "backup" has started half of the club's six games to date. More of the same from the former Panther/Shark/Leaf, and coach Rod Brind'Amour is likely to stick with this even-stevens approach, if not even increase Reimer's workload. Which should concern managers wanting more than 40 starts from Mrazek.