The National Hockey League is back in full swing and after an opening week full of hat tricks, blowouts and the debut of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, there is a lot to talk about. Focusing on fantasy, there are a couple of players owned in less than 40% of Yahoo leagues that have gotten off to really quick starts this season, putting up the kind of numbers you want on your fantasy team. Here are the top players to grab on the waiver wire in fantasy hockey after the first week of the NHL season.
Jesper Bratt, LW/RW, New Jersey Devils
It has been a hot start to the season for rookie Jesper Bratt, who has five points in his first two games. In fact, Bratt became the first Devil in franchise history to record five points in the first two games of any season. Bratt is great on the penalty kill and already has two shorthanded points. Bratt can be played at left and right wing, which is another added benefit. Look for Bratt to become one of the most important forwards for the Devils this season, making him a great asset to grab now.
Semyon Varlamov, G, Colorado Avalanche
As one of the least owned starting goaltenders in fantasy, Semyon Varlamov is available in over 60% of Yahoo leagues. Varlamov has started the 2017-18 off on fire, registering two wins and a shutout through his first two games. He has so far turned away 66 of the 68 shots he has faced for a sizzling .971 save percentage. Semyon has yet to get a home start, where he has a better career save percentage and GAA. If Semyon can stay healthy, it is almost a guarantee he will improve on his 6-17-0 record from last season.
The Avs have been a bit of a surprise to start the season. They are 2-1-0 through three games. Seeing them over .500 at any point is not something bettors were expecting.
Leo Komarov, C/LW, Toronto Maple Leafs
With the Maple Leafs offense exploding for 19 goals in the first three games, just about everyone on the team is contributing. Of all the players, Leo Komarov is owned in the lowest percentage of Yahoo fantasy leagues at just 16%. Komarov has three points, two of which came on the power play, to go with six shots, three blocks and ten hits. Komarov has shown he can be a decent value pickup in fantasy hockey as someone who can rack up hits and may be able to top 20 goals this season making him even better.
The Maple Leafs are currently at the top of the Eastern Conference with three wins in three games. They’re the only team left in the Atlantic Division that has yet to lose this season.
Jan Rutta, D, Chicago Blackhawks
Making his NHL debut this season, Jan Rutta is so far having a great start for the Chicago Blackhawks. The rookie has four points in three games and sports a +7 rating. Neither of his two goals came in the Blackhawks 10-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, which is a positive sign for his potential this season. The Blackhawks are a great organization, who develop their players well, meaning Rutta could become one of the best rookie defensemen in the NHL this season. Rutta is worth an add, especially if you lost someone like Alec Martinez to the IR to start the season or you play in a dynasty league and are already thinking about the future.
Sean Couturier, C, Philadelphia Flyers
It may be just three games into the season, but signs are pointing towards Sean Couturier having a career year. The lifelong Philadelphia Flyer has yet to top 40 points in a season, but the center is currently on pace for 82. Although it is quite unlikely he gets 82, he could finish somewhere between 40 and 60. He was on pace for 51 points in 2015-16, but injuries limited him to just 63 games. Couturier is currently averaging a career high in ice time, shots per game and hits per game, meaning he could amass enough aggregate numbers to be worth a spot on your bench.
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