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Scott Pianowski

Scouting Andrew MacDonald and other waiver-wire options

Scott Pianowski
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One size does not fit all with respect to waiver-wire columns. Here's a collection of players that might be available in your league, looking at a variety of ownership levels; feel free to suggest other alternatives in the comments.

Andrew MacDonald(notes) (owned in 7 percent of Yahoo! leagues): The Islanders are on a surprising 8-3-2 run over their last 13 games, and while we know this pace won't continue, at least we can finally remove the warning label from their players. MacDonald has taken over on the first-unit power play with James Wisniewski(notes) out of town, and the Mac Daddy has a respectable 11 assists over the last month, along with nine points on the power play. The minus-3 rating is a downer, but it's not going to crush you. Open your mind to this specialist.

Drew Stafford(notes) (24 percent): We're always on the lookout for post-hype sleepers and slow-to-develop prospects, and maybe Stafford is another case in point. The former first-round pick (No. 13 overall, 2004) has been tingling the twine plenty of late, pumping in 10 goals over his last 13 games (four on the power play). He's also got 43 shots on goal over that span. The shoulder injury from earlier in the year has clearly healed up now.

Steve Ott(notes) (18 percent): He's been the top penalty-minute grabber over the last month (55 minutes in the time-out room), and he's not a total flush with the stick (2-4-6, 16 shots, 22 goals last year). It's always nice to fill up on goon points without ignoring all the other categories. The Stars even use Ott a little bit on the secondary power-play unit.

Mikhail Grabovski(notes) (55 percent): I put this guy into the article simply to raise a question – what sort of league do you have to play in where Grabovski is still a free agent? He's on a 12-6-18 binge over his last 18 starts (4 PPGs, 69 shots) and he passes the eye test as well (gorgeous wrist shot, excellent hockey sense). Do leagues get abandoned? Do people play with tiny roster construction requirements? Is everyone afraid of the Maple Leafs?

Kris Versteeg(notes) (33 percent): If you judge him simply by his seasonal stats, you might pass him off without taking a second glance. But consider a couple of things here: Versteeg's scoring has been excellent from November-on (11-18-29 over his last 32 games) and he's actually been in the plus over the last month. The Leafs give him plenty of ice and time on the power play, and heck, left wing still isn't that deep of a position.

Jamie Benn(notes) (16 percent): When in doubt, it's generally a good idea to follow the shots – and Benn is on pace to finish with around 200 of them. You'd rather follow the red light instead? No worries: Benn potted a pair of goals (and collected seven shots) in Monday's win over Minnesota, then had another marker in Wednesday's victory over Edmonton.

Kevin Bieksa(notes) (54 percent): Normally you don't want to get too invested in defensemen that aren't piling up time (and points) on the power play, but Bieksa's run over the last month (4-7-11, plus-18, 34 shots) deserves our attention. It's a shame he isn't allowed more time with the league's No. 1 PP, but unfortunately for him the Canucks have probably the deepest blue line in the league right now. But so long as Bieksa is scoring elsewhere and making smart decisions all over the ice, why should we quibble?

If you want a cheaper blueline option in beautiful Western Canada, consider Dan Hamhuis(notes). He's getting time with the second-unit power play, and he's got five assists and a plus-13 rating over the past month.

Ryan Suter(notes) (48 percent): Is there a silent resistance to players that don't score a lot of goals? Suter has just one tally on the year and he hasn't spent much time in the sin bin, but otherwise he's doing all he can to help you. Over his last 19 games he's posted a 1-12-13 line, six points on the power play, and a plus-14 rating. He should be owned in 70 or 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Brad Winchester(notes) (1 percent): Here's a cheap rental to make if you're bored in the middle of a week and want to take a shot at some goon points. Winchester's physical style has earned him 27 minutes in time out over the last month, but he's also capable in the offensive end (27 shots, six goals). He's scored a point or made it to the penalty box in six of his last seven starts.

Dwayne Roloson(notes) (47 percent): He's spent most of his career toiling on less-than-ordinary clubs (this dates back to his River Hawk days), but the supporting cast in Tampa Bay could make Roloson a Top 10 goaltender the rest of the season. I can't understand why his ownership level isn't close to universal.


Image courtesy Associated Press

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