The value of a stud goaltender is often overlooked on draft day. It can hurt your fantasy squad dearly in the long run if your goaltending statistics aren't up to par, and when you lose key netminders to injuries it can sting even more. The long-term injuries to Carolina's Cam Ward and Florida's Jose Theodore will open the door for new options for fantasy owners looking to improve their goaltending situations. This week's Waiver Wired will highlight some goalies, who may be available to fantasy GMs looking for replacements or for those trying to shore up their depth, as well as a number of other skaters worthy of your consideration.
Dan Ellis (G - Carolina Hurricanes) - With Cam Ward out six to eight weeks because of a third-degree MCL sprain, Ellis should get the majority of the team's starts in his absence. An illness has prevented him playing since Ward got hurt, so Justin Peters has filled in for the time being. But Ellis should be back in the crease soon. He has a 3-2-0 record with a .923 save percentage and a 2.53 GAA this campaign and the Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes should provide him with solid support. He's owned in 35 percent of Yahoo! leagues right now. Keeping tabs on Peters, who is owned in just six percent of Yahoo! leagues, might not be a bad idea either.
Jake Allen (G - St. Louis Blues) - The St. Louis Blues brought up Allen from the minors earlier this week. The club appears to be quickly losing faith in struggling backup Brian Elliott, and Jaroslav Halak may or may not still be feeling the effects of an injured groin that kept him on the shelf last month. Allen should get some starts in the interim, and in the long term he could push Elliott out as the team's number two option. He's worth gambling on right now due to his 4-1-0 record and is owned in only nine percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Robin Lehner (G - Ottawa Senators) - Number one goalie Craig Anderson is being brought along slowly from his ankle injury, so Lehner has been able to share starts with Ben Bishop in Ottawa's crease during his absence. Lehner has a 1-0-2 record with a .948 save percentage and a 1.90 GAA since being brought up from the minors and he's owned in just six percent of Yahoo! leagues. He'll probably return to the AHL once Anderson is healthy, so he may not be as stable an option as Bishop, who is owned in 33 percent of Yahoo! leagues. However, if you can't get a hold of Bishop, Lehner is an excellent consolation prize.
Chris Stewart (RW - St. Louis Blues) - Stewart has jumped to a 46 ownership in Yahoo! Leagues, thanks to a hot stretch of hockey of late. He didn't have a productive start to the year following a tough 2011-12 campaign, but he has been racking up points since the beginning of February with five goals and 11 assists in his past 13 contests. With Andy McDonald and Alexander Steen sidelined with injuries, he's made the most of playing on the second line alongside Patrik Berglund and David Perron. Stewart is capable of chipping in some penalty minutes as well.
Derek Roy (C - Dallas Stars) - Roy has rebounded well in Dallas this campaign after struggling in his final year with Buffalo last season. He has three goals and 15 helpers in 18 matches for a 0.83 points per game pace. Roy has two markers and six points in his past four games, so he appears to be heating up and the goals should start to come more frequently than they did earlier in the year. If you are in need of assists, he'll likely continue to produce plenty of those as well. He is owned in 24 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so he could be had rather easily for those seeking a playmaking center.
Brandon Saad (LW - Chicago Blackhawks) - The rookie winger didn't accomplish much of anything in the early going this campaign with three goals and no assists in his opening 18 appearances. Saad has played the majority of the year on a line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, so more was expected of him. However it looks as though he's finally starting to get comfortable. In his last six games, he has notched a goal and six helpers. The 20-year-old has great value in keeper leagues and he's finally starting to gain significance in redraft formats as well. He's owned in 10 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Brendan Gallagher (RW - Montreal Canadiens) - The Montreal rookie has been a pleasant surprise at the halfway point of this season. He has six goals and 13 points in 20 games to place him third in scoring among first-year players heading into Saturday night's action. Gallagher leads all rookies with a plus-10 rating and since Erik Cole was dealt to Dallas, he has played on the team's top line alongside David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty. He's owned in only 17 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Eric Fehr (RW - Washington Capitals) - Fehr saw very limited ice time in his first eight outings this year, which resulted in no points. His last 11 contests have yielded much different results, with six goals and six assists, and it probably isn't a coincidence that his ice time went up during that span. Fehr has been riding shotgun with playmaking whiz Nicklas Backstrom in Washington's top-six forward group. He is available in 97 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so he can be had rather easily if you are looking a hot stick to add to your lineup.
Dougie Hamilton (D - Boston Bruins) - Hamilton has endured some shortcomings on defense during his rookie year, but he has been solid in the attacking zone with three goals and 12 points in 21 games. He's the only regular on the Bruins defense corps with a minus plus-minus rating (-3), but his two power-play tallies lead the club from the back end as does his 12 points. Hamilton is also second among Boston's blueliners with 48 shots, which trails Zdeno Chara by one. He has two goals and two assists in his last five games and is owned in 38 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Jacob Markstrom (G - Florida Panthers) -The Panthers are expected to usher in the start of the Jacob Markstrom era with Jose Theodore projected to miss five to six weeks with a groin injury. Markstrom has gotten off to an uneasy start since taking over the team's number one goalie duties, with one win in three outings, but he is better than that. The Panthers can't be counted upon to support him very well on defense and offense, so he is a risky bet if you are looking for wins. Still, he does have plenty of potential and could end up posting a decent save percentage once he settles himself down.
Alex Killorn (C - Tampa Bay Lightning) - The Tampa Bay rookie is owned in just one percent of Yahoo! leagues, but he's starting to turn heads with the Lightning. He has four goals and eight points in 14 games since joining the Bolts from the minors on Feb. 10. Killhorn has been playing with Tampa veterans Vicent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, which adds another wrinkle to his fantasy value. He has 32 shots, which makes him a good triggerman for his pass-happy linemates.
Beau Bennett (RW - Pittsburgh Penguins) - Bennett is a sizable gamble right now. Pittsburgh has experimented with several different players on a line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal this campaign, so it's hard to take anyone who plays there seriously at this point. Bennett is getting another go around with the elite fantasy forwards and he picked up an assist against Philadelphia Thursday night. Granted, that isn't much to go on, but he does have four points in nine contests this season and the Penguins are high on his skill level. If he can gain some confidence he could be worth keeping an eye on.
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