USA Hockey has already announced its roster for the Olympics in Sochi. The selection committee has been greeted with praise and plenty of criticism for their choices. More of the same will occur this coming week when the rest of the world makes their choices known to the public. Plenty of players will be snubbed, like Bobby Ryan, Kyle Okposo, Keith Yandle and Ben Bishop were from the roster of the United States, and fantasy owners could end up benefiting as a result. Not being selected is a great motivator. Keep an eye on the waiver wire or on the trade front for players of that ilk. On the opposite end of the spectrum, being named to an Olympic team could also give someone a shot in the arm and make them play with more zeal heading into their trip to Russia.
This week's edition of Waiver Wired highlights several players who are making their way back from injuries, so they should be available. The NHL Olympic break isn't that far away, but there is enough time for them to rediscover their respective touches in order to have strong second halves.
Shane Doan (PHX) - LW/RW - Owned in 44% of Yahoo! leagues
Doan has been given the green light to return to the lineup on Saturday night after missing 12 games because of Rocky Mountain fever. He wants to make a difference for his teammates, but his lungs will probably be burning in his first game back. Conditioning and rust might be issues for him early on, but Doan should return to form shortly thereafter. Prior to acquiring the tick-borne illness, the Coyotes' captain had 12 goals and 23 points in 27 games. He's also racked up 80 shots and 57 hits. Doan's strong 2013-14 campaign should make him an attractive option for fantasy GMs if he's available, especially with Phoenix trying to hold down a Wild Card spot in the second half.
Nathan Horton (CBJ) - RW - Owned in 31% of Yahoo! leagues
Horton made his long-awaited Columbus debut in Thursday's 2-0 win over Phoenix. He signed a seven-year, $37.1 million contract with the Blue Jackets this past summer, but he had to wait until January to play in his first game because of off-season shoulder surgery. He was eased into the rotation with 14:47 of ice time, but he also saw 2:58 of action on the power play and that's where he scored his first goal in a Columbus uniform. Horton finished the contest with two shots and three hits as well. Now, he has 41 games remaining to continue that positive impression. Look for Horton to record around 15 goals and 30 points for the rest of the season.
Tyler Bozak (TOR) - C - Owned in 28% of Yahoo! leagues
Bozak has been a productive player for the Maple Leafs in 2013-14, but staying healthy has been an issue for him. He returned to active duty last Sunday after missing 12 contests with an oblique injury and collected three assists against Carolina. Bozak followed up that performance by scoring a regulation goal and the shootout winner during the Winter Classic versus Detroit. He also topped 55 percent success rates on faceoffs in both of those matches. He isn't taking many shots this year, but that shouldn't be a problem that extends much longer. Bozak is relied upon heavily for his work on the draw by the Toronto coaching staff, which leads to plenty of ice time and his chemistry with star duo Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk should land him on more fantasy rosters. He has notched five goals and 15 helpers in 18 games, which surprisingly still has him on pace to set a new career high for points despite spending so much time on the injured list.
Ryan Callahan (NYR) - RW - Owned in 41% of Yahoo! leagues
Callahan got back into New York's lineup Friday night after sitting out nine games with a knee injury. He's been limited to 25 games this season because of ailments, but when he plays he is capable of contributing shots, hits, blocks and points. The Rangers captain should be playing with something to prove, as a pending unrestricted free agent. He'll also be looking to whip himself back into shape with his participation in the Olympics just around the corner. Callahan should rack up plenty of hits and shots, while trying to get back the scoring touch that saw him post a four-game point streak from Oct. 12 to Nov. 7.
Erik Johnson (COL) - D - Owned in 42% of Yahoo! leagues
As mentioned above, Yandle was a key omission from Team USA Olympic roster. The decision to exclude Johnson was puzzling as well. He has more international experience than several of the players who were selected and he spent a considerable amount of time in the U.S. National Team Development Program. Additionally, he is having one of his better showings of his career in 2013-14. Johnson has six goals, 18 points and a plus-11 rating in 40 games. His plus-minus has taken a hit in recent outings, but he's been very productive with four markers and five assists in his past nine matches. During that span, he's been more active on the power play, where he's recorded four points. He was surprised by the Olympic snub and it could give him an additional nudge going into the Winter Games.
Andrew MacDonald (NYI) - D- Owned in 11% of Yahoo! leagues
Leagues that credit blocked shots are very familiar with MacDonald. He has surpassed 100 shot defenses in four straight seasons, including the 2013-14 campaign. MacDonald leads the league by a wide margin this year with 143 blocks in 42 games. He's added a new element to his repertoire lately by recording some points. MacDonald has dished out five assists in his past three matches and two of them came on man advantage opportunities versus Boston on Tuesday night. He's been averaging 3:14 of power-play time this year because New York has been missing Lubomir Visnovsky since mid-October due to a concussion. MacDonald has picked up seven of his 19 points with the man advantage. He doesn't shoot very often, but his power-play role gives him some value in standard leagues and he's on pace to register a personal best of 37 points this year.
Tim Thomas (FLA) - Owned in 29% of Yahoo! leagues
Thomas returned to action from a groin injury on New Year's Eve after sitting out eight games. He made 30 stops in a 2-1 shootout defeat to the New York Rangers. Prior to getting hurt, the 39-year-old netminder posted three consecutive victories. The Panthers have been trending in the right direction since interim coach Peter Horachek took over and Thomas will continue to serve as the team's starting goalie with him at the helm. Consistency could be an issue for Thomas, but if the match-ups are favorable and Florida continues their improvement then he is a solid depth option.
Mike Fisher (NSH) - C - Owned in 9% of Yahoo! leagues
Fisher has been scorching hot recently, with multi-point outings in three straight games heading into Saturday's match with Florida. He has produced three goals and five assists during that span to give him 10 goals and 21 points in 34 games. Fisher is currently on pace to hit the 20-goal plateau for the sixth time in his career and he should get close to the 50-point mark as well. The tenacious center can also chip in shots (86) and hits (67). Fisher is worthy of a flier in deeper leagues based on his recent streak.
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