Fantasy hockey: A player to add for each category this week

·6 min read
Three Ducks and a pair of Panthers headline this week's group of players to target in each fantasy hockey category. (Getty)
Three Ducks and a pair of Panthers headline this week's group of players to target in each fantasy hockey category. (Getty)

In fantasy hockey, you may want to hang onto your Anaheim Ducks.

For the second straight week, Anaheim has four games lined up on the schedule which means a number of the team's players will continue to be useful for fantasy hockey managers.

While #DuckSZN lives on, there are players from other squads that are worth snatching from your league's waiver wire for Week 3, too.

Here's one player for each category I suggest adding for your upcoming matchup.

Goals: C Pierre-Luc Dubois, Winnipeg Jets (52% rostered on Yahoo)

I'm cheating a little bit here because Pierre-Luc Dubois is rostered in more than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, but hear me out.

The 2020-21 campaign was an uncharacteristically bad year for the Jets centre, but his strong start to this season is proving that last year was just an anomaly.

A coaching conflict and a mid-season trade are hardly ever the ingredients to a successful season, but now in his second year with Winnipeg, Dubois seems to be putting it all together. Through five games, the 2016 third-overall pick has potted four goals and two assists, including two power-play points. Posting up on the Jets' second line and top PP unit, his 18:34 average time-on-ice is a good indicator of continued production. He's also delivered in the defensive categories as he's recorded four blocks and five hits. Winnipeg has three games scheduled for the upcoming week, but Dubois is shaping up to be a season-long hold.

Assists: C/LW Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks (38%)

Some players are just too good to let them sit on the waiver wire, and Trevor Zegras is one of those guys.

The youngster has struggled to start the 2021-22 season, posting just one assist through six games of action. The thing with a player like Zegras, however, is that he can strike at any time, and if you don't act now you're probably going to be too late.

The thing that makes me increasingly confident about a Zegras breakout is we've already seen him put forward strong outputs at the AHL and NHL levels. Last year with the Ducks' AHL affiliate in San Diego, Zegras totaled 10 goals and 21 points in 17 contests. With Anaheim, he posted three goals and 13 points across 24 games, which is pretty impressive for a first-year player.

Seeing minutes on the first line and top power-play unit, the results are going to come soon.

Plus-minus: LW/RW Anthony Duclair, Florida Panthers (28%)

If you get an opportunity to add a player who's playing on the first line for the best team in the NHL, you take it.

That's right, Anthony Duclair, who gets to play alongside Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe, is available in over 70% of Yahoo leagues, but that'll change before Week 3 ends.

The only reason why Duclair's rostered percentage lacks compared to others is because of his ice time. The winger is averaging just 11:16, but that's mainly because he doesn't play on special teams.

But for the purposes of plus-minus, that doesn't matter. He's a sterling plus-six this year with three goals, and the Panthers play four games this week.

Power-play points: D Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks (12%)

Cam Fowler has recorded four points this season, and all of them have come on the power play.

What makes this even more impressive, however, is he's done it while playing on the Ducks' second power-play unit. Head coach Dallas Eakins has deployed both units fairly evenly in 2021-22, however, which is why Fowler is worth nabbing ahead of next week.

In addition to his production on the man-advantage, Fowler has also provided solid defensive category numbers. In six games, he's compiled three hits and 11 shot blocks.

Shots on goal: RW Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings (17%)

After a bounce-back season in 2020-21, Dustin Brown has continued his success so far this year.

Through five games, the Kings' captain has registered two goals and five points. Additionally, Brown has been peppering puck stoppers this year, totaling 17 shots. With a solid stream of minutes coming his way while serving on Los Angeles's first line and top power-play unit, there's nothing to suggest that his production will taper off.

Brown has also dished out 11 hits this season, making him an increasingly valuable target in banger leagues. He and the Kings play four games this week.

Faceoffs won: C/LW Christian Dvorak, Montreal Canadiens (20%)

While the Canadiens have become an offense to avoid almost entirely, Christian Dvorak is a solid add for managers in need of some more draw victories in Week 3.

His 65 draw victories to begin this season rank sixth in the league, and it's a continuation of the success he had last year. In 2020-21, Dvorak's 553 faceoff wins ranked ninth across the NHL.

Although he's only notched one goal and two assists through six games, he is averaging 19:26 of time-on-ice while seeing deployment on the first PP unit. He's also blocked seven shots, which isn't bad for a forward. He and the Habs play four games this upcoming week.

Hits: D Radko Gudas, Florida Panthers (41%)

The NHL's premier bone-crusher, Radko Gudas is the go-to option for those looking to get their hits up.

Last season, Gudas' 250 hits led the entire league, and he's back to his old tricks in 2021-22. Through five games, the Panthers blueliner has dished out 24 body checks — including seven in his most recent outing.

The physical rearguard has also been a solid contributor in other regards to start this campaign, tallying two assists, nine blocks and a plus-six rating.

With four games in Week 3, Gudas will slot right near the top of the hits leaders for this upcoming week.

Blocks: D Kevin Shattenkirk, Anaheim Ducks (55%)

Kevin Shattenkirk is the final Ducks player on the list, I promise.

It's hard to find many players on the waiver wire that block shots and do other things, but Shattenkirk has been doing just that this season. Through five games, the defenseman has blocked a respectable 12 shots while also recording three goals and six points — with half of those coming on the power play.

Averaging a respectable 19:33 TOI, Shattenkirk is involved enough to warrant consideration with four games in Week 3.

Goaltending: G Mikko Koskinen, Edmonton Oilers (47%)

While Mike Smith's lower-body injury may have created a temporary opening for Mikko Koskinen to make some appearances, he's shown well enough to believe that he may steal some starts from Smith as the season progresses.

In his three outings this year, Koskinen has earned three wins, a .943 save percentage, a 2.03 goals-against average, and a 1.6 goals saved above expected mark, per MoneyPuck. 

What's important to remember in all of this is that Smith is 39-years-old. Expecting any netminder, especially one at Smith's age, to handle a full workload over an 82-game season is unrealistic. Edmonton will need Koskinen to mix in fairly frequently to keep Smith fresh. And if Koskinen can shore up a 1B job, that'll be very fantasy relevant on an Oilers team that is rolling.

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