Yesterday we identified some sell high candidates that likely have some regression coming their way, but today we will take a look at the other side of the coin and identify some names that you should look to acquire while their stocks are low. Remember, fantasy hockey is all about waiver wire and trade timing, so let’s make sure we are doing both throughout the season. Let’s go!
Bryan Little (WPG) – 16 GP, 1 G, 4 A
As far current production versus past production goes you would be hard-pressed to find a player who is underperforming more than the Jets’ Bryan Little. Little has recorded just one goal and five points across 16 games this season, and possibly more concerning are his 16 shots on goal in those 16 games. It’s tough to score when you are only getting one puck through a night, albeit we realize that Little is not a goal scorer by trade. That said, past production is a real good indicator of future production for the most part, and Little has been a very steady producer in the league for a lot of years. Over the last two seasons, Little has scored at 0.77 points per game, and over his six seasons as a Winnipeg Jet, the veteran has scored at 0.73 points per game. Including his sophomore season with the Atlanta Thrashers, Little has recorded five 20-goal seasons including last year when he bagged 21. He has a career 13.2% shooting percentage, and although he has just 16 shots, his current 6.3% mark is due for some serious positive regression moving forward.
Justin Faulk (CAR) – 16 GP, 1 G, 2 A
Faulk has quietly been one of the NHL’s top goal-scoring defenseman for a few years in Carolina but this season his puck luck has let him down. Despite firing 50 shots on goal this season, Faulk has just one goal to show for it. Over the last three seasons, Faulk’s 48 goals are the sixth most among defenseman and rank ahead of names like Drew Doughty, P.K. Subban and Alex Pietrangelo. Of course, shooting percentages are typically low for defensemen as a good deal of their shots come from long range, but Faulk’s current clip of 2% falls miles under his career 6.5% mark. He fired a whopping 225 shots on goal last season and if he even comes close to that mark again we can expect his goals to easily reach double digits for the fourth straight season. He ranks second on the team in ice time per game at 23:15 and leads all Hurricanes’ skaters with 3:19 of power play ice time per game. If you need some scoring on the back end perhaps you should target Faulk as he is a strong bet to break out very soon.
Oscar Klefbom (EDM) – 17 GP, 1 G, 3 A
If you can’t get Faulk off of someone perhaps you can give Klefbom a go. His scoring history isn’t quite as deep as Faulk’s, but there is little doubt he has better days ahead of him this season. Despite having recorded 55 shots this season, Klefbom has just a single goal and a 1.8% shooting percentage to boot. He is coming off of a 12-goal season with the Oilers where he took 201 shots and recorded 16 power play points as well. With Edmonton ranking dead last in NHL scoring and their power play sitting 24th at just 14.9%, it’s clear why Klefbom hasn’t been producing as expected. That said, that Oilers’ man advantage is most certainly going to improve with the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl involved and Edmonton as a team has positive regression coming their way as they rank 2nd in the NHL in Corsi%. They also rank third in shots per game (35.8) and first in shots per game at home (40.1). Once some of these shots inevitably start to go in expect Klefbom’s production to increase dramatically.
Cam Atkinson (CBJ) – 14 GP, 4 G, 1 A
Atkinson might be tougher to acquire than the previous three, but he is certainly worth a try. After enjoying career highs in goals (35) and points (62) last season, Atkinson has now essentially increased his production three years in a row, just the type of increase teams like to see form their young players. Atkinson has missed a few games with an injury but has largely had a disappointing season to date with just four goals and five points in 14 games. After averaging 2.9 shots per game last season, Atkinson is up to 3.4 per game this season, however the main difference has been in shooting percentage where he currently sits at 8.3% compared to last seasons’ 14.6% mark. Also of note is the fact Atkinson tallied 21 of his 62 points on the power play, but the fact Columbus sits dead last by far with a meager 9.6% clip on the man advantage helps explain Atkinson’s early season struggles. That power play will begin to heat up at some point, as will Atkinson and his goal scoring clip, one that you should target while his stock sits low.