Every week, we’ll mine the waiver wire for lesser-rostered assets to help your squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft format, and we’ll also toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who may be overvalued – in the short- or long-term – for one reason or another.

This week we’re focussing on players to help get you through the first round of your head-to-head playoff bracket. There’s no round two if you don’t get through the first match-up.


Forwards

Alex Killorn, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (Rostered in 54.8% of ESPN.com leagues): To be honest, I’m more enchanted with Tampa’s current schedule than this specific player, but sometimes the bigger picture deserves such attention. There’s plenty of scoring to be enjoyed when the Lightning host the Maple Leafs Monday, then visit the Capitals on Wednesday, before returning home to play the Bruins and Sabres, Friday and Sunday respectively. The team’s No. 2 forward line, including Killorn and Anthony Cirelli, should contribute their reasonable share. As discussed last week [link: schedule hack], Tampa is active on days when most of the league is not, offering additional advantage when tough roster decisions have to be made.

Robert Thomas, C, St. Louis Blues (19.4%): This is definitely the week to roll out your favourite fantasy commodities in St. Louis. The Blues host all four of their games, scheduled between Monday and Saturday, against a parade of mostly non-playoff teams (exception: Minnesota Wild). If in the market for a Blues asset, might I suggest the club’s second-line center, skating between Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich. Thomas is riding a five-game point streak, with three goals and six assists over that span. Impressive stuff.

Rickard Rakell, C/RW, Pittsburgh Penguins (17.0%): You can almost see the on-ice chemistry between Rakell and Evgeni Malkin blossoming in real time. Fresh into their new relationship, the two already have a combined 12 points in their past four games. Look for that total to grow this week, when the Penguins play the Avalanche, Rangers, Capitals, and Predators. Three of those lively tilts taking place on Pittsburgh’s home ice. Rakell presents as a game-changing, under-radar fantasy gem now more than ever.

Ilya Mikheyev, LW/RW, Toronto Maple Leafs (6.2%): The Maple Leafs’ speedy winger is demonstrating a knack for putting the puck in the net, regardless of where he slots into the lineup. Five goals in nine games, including one short-handed, certainly suggests as much. Betcha Mikheyev puts up at least a couple more this week, when Toronto faces the Lightning, Panthers, Stars, and Canadiens. He’s worth consideration in deeper conventional leagues.

Erik Haula, C/LW, Boston Bruins (5.3%): Doing his best to make up for a much-missed (and perennially underrated) David Krejci, the Bruins’ current second-line center is holding his own these days. Skating alongside David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall, Haula has four goals and six assists in is past six contests. Not a bad haul(a) at all. Unlike his linemates, the well-travelled 31-year-old is widely available in ESPN.com leagues. The Bruins visit the Blue Jackets, Red Wings, Lightning, and Capitals this busy week. Plenty of opportunities to put up more points.

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Erik Haula scores his 2nd goal of the night to put the Bruins ahead late

Erik Haula scores his 2nd goal of the night to put the Bruins ahead late

Defenders

Noah Hanifin, Calgary Flames (14.8%): The Flames’ top-pair defender is on a nice little tear of late, contributing a goal and five assists, including a helper with the extra skater, through five contests. Hanifin also leads Calgary’s blue line with 153 shots on the year. The Flames are touring the west coast this week, making stops in Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, and Seattle. Aside from the early tilt with the Kings, that’s a fairly pleasant road trip. I would be surprised if Hanifin doesn’t end up with another handful of points before next week.

Erik Brannstrom, Ottawa Senators (14.3%): With Thomas Chabot shelved for the remainder of he season, Brannstrom is earning the opportunity anchor the Senators’ top power play. The 22-year-old defender has three assists with the extra skater since Chabot was forced from action in mid-March. If special teams scoring counts as a premium in your deeper fantasy league, consider adding the 15th overall draft pick (2017). Ottawa faces the Canadiens, Predators, Rangers, and Jets this week.

Goaltenders

Ville Husso, St. Louis Blues (55.3%): The Blues’ better netminder projects to play three of the team’s four home contests this week, including Monday’s meeting with the Coyotes. Wednesday’s game against the Kraken, followed by an appearance versus either the Islanders or Wild – leaving a struggling Jordan Binnington to fight through the other – wraps up what presents as a potentially success-heavy week for Husso. I wish St. Louis’ current No. 1 was available in any of my own fantasy leagues. Sadly he is not.

See also: Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars (59.2%)

Lowered expectations

Jonathan Toews, C, Chicago Blackhawks (58.8%): He’s hit another dry spell. After a livelier March, the Blackhawks captain is now three games into a fresh point-less streak. And Chicago only plays twice this week. Turn elsewhere for genuine fantasy help up front.