Waiver Wednesday: Panthers’ Barkov is a must-own star

Panthers coach Gerard Gallant joins HC at Noon to talk about the teams nine-game winning streak , Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr playing well together and communication on the bench.

Every fantasy hockey squad should be looking for a boost. Whether you are trying to climb out of the cellar or hang on to first place there are always ways to improve your club.

The waiver wire is one such way.

Mining value off the waiver wire, be it in the form of a short-term injury filler or a long-term replacement for a dud you drafted, is a great way to get ahead. Here are six players widely available in fantasy hockey leagues (all ownership values are based on Yahoo! leagues).

Aleksander Barkov – C – 54 per cent owned
Barkov’s ownership climbed eight per cent since we last checked in but this is still woefully low for a genuine star. All he did in the past week was score three points in three games to extend his scoring streak to five games.

With 28 points in 33 games Barkov is on pace for a 64-point season, which would mean 36 more the rest of the way. That would be valuable to every fantasy squad.

Ondrej Palat – LW – 51 per cent owned
It has been a tough go for Palat. Between his own struggles and those of his linemates, plus losing 20 games to injury, Palat has largely been irrelevant. With just 11 points through 23 games it is understandable why you might be weary of Palat.

The Lightning are largely healthy and a Jonathan Drouin trade could bring an added boost that gets everyone scoring. Palat scored at a 60-point pace through his first two seasons. Expecting a similar pace in the second half is not out of the question.

Ryan Spooner – C/LW – 31 per cent owned
Since David Krejci went down with injury Spooner has seen his ice time spike from about 14 minutes per game to nearly 17, while maintaining a spot on the lethal Bruin power play. He has seven points in six games without Krejci making him a great short-term addition.

Alexander Wennberg – C – Three per cent owned
When we broke down the Ryan Johansen-Seth Jones trade last week we pegged Wennberg as a big winner. Little has changed in that regard, he remains the top centreman in Columbus lining up with Scott Hartnell and Brandon Saad in all situations.

With 14 points in his last 17 games Wennberg looks good for 25-30 points in the second half.

Mattias Ekholm – D – Five per cent owned
This is one for those of you in deep leagues. Ekholm may be an under-the-radar winner of the Jones-Johansen exchange.

Through the first two games without Jones, Ekholm led the Predators in ice time with over 24 minutes per game, while seeing power-play time with Johansen, James Neal, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Ellis. By their third game (Tuesday in Chicago) that power-play combination had already changed but Ekholm still saw over 22 minutes of action.

He is fourth in the pecking order among Predator defencemen but he could prove a lucrative addition.

Jacob Markstrom – G – 13 per cent owned
Need help in goal? Markstrom is running with the Canucks job in Ryan Miller’s absence and is doing a pretty darn good job with a 0.929 save percentage on the season.

He may not get you a ton of wins but Markstrom is stopping pucks at a reliable rate.

Steve Laidlaw is the Managing Editor of Dobberhockey. You can follow him on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw. For more help in your fantasy league, pick up the Dobberhockey Mid-Season guide full with over 600 player projections for the second half of the season.