The Montreal Canadiens have been ravaged with injuries up front this year, but have recently seen a couple of unlikely forwards step up offensively. These two players, plus more, are featured below in our waiver wire picks for the week.
Artturi Lehkonen, LW, MON
Alex Galchenyuk. David Desharnais. Andrew Shaw. Brendan Gallagher. Those are the Habs’ forwards who are all currently out of the lineup. Lehkonen has stepped up in their absence, now with five points over his last four games. If you follow the Canadiens closely enough, you may have scooped up Lehkonen in time for him scoring two goals and adding an assist on Wednesday night in Winnipeg. Lehkonen’s role will likely decrease once some of these players return from injury, but he’s also one to consider in keeper leagues.
Phillip Danault, C/LW, MON
Danault was also in on the Canadiens’ seven-goal outburst on Wednesday, scoring two goals himself. He has recently been putting points on the board, scoring five points over his last five games. He has also been receiving favourable ice time, skating at least 20 minutes in two of those five games on what is now the Habs’ top line with Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov (more line combinations here). With 21 points in 43 games, Danault is on pace for 40 points.
Michael Frolik, C/RW, CGY
We featured Frolik’s linemate Mikael Backlund as a waiver-wire pickup a couple weeks ago, and Matthew Tkachuk should be added if he happens to still be available in your league. But the third member of one of the league’s hottest lines is also scoring points and is the likeliest of the three to be available. Frolik is a red-hot Flame, scoring ten points over his last nine games. He has also scored five goals in his last six games and is currently on pace to score over 20 goals this season. During that goal stretch, he has also been helping fantasy owners by registering 18 shots on goal.
Ryan Hartman, RW, CHI
Hartman is currently putting up some points. Fresh off a hat trick on Sunday against Nashville, Hartman recorded two assists against Detroit on Tuesday. Although his ice time totals aren’t great playing on the Blackhawks’ third line, Hartman is a former 30th overall pick who posted solid points and penalty minute totals in both the OHL and AHL. With 19 points in 39 games, Hartman is also on pace for a close to 40-point season – a nice total for a rookie who hasn’t seen much ice time with the Hawks’ big guns.
Tanner Pearson, LW, LA
Jeff Carter is the Kings’ leading scorer this season, and it’s not even close. So anyone who is scoring on the Kings has to be on a line with Carter. Such is the case for Pearson, who has scored nine points in his last ten games and five goals over his last eight. With the absence of Tyler Toffoli, Pearson has also been receiving first-unit power-play minutes. He’s also second on the Kings (behind Carter) with 12 goals.
Michal Neuvirth, G, PHI
The struggling version of Steve Mason is back. After starting nearly every game during Neuvirth’s injury, Mason is paying for it at the moment with a goals-against average of over 3.00 and save percentage of under .900 for January. Neuvirth entered Thursday’s game against Vancouver in relief, stopping all 14 shots he faced, leading the Flyers to victory. The Flyers play back-to-backs on Saturday and Sunday, so Neuvirth should be starting at least one of those games. Now that he’s back and Mason is struggling, Philly could be the home of a real goaltending battle yet again.