By Neil Parker, RotoWire Hockey Writer
Special to Yahoo Sports
With the calendar flipped to November, it’s time to take a critical look at the weakest performers on your rosters and determine if there are upgrades on the waiver wire.
Keep ice time, role and shooting percentage in mind, as there’s a significant difference between a top-line winger battling puck luck and a defense-first center playing against the opposition’s top scorers nightly that’s struggling to produce.
Here’s the schedule for the next scoring period from Nov. 6-12:
Two games: Flames, Avalanche, Stars, Predators, Senators, Flyers
Four games: Coyotes, Bruins, Blue Jackets, Oilers, Wild, Devils, Maple Leafs, Canucks, Capitals
All other teams play three games.
Remember to keep an eye on players who were cut in your leagues, and note the handful of players listed below who were covered in previous articles that might still be on your wire.
(Yahoo! ownership numbers as of Nov. 2.)
Evgeny Dadonov, FLA (54 percent): The 28-year-old Russian should be owned in all formats. He’s recorded three consecutive multi-point showings and already has six through 11 games for six goals and 14 assists. Dadonov is locked into a top offensive role and has a proven offensive track record in the KHL.
Josh Bailey, NYI (45 percent): Sporting a seven-game point streak with two goals and 12 points, Bailey is thriving alongside John Tavares and Anders Lee. The trio spent the bulk of last season together, and Bailey posted a career-high 56 points. Just note, the 27-year-old winger doesn’t offer much help in the goal or shot columns.
Pavel Buchnevich, NYR (22 percent): Now back in a top-line role and sporting a four-game point streak, Buchnevich’s fantasy stock is on the rise again. There is no questioning his talent, and with five goals and five helpers through 13 games, he’s off to a solid start. Unfortunately, head coach Alain Vigneault’s antiquated outlook could hinder Buchnevich’s upside sporadically throughout the season.
Mathew Barzal, NYI (6 percent): After missing the scoresheet in the first five games of the season, Barzal has posted three goals, four assists and 16 shots through his past seven contests. The 20-year-old rookie was an offensive star in the WHL, and he’s currently locked in as the No. 2 center and skating with the top power-play unit.
Josh Anderson, CLM (2 percent): It’s unlikely Anderson’s offensive numbers are going to turns heads, but he’s an excellent cross-category contributor who’s currently skating on the top line with Artemi Panarin and Nick Foligno. Anderson has collected an impressive three goals, six points, 22 shots, seven PIM and 22 hits through his past eight outings.
Yanni Gourde, TAM (1 percent): With six points — two goals — and 18 shots through his last seven games, Gourde is carving out a scoring role for the high-powered Bolts. He’s averaged 18:01 of ice time with 2:42 on the power play during that stretch, and the 25-year-old forward was an accomplished scorer in the AHL with 65 goals and 149 points through 197 games over the previous three seasons.
Kevin Fiala, NAS (3 percent): In no way has Fiala exploded out of the gate with just five assists through 11 games. However, he’s been skating on the top line with Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg and receiving power-play time. Fiala’s too talented not to begin cashing in on opportunities.
Ondrej Kase, ANA (2 percent): An oft-mentioned name in this space, Kase continues to move the offensive needle for the Ducks and fantasy owners without much jump in his ownership percentages. The 21-year-old winger has five goals, seven points and 20 shots through nine games. Kase will probably slot into a top-six role and receive power-play time for the majority of the season.
Luke Kunin, MIN (0 percent): While likely more of an option for deeper settings, Kunin has two goals, four points and 13 shots through his past five games without consistent power-play time. The University of Wisconsin product probably has an uphill climb to secure prime offensive minutes, but he might just force the issue.
Joonas Donskoi, SAN (1 percent): The 25-year-old Finn is off to a nice start this season and has been particularly productive of late with four goals, five points and 16 shots through his past seven contests. Just note that Donskoi’s upside is capped skating in a middle-six role and with the No. 2 power-play unit.
Josh Leivo, TOR (0 percent): A true flier, Leivo has drawn into the Toronto lineup for consecutive games and logged 2:56 of power-play time per contest. Despite playing sparingly, he’s recorded a respectable seven goals and nine assists through 27 games over the past three years. There’s potential if he can stick in the lineup.
Nick Leddy, NYI (45 percent): With consecutive 40-point campaigns on his resume, it’s surprising Leddy isn’t universally owned. He’s collected seven points through 12 contests this year, and the 26-year-old defenseman is in the heart of his offensive prime and quarterbacking the No. 1 power-play unit.
Shea Theodore, VGK (24 percent): The talented offensive defenseman finally got into a game for the Golden Knights on Oct. 31, logging 3:23 of power-play time. Theodore’s status in the organization has been frustrating, as he should be locked into a go-to role. It could continue to be hit-or-miss, but his scoring potential shouldn’t be ignored, especially in deeper settings.
Darnell Nurse, EDM (9 percent): With just three assists through 11 games and an average of only 19:29 of ice time per contest, Nurse is probably going unnoticed in most fantasy circles. However, he’s collected and impressive 31 shots, 15 PIM, 27 hits and 20 blocked shots, so the peripheral coverage is providing a nice floor. Additionally, Edmonton isn’t going to be the lowest-scoring team in the league much longer. Don’t sleep on Nurse.
Ryan Pulock, NYI (2 percent): The 2013 first-round selection has probably shown enough to stick in the lineup most nights moving forward and has three points through four games. While his lack of ice time (12:37 per game) is concerning, he should continue to receive looks with the man advantage, and Pulock has the offensive upside to help immediately in deep setups.
Antti Raanta, ARI (26 percent): Expected to be activated off injured reserve sooner than later, Raanta will immediately return to a huge workload for the Coyotes. Obviously, Arizona has been a fantasy nightmare to this point, but it’s difficult to evaluate a team not receiving competent goaltending. Raanta still has the potential to be a valuable asset and is worth a roster spot in the majority of leagues.
Jacob Markstrom, VAN (31 percent): The 27-year-old netminder has gone 2-1-1 with a .938 save percentage and 1.49 GAA through his past four games and should have a firm grasp on the No. 1 gig moving forward. There’s a chance Markstrom finally reaches his potential, and the Canucks are currently allowing the third fewest high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes (9.4) at five-on-five.
Ryan Miller, ANA (20 percent): The veteran made 34 saves in winning fashion in his first start of the season on Oct. 29, and he projects to continue providing serviceable numbers in a backup role. It’s just tough to determine how often Miller will start for the Ducks. At worst, he’s an excellent insurance policy for John Gibson owners.
Carter Hutton, STL (10 percent): While the Blues don’t have another back-to-back set until late November, it’s unlikely that Allen will play 11 consecutive games, so Hutton should still see a few starts this month. The backup has won all three of his contests this season and owns a .950 save percentage and 1.67 GAA. Additionally, the Blues are allowing the second fewest high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes (9.1), which is a nice boost for Hutton’s fantasy outlook.
Players to consider from past columns: Sean Couturier, Adrian Kempe, Ondrej Kase, Anders Bjork, Brock Boeser, Jakub Vrana, Jason Pominville, Kevin Labanc, Nate Schmaltz, Reilly Smith, Brandon Montour, Tim Heed, Michael Del Zotto, Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt, Damon Severson, Victor Mete, Philipp Grubauer, Joonas Korpisalo, Michal Neuvirth