Back in mid-October, I did my first Waiver Wired article of the season and entitled it "Hot starts with staying power" because I saw a lot of potential on the players on that list. Now that we're halfway through the season, we can see that some of those players were indeed great pickups at the time. Nick Foligno (owned in just 19% of leagues when that article was published) has 40 points in 39 contests, Filip Forsberg (owned in 22% at the time) has 38 points in 41 games, and defenseman T.J. Brodie (owned in 42%) has 28 contests in 43 games.
I'm throwing this out there in an attempt to brag, especially seeing as not everyone I list proves to be a great bet. For example, I was also a big fan of That 70s Line - which included Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson, and Jeff Carter - and that unit fizzled out and was eventually broken up. Instead I'm mentioning it as evidence that being proactive can pay off handsomely.
You can have a terrific draft, but if you intend to just rely on that for the rest of the season, then you're setting yourself up for disappointment.
When I look at the list below, I see some short-term pickups, but some of the players are worth holding onto for a while as they have the potential to pay off big in the second half of the season. You can see which are which below:
Petr Mrazek (DET) - G - Owned in 21% of Yahoo leagues
At the time of writing, we still don't know the extent of Jimmy Howard's groin injury, but we do know that he's going to miss some playing time as he was placed on the injured reserve list. Until Howard or Jonas Gustavsson (shoulder) are ready to return, the Red Wings will have to lean on Mrazek. That's not a terrible thing though as Mrazek, 22, is capable of holding his own. In fact, he has an impressive 2.03 GAA and .921 save percentage in 20 career NHL games. Obviously, those numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt, but even still if you owned Howard or are just looking for a short-term boost to your goaltender, Mrazek is a worthy option.
Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA) - C/LW - Owned in 38% of Yahoo leagues
Huberdeau has a lot offensive upside, but plenty of fantasy owners understandably adopted a wait-and-see approach after his rough sophomore campaign. He's picked up steam lately though with four goals and nine points in his last seven contests. If you try to ride hot players than he's at least worth picking up as a short-term investment, but given his potential this obviously could also be setting the stage for a strong second half.
Melker Karlsson (SJS) - C - Owned in 2% of Yahoo leagues
The Sharks might be in a tough spot right now, but Karlsson has provided the silver lining. The 24-year-old has matched the team's franchise record with his current five-game goal scoring streak. That's brought him up to six goals and 10 points in 14 contests this season. Although that goal scoring streak obviously won't last much longer, if it's even extended at all, he still might have further short-term value. After all, he's playing on a line with Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture and the fact that that unit stayed intact following Joe Thornton's return is a testament to Karlsson's recent success. That makes Karlsson a worthwhile short-term gamble, he is one that you shouldn't feel guilty about dropping if he stops playing on one of the team's top two lines.
Justin Abdelkader (DET) - LW/RW - Owned in 30% of Yahoo leagues
Abdelkader has traditionally been known more for his physical, defensively sound play than his skills with the puck, but he's still managed to record a respectable 11 goals and 23 points in 34 contests. That has a lot to do with the fact that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is comfortable pairing Abdelkader up with the team's top skilled forwards. On any given night, you will typically find Abdelkader playing alongside two of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, or Gustav Nyquist. If you'd ask Abdelkader, he would also credit his stint as the captain of Team USA in the 2014 World Championship as part of the reason for his breakout as it helped give him a fresh mindset that he's applied to the 2014-15 campaign. Either way, Abdelkader has become a solid contributor in standard leagues that, thanks to his role in Detroit, isn't likely to fizzle out in the second half.
Mike Fisher (NSH) - C - Owned in 11% of Yahoo leagues
The Nashville Predators have been great this year, partially thanks to goaltender Pekka Rinne's play and partially due to coach Peter Laviolette helping them take a step up offensively. Fisher missed the start of the season due to an Achilles injury, but since he returned he's been another big part of the Predators' success. He has seven goals and 14 points in 20 contests despite being held off the scoresheet in his first three contests as he shook off the rust. Since getting back into the swing of things, he's been remarkably consistent and given how good the Predators are this year, it's not out of the question that he'll be able to record around 30 points in Nashville's final 41 contests. He's a solid option if you need an injury replacement or are just looking to cut ties with someone that disappointed you in the first half.
Mathieu Perreault (WPG) - C - Owned in 15% of Yahoo leagues
Perreault has had something of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde first half. He had no goals and three assists in his first 19 contests, but has recorded 11 goals and 20 points in 22 games since then. He's also seen his playing time climb substantially, from 15:54 minutes per game in October to an average of 18:53 minutes in his first four January contests. When you remember that he managed to record 43 points in 69 contests last season despite averaging just 13:52 minutes per game, his recent performance starts to look more reasonable given how many more opportunities he's getting now. After a quarter of a season of success, he's worth taking a chance on in standard leagues.
Eric Fehr (WAS) - RW - Owned in 9% of Yahoo leagues
Fehr has typically been a decent secondary forward, but not a reliable enough contributor to be a permanent staple on a standard league fantasy team. He's been on fire lately though with six goals and nine points in his last seven contests. Do I think that's the start of something more sustained out of him? No, but I do throw him out there as someone that might provide a short-term boost. If you're in a head-to-head league than he might be particularly valuable next week as Washington will play four times next week, including Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which are light days in the schedule (three, four, and six-game nights respectively).
Jason Demers (DAL) - D - Owned in 28% of Yahoo leagues
Demers had 34 points in 75 games with the San Jose Sharks in 2013-14, but he struggled out of the gate this season with just three assists in 20 contests. The Sharks decided to cut ties with him in November by shipping Demers to Dallas in exchange for Brendan Dillon and the change of scenery proved to be beneficial. He has two goals and eight points in 21 contests with his new squad. He's getting an average of 19:34 minutes per contest with one of the best offensive squads in the NHL and is being used with the man advantage. He's capable of getting 15-20 points in Dallas' last 41 games.