We finally got some trades, including a big one between Nashville and Columbus that saw Ryan Johansen head to the Predators and Seth Jones go to the Blue Jackets. The deal has opened up some intriguing waiver options, which will be outlined below, and as usual I have plenty of other players for your consideration as well.
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Tomas Hertl (SJS) - C, LW - Owned in 14% of Yahoo leagues
Hertl has generated just six goals and 18 points in 38 games this season, but he has three markers and two assists in his last five appearances. The 22-year-old forward was back on the top line of the Sharks in Saturday's 7-0 demolition of Toronto. He registered two goals on five shots along with one assist and a plus-4 rating in the blowout. It's an extremely small sample size, but it has probably earned him a longer stay with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton. That is enough for me to take a chance on him and to believe that things may be looking up for him.
Brandon Dubinsky (CBJ) - C, LW - Owned in 25% of Yahoo leagues
Dubinsky and Alexander Wennberg will be counted on to shoulder the load for Columbus down the middle now that Ryan Johansen is skating for Nashville. I would target Dubinsky over Wennberg because he can touch on more categories, but they both have been productive lately. Dubinsky has three goals and seven assists in his last 13 matches. He also has 37 penalty minutes, 103 hits and a 52.2 winning percentage on faceoffs in 36 games.
Sean Couturier (PHI) - C - Owned in 5% of Yahoo leagues
I mentioned Couturier last week and then he lost his wingers. Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds joined Claude Giroux on the top line even though they were carrying the play for the Flyers before the change. Despite that, Couturier has continued to find success with Michael Raffl and Brayden Schenn as his linemates. The 23-year-old center has scored a goal in each of his last three games and he has added two assists as well. That gives him 12 points over his past 10 matches. Couturier has also posted a plus-12 rating and 28 shots during that span.
David Pastrnak (BOS) - LW, RW - Owned in 21% of Yahoo leagues
Pastrnak is back with the Bruins after conditioning stints in the AHL and with the Czech Republic's World Junior team. He played in his first NHL game this past Friday since Oct. 31 when he suffered a fractured foot. The 19-year-old skated with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on Saturday and he scored his third goal of the year versus Ottawa. Pastrnak racked up points for the Bruins last year down the stretch and he has an opportunity to do that again if he can maintain a spot on a scoring line in the second half of the 2015-16 campaign.
Al Montoya (FLA) - G - Owned in 11% of Yahoo leagues
Montoya has been superb this season when the Panthers have given veteran goaltender Roberto Luongo the night off. He owns a 6-1-1 record along with a .938 save percentage and a 1.69 goals-against average. He could be used by fantasy owners in some strategic starts during Florida's upcoming schedule. Montoya may get the nod against Edmonton on Sunday night, so that Luongo can face his former Vancouver teammates on Monday and he could be in line for another start versus the Oilers on Monday, Jan. 18 after Florida plays division rival Tampa Bay the day before.
Jordan Staal (CAR) - C, LW - Owned in 7% of Yahoo leagues
Staal's offensive contributions since joining the Hurricanes have been largely disappointing, but he has reached another gear lately. He has picked up a goal and an assist in each of his three games, while recording a plus-5 rating. Staal is off to a great start this month and fantasy owners should take advantage of his recent surge while it lasts.
Blake Comeau (COL) - LW - Owned in 3% of Yahoo leagues
Comeau has fit in nicely on the second line with Carl Soderberg and Gabriel Landeskog. He has posted two goals and five helpers in his last 11 outings. Comeau also gets some time on special teams, where he has contributed four points on the power play and two points while shorthanded. He ranks third on the team with 111 hits and could provide fantasy GMs in deeper leagues with a depth option while he is hot.
Louis Domingue (ARI) - G - Owned in 22% of Yahoo leagues
There aren't many options available in the crease if you are looking for a regular starter, so Domingue looks especially promising. He has a 6-2-2 record with a .936 save percentage and a 2.06 goals-against average. He has outplayed Anders Lindback since Mike Smith was injured and hasn't dropped a game in regulation in his last five outings. He has posted four victories during that time, including his second shutout of the season on Saturday in a 4-0 win over Nashville.
Ryan Ellis (NSH) - D - Owned in 34% of Yahoo leagues
The acquisition of Ryan Johansen from Columbus has opened up an opportunity for Ellis to see more time on the back end. The Predators sent Seth Jones to the Blue Jackets in the trade and Ellis received a season-high 24:06 of playing time against Colorado during Johansen's debut. Ellis also scored his fifth goal of the year in that match. He followed that up by logging 22:09 versus Arizona on Saturday. Ellis, who has posted three goals and two assists in his last nine outings, is on track for his first 30-plus point season of his NHL career
Mattias Ekholm (NSH) - D -Owned in 5% of Yahoo leagues
If Ellis is taken then Ekholm is a suitable defender to add as well. He has earned two goals and four helpers in his last six contests thanks to three multi-point performances. Ekholm is tied with teammate Shea Weber with six multi-point games this season, which trails Roman Josi by one for fourth in the NHL among defensemen. There is plenty of offense on Nashville's defense corps to go around.