David Rittich, Neal Pionk among week's best waiver adds

Flames goaltender David Rittich has won four consecutive starts in net. NHLI via Getty Images

Every week, we'll mine the waiver wire for lesser-owned assets to help your squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft format, and we'll also toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who may be overvalued -- either in the short- or long-term -- for one reason or another.


David Krejci, C, Boston Bruins (29.6 percent rostered): An upper-body injury has temporarily knocked out Patrice Bergeron. That means a top-line role, at least for now, for the veteran forward. Krejci already has 16 points on the year, including six with the man-advantage, while not skating with David Pastrnak. This next stretch could be particularly fruitful for the oft-underrated center.

Tanner Pearson, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins (2.3 percent): Leaving the least-productive team in the league certainly won't hurt Pearson as an individual fantasy asset. Joining the Penguins in a deal sending Carl Hagelin westward to the Kings, the 26-year-old winger immediately slides in on a scoring line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. That's a good gig. No rash roster moves needed here, as Pearson has all of one assist to date. That said, keep an eye on how he makes out in his new home. The 2012 first-round draft selection scored 24 goals only two years ago.

Lars Eller, C, Washington Capitals (1.9 percent): With Evgeny Kuznetsov and his potential concussion projected to miss the next few games, Eller should fill in on a top-six scoring line and power play with Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. If you were ever interested in hitching your fantasy cart to the 29-year-old forward, now would be the time. The Capitals face a busy week, with Monday's tilt in Montreal followed by a mini-homestand versus Chicago and Detroit, Wednesday and Friday, before visiting the Rangers on Saturday.

Andrew Shaw, C, Montreal Canadiens (1.6 percent): Skating on one of the hottest forward lines alongside Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin, Shaw has five goals and two assists in five games (plus-six), while averaging nearly 19 minutes per contest. Any fantasy manager with injury issues needs to jump on the 27-year-old's bandwagon quickly before he slows back down to his usual and less-inspiring scoring pace.

Ryan Strome, C, New York Rangers (0.2 percent): The third team is a charm? Those fantasy managers who are particularly smitten with the potential that often comes with a "fresh start" might consider Strome's "new lease on life" following his past general failure to live up to his No. 5-overall draft selection back in 2011. After amassing 50 points, including 17 goals, in his first full season (2014-15), Strome has largely stumbled through the rest of his NHL tenure, including stints with the Islanders and Oilers. How he manages under coach David Quinn will be worth monitoring, as is whether or not the still only 25-year-old settles in amongst New York's top-six.

Drake Batherson, C, Ottawa Senators (0.1 percent rostered): The 20-year-old is making an immediate splash with one goal and two assists through his first two NHL games with the Senators, skating on a scoring line and power play with Matt Duchene and Mikkel Boedker. Before joining Ottawa, Batherson racked up 20 points in 14 AHL games in Belleville, so there's definitely a lot of promise here. The former Cape Breton Screaming Eagle is certainly "feeling it" to start 2018-19. Pick him up for free in deeper leagues.


Neal Pionk, New York Rangers (21.8 percent): After a brief lull, the young defenseman is back at it. Anchoring the Rangers' top power-play unit, Pionk has seven points in seven games, including five with the extra skater. He was already featured in this space earlier this season but, for some reason, the 23-year-old is still not spoken for in the majority of conventional ESPN.com leagues.

Shea Theodore, Vegas Golden Knights (6.4 percent): We're fully back on board with the young blue-liner, largely because of his reunion with the previously suspended Nate Schmidt. Paired with Vegas' best all around defenseman, Theodore notched a pair of assists in Sunday's 6-3 win over the Oilers. While Colin Miller collected three helpers in that same game, one while anchoring the club's top power play, it's Theodore who sports the greater offensive potential for both this season and beyond. That top-unit role will once again belong to the 23-year-old before too much longer.


David Rittich, Calgary Flames (27.2 percent): He's been the overall better goaltender in Calgary this season -- and it hasn't been close. He's now won four straight games, during which he's allowed only six total goals. Rittich should now get the nod more often than not over 36-year-old Mike Smith, who is 1-3, having surrendered 13 goals over his last four contests.

Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings (10.9 percent): Even though his five-game winning streak was snapped, Detroit's No. 1 was impressive in Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Senators. He stopped 34-of-36 shots in defeat. Howard is playing great. The 8-2 Red Wings are playing great. It's all great -- for now. This won't last, so exploit the streaky 34-year-old before things take a turn.

Keith Kinkaid, New Jersey Devils (4.5 percent): While Cory Schneider has yet to win a game this season in five starts, Kinkaid has eight victories, including three shutouts. He's only served up one dud in November -- an ugly 6-1 loss to the Maple Leafs -- while riding a .923 save percentage. If you're in need of a short-term sub, fantasy managers in deeper leagues might consider this experienced Devils netminder for as long as he continues to give his club this kind of quality effort.

Lowered expectations

Matt Murray, G, Pittsburgh Penguins (81.1 percent): Beyond the awful numbers, he also looks terrible out there. Until the Penguins' No. 1 pick works through whatever needs sorting out, he isn't a viable fantasy option in any league, anywhere. Next-guy-up Casey DeSmith has substitute fantasy potential once the Penguins re-discover their winning ways -- which they will.

Will Butcher, D, New Jersey Devils (72.8 percent): Aside from a two-point night back on Nov. 5 in Pittsburgh, Butcher has nothing to show for this month, production-wise. We wouldn't be at all surprised if the 23-year-old defenseman gets a break from anchoring the top power-play unit, even if only temporarily. In contrast, fellow defenseman Damon Severson (9.8 percent) has five points in six games, and is seeing an increase in minutes and opportunities with Sami Vatanen on the shelf.