After the first week of games, the long haul of the fantasy hockey season is officially under way. Whether you finished high or low in your first weekly match up, it's important to remember the first week of the fantasy season isn't one to put a ton of stock in as most teams played a condensed schedule. Boston played one game, while Tampa Bay played three. One thing is for certain though, fantasy hockey is about adjusting on the fly, and this week we'll look at Anthony Cirelli who might be available on your waiver wires.
Cirelli has seemingly been around on a championship caliber Lightning team for a long time, but the center man is only 24, and has seemingly taken a step forward in each campaign. After debuting in his age 20 season with the Lightning with 11 points in 18 games, Cirelli has earned more time on ice in each season, and has found himself paired with better line mates in each campaign. Despite averaging between .5 and .6 points per game in each of the last three full campaigns, Cirelli has seen his average time on ice increase to nearly 18 minutes a night during that time, with nearly a quarter of the team's power play time, and half of the team's short-handed time. In a league that offers a premium on special teams points, Cirelli is an elite short-handed talent, as Cirelli has 10 short-handed points in the last three seasons. Cirelli is also a banger league asset for an offensive-minded center, chipping in more than a hit per game, and half a block per game over the course of his career.
Fast-forward to 2021-22 - Cirelli has seen an upgrade in his deployment from both a line-mate and time on ice stand point. Through three games on the young season, Cirelli is averaging just over 19 minutes per game on the second line, skating with Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn. Last year, Cirelli spent most of his time on a line with Allex Killorn and Tyler Johnson, and the quality of line mates between Stamkos and Johnson can't be understated. Cirelli is one to snap up quickly, as it looks like the high powered Lightning fully intend to make him part of their plans in the short- and long-term.
Verdict: Stock Up