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Waiver watch – Eight players to add right now

Waiver watch - Eight players to add right now

The Ottawa Senators are a stronger team today than they were through most of the season’s first half after welcoming back one of their most productive forwards. Out since Oct. 22 with shoulder injury, Josh Norris made his most welcome return to Ottawa’s lineup versus the Penguins on Wednesday. Centering a scoring line with Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux, the 23-year-old logged more than 19 minutes and looked his old, effective self, outside of skipping work in the faceoff circle. Give it a few games, and the 2017 first-rounder should be back to those old draw tricks as well.

After banging out 35 goals and 20 assists in only 66 games this past season, Norris is going to start putting up points in a hard hurry. Unless your fantasy team is racked and stacked with steadfast gems, the Senators forward merits considerable thought as a worthwhile addition.

Now.

Guaranteed, he won’t be available in more than a third of ESPN.com leagues for long. If Norris is indeed already spoken for, consider the following gaggle of injectable forwards (and one goalie) who are poised to provide your fantasy squad with a valuable boost.

Max Pacioretty, Carolina Hurricanes (44.9%): He’s back. Again. Sidelined a pair of games with a new lower-body injury, Pacioretty is due to return to Carolina’s lineup alongside top center Sebastian Aho Thursday. After missing the season’s first half in recovery from Achilles surgery, the veteran scored three goals in three contests before injuring himself in fresh fashion last week.

I fully realize Pacioretty’s penchant for falling hurt is concerning and annoying, but his upside is too great to ignore. The number of shots he rifles on net alone merits his inclusion in most conventional leagues. And suppose he strings together a pair of healthy months? The dynamic 34-year-old is worth the fantasy gamble, in my view.

Brandon Hagel, Tampa Bay Lightning (58.4%): One hundred days into the 2022-23 season and the Lightning forward still isn’t commanding the fantasy respect he so richly deserves. Why? A little weak in the name recognition department? Underwhelming career resume to date? This is only Hagel’s third full season, so maybe give the lad a minute.

As it happens, the 24-year-old has averaged a point/game since Oct. 22. He’s playing on a top line and power play with Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov. He’s on pace for nearly 35 goals and more than 40 assists. Pick him up.

Artturi Lehkonen, Colorado Avalanche (65.6%): The Avalanche are beginning to…

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