Fantasy Hockey: Low-rostered players to target on waiver wire

Steven Psihogios
·7 min read
Dylan Strome scored Chicago's lone goal in its season-opening loss to the Lightning. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images)"n
Dylan Strome scored Chicago's lone goal in its season-opening loss to the Lightning. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images)

Managing the early-season waiver wire is the most important part of team construction in fantasy hockey once the draft is over, especially this year. With no preseason, there was no way for anybody to make concrete evaluations on players until the puck dropped on the regular season. The truth is, in a season unlike any other, it’s better to be overreactive than not in the early going. There are going to be players that unexpectedly emerge, so get ahead of the rest of your league and be proactive.

D Matt Grzelyck, Boston Bruins (49% rostered on Yahoo)

Meet the Torey Krug replacement. Grzelyck manned the point on Boston’s power play during its 3-2 shootout victory over the New Jersey Devils and finished the contest with a power-play assist. The offensive defenseman also put six pucks on net and logged the second-most minutes of any player on the team. He looked very comfortable operating on the man advantage, and earning the quarterback role on the Bruins’ PP will make him extremely fantasy-relevant.

C/RW Dylan Strome, Chicago Blackhawks (40% rostered on Yahoo)

There weren’t many positives from Chicago’s opening night loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but if there was one, it was that Strome looked good as the team’s top-line center. He played alongside Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat, won 11 of his 19 draws, and greasily scored the club’s lone goal on the power play. With Jonathan Toews on LTIR, Kirby Dach out long term and a lack of other options, Strome will continue to function as the team’s top middle man.

LW/RW Joel Farabee, Philadelphia Flyers (39% rostered on Yahoo)

Hockey-starved viewers were treated to the Farabee Show in Game 1 of the 2020-21 NHL season. The second-year player recorded four points in the Flyers’ 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Philadelphia’s second power-play unit, which Farabee is a part of, looked very good in the game, converting two goals on the man advantage in the first period, with the Syracuse, New York native factoring in on both. The 20-year-old also recorded a goal and an assist at even strength, playing on the team’s second line alongside Kevin Hayes and Claude Giroux. A 2018 first-round draft pick who demonstrated goal-scoring ability at both the U.S. National U18 team and Boston University, there’s no reason to believe that Farabee can’t break out on a talented Philadelphia team.

G Alexandar Georgiev, New York Rangers (22% rostered on Yahoo)

Now I’m not saying that things aren’t going to work out for Igor Shesterkin, who is a phenomenal netminder with an excellent pedigree, but it wasn’t a great night for anybody in the Rangers’ defensive end on Thursday against the New York Islanders. The sample size on both Shesterkin and Georgiev is rather small, but we currently only have 13 games worth of NHL action to judge Shesterkin on and the Rangers could turn to Georgiev, who’s been solid through 77 NHL contests, to be the 1A if the rookie continues to falter. For teams in deeper leagues that are looking for a speculative add to bolster their goaltending situation, Georgiev makes some sense.

C/RW Robert Thomas, St. Louis Blues (20% rostered on Yahoo)

Thomas is one of the younger members of the Blues who will be counted upon to take a step forward this season, and he looked good in the team’s opening night win over the Colorado Avalanche. He picked up a pair of assists, serving as the team’s second-line center. He’s a reliable player in all areas of the ice and his responsible style of play should earn him some more opportunities in Year 3. Thomas is a better add for those in points leagues as there’s no precedent to suggest he’ll fill out the defensive categories like blocked shots and hits.

D Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes (17% rostered on Yahoo)

If you need to add someone to your head-to-head league team that does a little bit of everything, look no further than Chychrun. In his first game of the season, the Coyotes blueliner picked up a pair of helpers — one of which was on the power play — while also registering five shots on goal. He didn’t record a hit or blocked shot, but he has a history of being a solid provider in both categories. The two-way blueliner is one of the more underrated talents in the game.

LW Nils Hoglander, Vancouver Canucks (14% rostered on Yahoo)

In his first NHL game, Hoglander buried his first NHL goal. The young Swedish forward didn’t look out of place on Vancouver’s second line, fitting in nicely with Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson. With J.T. Miller out a couple of weeks due to COVID-19 protocols, there’s a spot open on the Canucks’ top power-play unit for the 20-year-old as well. He didn’t find the scoresheet in his second NHL appearance, but he did exceed 21 minutes in ice time, which is some evidence the team will continue to give him opportunities. He’s a 2019 second-round pick who dominated for Sweden at the 2020 world juniors, so there’s enough to his prospect profile that suggests he can be an impact player in the NHL.

LW Oskar Lindblom, Philadelphia Flyers (9% rostered on Yahoo)

The entire hockey world is delighted to see Lindblom back in Philadelphia’s lineup, and given everything the Flyers forward has had to endure, it’s understandable for people to forget that prior to being diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, Lindblom was having a lot of success on the ice. In the 30 games he played last season, Lindblom recorded 11 goals and 18 points while also averaging a little more than a check a game. He scored a goal, while using his head, against the Penguins on opening night and considering his placement on the club’s top line, he makes sense as an add in deeper leagues.

C/RW Jordan Kyrou, St. Louis Blues (1% rostered on Yahoo)

Here’s an add for those who play in the deepest of deep leagues. Kyrou looked good in the Blues’ Wednesday night win over the Avalanche, scoring a gorgeous give-and-go goal from Tyler Bozak. Kyrou plays on the team’s third line, but the Blues distribute offensive ice time fairly evenly among their forward group, as only one forward (Ryan O’Reilly) exceeded 19 minutes of ice time on opening night. Earning more even-strength ice time could be tough for Kyrou as the Blues’ top-six is pretty solidified, but if he continues to flash high-end offensive skills, he could earn some power-play minutes.

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