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Fantasy hockey: One player to add for each category

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Week 8 has arrived for fantasy hockey managers, but unlike the last couple of weeks, the number of NHL teams with loaded schedules is smaller.

Only four squads own the elusive four-game schedule over the next seven days — the Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, San Jose Sharks, and Tampa Bay Lighting — which means there are fewer viable streaming options available on the waiver wire. 

Luckily for you, I've got the best of the bunch outlined below.

Here are the best waiver wire targets for Week 8.

Goals: C/RW Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning (45 percent rostered on Yahoo)

No single player on the Tampa Bay Lightning will be able to replace Brayden Point while he recovers from an upper-body injury, but a lot of his responsibilities will be placed onto Anthony Cirelli.

The two often played together at even strength, but with Point gone, Cirelli's new task will be to anchor the Bolts' second pairing. Playing with Alex Killorn and Mathieu Joseph, Cirelli will exclusively patrol the middle of the ice.

The 24-year-old has two goals in his last four games, and he's been putting a solid amount of pucks on net. Cirelli has rifled three shots or more in five of his past six games, which is a good sign that even more goals are on the way.

He and the Lightning play four games this upcoming week, which makes him one of the best adds in all of fantasy hockey.

With Brayden point out, don't hesitate to add Anthony Cirelli in fantasy hockey. (Photo via Getty)
With Brayden Point out, don't hesitate to add Anthony Cirelli in fantasy hockey. (Photo via Getty)

Assists: D Rasmus Andersson, Calgary Flames (42 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Rasmus Andersson continues to find a way to get mentioned in my weekly waiver wire column, and considering the Calgary Flames have four games scheduled in Week 8, it would make sense to pick him up for at least the next seven days.

Over his last three games, Andersson has piled on three helpers. His 11 assists on the season are tied for 12th-most amongst blueliners in the NHL. It also helps that he plays on a Flames team that has scored 3.33 goals per game, which is tied for the seventh-most of any squad in the league.

Additionally, the Swede's plus-15 rating is the fourth-highest of any defenseman, and his five power-play points are tied for 18th.

Andersson is seeing deployment on Calgary's first line and top power-play unit, a pair of roles that put him in fantasy-friendly situations.

Plus-minus: C/RW Seth Jarvis, Carolina Hurricanes (16 percent rostered on Yahoo)

The Carolina Hurricanes have an easy string of games on paper this week, which makes them the perfect team to target for a plus-minus boost.

Nineteen-year-old Seth Jarvis has played his way onto the Canes, and even more than that, has himself a nice role inside the squad's top-six. Playing alongside Jordan Staal and Andrei Svechnikov on the second line, Jarvis has been a very productive player. In 13 games this year, the 2020 first-round pick has four goals and seven points. 

The reason why Jarvis is a strong play for those in need of a plus-minus boost is that the Hurricanes are set to face off against the Dallas Stars, Ottawa Senators, and Buffalo Sabres this week, with the latter two being among the worst squads in all of hockey.

Power-play points: C Ryan Johansen, Nashville Predators (17 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Ok, so both Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen are good again?

After multiple down seasons for both, the two centres have re-emerged as solid scoring options for the Nashville Predators. Johansen, specifically, has been on an absolute tear for the Preds recently and has been too good to ignore in fantasy hockey.

Over his last five games, the 29-year-old has registered eight points, with three coming on the man advantage. Despite owning a bottom-10 power play in each of the last three seasons, Nashville's has been the sixth-best in the league this year, clicking at a rate of 25 percent.

On the season, the veteran has tallied six goals, six power-play points, and 17 points through 20 contests, but he's also been helpful at the faceoff dot as his 185 draw victories serve as the 16th-most in the NHL.

Shots on goal: RW Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings (11 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Dustin Brown may not be scoring many goals, but this guy continues to pepper netminders with the best of them.

The veteran's 64 shots are tied for 22nd-most in the NHL, and he had a game last week where he fired seven shots on goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs. His ice-time has been a little inconsistent of late, but his shoot-first ways haven't changed.

Brown and the Los Angeles Kings play three games this week, with two coming against the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks. Both squads rank bottom-10 in the NHL in shots against per game, which means Brown will likely be busy ripping pucks in both outings.

The Kings' forward is due for some goals as well, as his 3.1 shooting percentage is more than three times lower than his career number of 9.7 percent.

Faceoff wins: C/LW Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets (35 percent rostered on Yahoo)

There's simply nobody else available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues that can bring you some better results at the dot than Boone Jenner.

The Columbus Blue Jackets' centre has won 227 faceoffs this year, which is the fifth-most in the NHL. He and the Jackets are set to suit up in four games this week, which will likely vault Jenner to the top of the category for the week.

Additionally, the 28-year-old is seeing deployment on the squad's first line and top power-play unit, which means he'll continue to see the ice in valuable situations for fantasy. He's actually been a quality point-producer this year, too, with 10 goals and 14 points. 

Hits: C Jordan Staal, Carolina Hurricanes (29 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Jordan Staal hasn't been producing points at the pace he did a season ago, but the Hurricanes' captain has been throwing his weight around quite a bit.

His 50 body checks on the year are tied for the 25th-most among forwards and put him on pace for a career-best 205 hits. Considering what he's been providing in the hits category, his two goals and eight points across 20 games aren't terrible, either.

Also, Staal continues to be one of the best faceoff men in the game. His 189 draw victories are the 15th-most in the NHL this year, and he also owns a respectable plus-three rating.

Staal has been more of a jack-of-all-trades than a master of any this year, but his wide range of category coverage can be useful for fantasy managers.

Blocks: D Mario Ferraro, San Jose Sharks (21 percent rostered on Yahoo)

For a third-straight week, Mario Ferraro is the player I will be recommending as the go-to add for anyone in need of some blocks, but this isn't me being lazy, there's literally nobody else that I could write about in this spot that would be a better suggestion.

Ferraro leads the NHL with 67 blocks this year and had two separate games with seven blocks last week (you read that correctly). The guy steps in front of vulcanized rubber better than anyone else, and he's actually been quite the point-producer as of late.

In the month of November, the 23-year-old's nine points are tied for the 13th-most among all blueliners. He's also dished out 45 hits, which rank as the 59th-most in the NHL this year, giving him some nice category coverage all around.

He and the San Jose Sharks play four games this week, so he'll likely continue to widen his lead in the blocks department.

Goaltending: G Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars (41 percent rostered on Yahoo)

We're running it back with Jake Oettinger as the suggested goaltender add for this upcoming week after he held down the spot last week, too.

Still available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, you should be tripping over yourself as you rush to the waiver wire to see if Oettinger is still hanging around. The highly-regarded 22-year-old has been sensational for the Stars since being recalled from AHL Texas. In five appearances, he has a 4-0-0 record, a .959 save percentage, and a 1.27 goals-against average.

His presence has greatly benefited the Stars after both Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin provided just OK results between the pipes to open the year. Dallas only plays two games this week, but there's a decent chance Oettinger earns both starts considering how strong he's played. This is a pick-up that could have some league-winning long-term implications. 

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