Fantasy Hockey: Players you need to add to improve in each category

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·7 min read
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If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance you’re still kicking around in your fantasy hockey league. That means there’s just one week worth of NHL action standing in between you and that sweet, sweet fantasy league trophy. Trust your instincts, because they’re what got you this far, but here are some waiver wire recommendations that I have for the upcoming seven days.

Goals: LW Anthony Beauvillier, New York Islanders (9% rostered on Yahoo)

Anthony Beauvillier is doing it again, I repeat, he is doing it again. The streaky 23-year-old is on another one of his goal-scoring sprees for the second time this season, as Beauvillier has potted four goals during a four-game stretch. Over these past four contests, the 2015 first-round pick leads the New York Islanders in all-strengths individual expected goals for, Corsi For, scoring chances for and high-danger chances for, according to Natural Stat Trick. With four games this week, including two against the Buffalo Sabres and another two against the New Jersey Devils, Beauvillier is a great add for those in need of some lamp lighters.

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Assists: LW/RW Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers (43% rostered on Yahoo)

Nothing’s really gone right for the Philadelphia Flyers this season and the team will surprisingly miss the playoffs in the East Division. Although the Flyers don't have much to play for, Jakub Voracek has been racking up the helpers. He’s recorded at least one assist in four of his last five games and he’s totalled six assists during this stretch. He’s currently seeing ice-time on a very formidable top line that also features Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier so he’s certainly in a position to succeed. With four games this week, too, he’s a solid player to add.

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Plus-minus: RW Craig Smith, Boston Bruins (41% rostered on Yahoo)

Fresh off a hat-trick performance against the Sabres on Saturday, Craig Smith, along with the rest of the Boston Bruins’ second line, is rolling. Smith, Taylor Hall and David Krejci have combined for 34 points in the 11 games the trio has played since being assembled following the trade deadline. Even more importantly, Smith has produced a plus-11 rating through those contests and his plus-seven mark is tied for 10th in the NHL over the last 14 days. Boston plays four games this week, all against teams not in the East Division playoffs.

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Power-play points: D Matt Grzelcyk, Boston Bruins (35% rostered on Yahoo)

What’s old is new again. A litany of injuries have prevented Matt Grzelcyk from being a mainstay on fantasy hockey rosters, but healthy once more, the Bruins’ blueliner is set up very nicely for the upcoming week. Quarterbacking the team’s top power-play unit, Grzelcyk and the Bruins have a pair of games against the New Jersey Devils. New Jersey owns the league’s worst penalty kill mark with a horrid 70.4 percent success rate. Although the rearguard hasn’t manufactured a ton of production recently with just one point in his last five games, I like his chances to break out.

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Shots on goal: C/LW/RW Yegor Sharangovich, New Jersey Devils (12% rostered on Yahoo)

New Jersey may not be playing for anything of significance, but that certainly hasn’t stopped Yegor Sharangovich from padding the yearly totals. Over his last three games, Sharangovich has potted four goals and five points and he’s put 16 pucks on net across his last five contests. Seeing minutes on New Jersey’s first line alongside Jack Hughes and Janne Kuokkanen, Sharangovich is in a fine spot to continue producing, even with a tough schedule set for this week. He and the Devils will play four games over the next seven days, which means Sharangovich’s position eligibility will certainly be an asset as you squeeze him into your lineup.

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Faceoff wins: C/LW/RW Casey Mittelstadt, Buffalo Sabres (20% rostered on Yahoo)

If you’re looking for a way to boost your faceoff win totals without sacrificing production from other categories, Casey Mittelstadt is the player you’re looking for. Over the last 14 days, the 22-year-old has won a respectable 61 faceoffs which ranks 16th in the NHL during this span. Additionally, Mittelstadt has provided some nice offensive production, registering six points during the five-game point streak he’s currently on. Playing four games this week, you’ll likely be able to plug the Sabres forward into your lineup for each contest due to his position eligibility.

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Hits: LW/RW Marcus Foligno, Minnesota Wild (14% rostered on Yahoo)

If you’re looking to toughen up your fantasy hockey team, look no further than Marcus Foligno. The man nicknamed ‘Moose’ is the prototypical modern day power forward. He uses an elite blend of skill, size and speed to remain a relevant member of the Minnesota Wild’s forward group. His ability to throw his weight around is evidenced by his 26 body checks over the last 14 days, which is tied for seventh-most in the NHL. Additionally, he’s no stranger to finding the scoresheet as Foligno has tallied six points over his last eight outings. Minnesota plays four games this week, so there’ll be lots of punishment to dish out, along with opportunities to rack up some points. He’s criminally underrated.

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Blocks: D Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild (14% rostered on Yahoo)

Jonas Brodin really helped propel the Wild to victory on Saturday, recording a goal and an assist in the third period to help claw his team out of a 3-1 deficit and to an eventual overtime victory against the St. Louis Blues. Consider any offense from Brodin a bonus, however, as the rearguard makes himself fantasy relevant with his ability to get in front of pucks. Across the last 14 days, Brodin’s 14 blocks are tied for the ninth-most in the NHL. The Wild are scheduled to play four games this week, meaning there will be lots of rubber to step in front of for the 27-year-old.

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Goaltending: G Elvis Merzlikins, Columbus Blue Jackets (43% rostered on Yahoo)

With goaltender Joonas Korpisalo sidelined for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Elvis Merzlikins has appeared in seven of the team’s last eight games. He’s played very well during this stretch as he’s limited the opponent to two goals or less in five of those seven outings. In leagues that count saves, expect Merzlikins to be among the weekly leaders in the category as he’s seen 30 shots or more in three of his last four starts and the Blue Jackets allow the fifth-most shots per game of any team in the league. Columbus is scheduled to play four games this week, including a pair of dates against the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings. The volume he’ll likely see will certainly help your team in the saves category.

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