Working the waiver wire is a crucial part of any championship fantasy hockey season. Finding players to work into your lineup every single week that can add points to your total is the number one way you can control the outcome of your matchup. In this article every week, I’ll be going over players at every position and at different levels of rostership so you can fill out your fantasy squad with the best players available in your league. Let’s dig in:
Rostered in 41-50% of Leagues: Teuvo Teravainen, LW/RW - CAR (50% rostered)
Fantasy managers were understandably worried about Teravainen not too long ago. He returned from a 10-game absence due to an upper-body injury to little fanfare and had to earn his minutes back, even spending some time on the Carolina fourth line. Meanwhile, offseason acquisition Max Pacioretty made his long-anticipated Hurricanes debut and immediately netted three goals in his first three games.
Now, with Pacioretty tearing his Achilles for a second time, Teravainen has regained his spot on the Canes' top line and it looks like it could be wheels up for the playmaking winger after netting four points in his last three games. Carolina plays three games all on off-nights this week, making Teravainen easy to slot into your starting lineup.
Honourable Mentions: Brock Boeser, RW - VAN (44%) & Andrei Kuzmenko, LW/RW - VAN (45%)
Rostered in 31-40% of leagues: Kevin Hayes, C - PHI (40% rostered)
At some point we’re just going to have to accept that Kevin Hayes is #goodathockey and he’s having a monster year. After a two-goal effort in a losing cause against Winnipeg on Sunday, Hayes is pacing for 75 points on the season and has five goals and six points in his last four games. That in and of itself is impressive, but Hayes is averaging six shots per game through that stretch, a truly astonishing number buoyed by a nine-shot game against Chicago on Thursday.
Regardless of the competition and regardless of coach John Tortorella’s estimation of his game-to-game level of compete, Hayes is the best option on the Flyers not named Travis Konecny and should probably be rostered in anything deeper than a 10-team league.
Honourable Mentions: Evan Rodrigues, C/LW/RW - COL (36%) & Jason Zucker, LW - PIT (38%)
Rostered in 21-30% of leagues: Anton Lundell, C - FLA (23% rostered)
Lundell had a rough start to the season, but that has faded into distant memory of late as he’s posted five points in his last four games since being elevated to the Panthers’ top line alongside captain Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart. Lundell has averaged three shots per game in this stretch, giving fantasy managers reason to believe that he’s not just getting lucky with a couple of shots.
Florida plays four games with two off nights this week, so if you can fit Lundell into your starting lineup for at least three games he is a must-add for me as long as he keeps this deployment. With the results he’s been getting lately, it’s hard to imagine coach Paul Maurice moving away from him on the top line anytime soon.
Honourable Mentions: Seth Jarvis, LW/RW - CAR (25%) & Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW - LAK (27%)
Rostered in 0-20% of leagues: Victor Olofsson, RW - BUF (11% rostered)
Olofsson’s recent hot streak has materialized seemingly out of nowhere, but he’s registered six goals in his last six games while piling up shots along the way. Olofsson profiles as a sniper but with the emergence of Buffalo’s young guns he had become little more than an afterthought this season. That's no longer the case, as Olofsson has been filling the opposition’s nets despite skating on a nondescript line with Casey Mittelstadt and Tyson Jost at even strength and only seeing usage on the second Sabre power-play unit.
It might not last forever, but I’ve got no problem jumping on the Olofsson train while he’s running hot, especially given that the Sabres start the week with a Monday/Tuesday back-to-back that will give you a couple of early week games to decide if Olofsson is just a two-game stream or a hold for your roster.
Honourable Mentions: Conor Garland, LW/RW - VAN (8%) & Calle Jarnkrok, C/LW/RW (7%)
Rostered in 26-50% of leagues: Brady Skjei - CAR (38% rostered)
Brady Skjei has quietly become one of fantasy’s more productive second power-play defensemen over the last few weeks, racking up seven points in his last eight games. Carolina has gone to a more balanced power play, meaning Skjei has gained a few more minutes with the man advantage almost every night. Regardless of the “how”, Skjei is undeniably hot right now. As a defenseman who consistently provides strong shot totals on a top tier Carolina squad, Skjei has to be of interest in any week when the Hurricanes have a good streaming schedule.
With their aforementioned three-game, set this week, Skjei is a terrific look for any fantasy team that needs to add some off night production to their lineup for the week.
Honourable Mentions: Sean Durzi - LAK (38%) & Owen Power - BUF (45%)
Rostered in 0-25% of leagues: Adam Boqvist - CBJ (6% rostered)
Boqvist is a tough pill to swallow as a pickup for sure. On nights when he doesn’t net a point, he’s leaving you with next to nothing as he’s not a significant contributor in the shots/hits/blocks/PIMs categories. But Boqvist has been a staple on the Columbus top power play of late and has four points in his last seven games while manning that position.
Columbus received a boost recently with the return of captain and top-line center Boone Jenner, a move that instantly lends a lot more stability and credibility to its power play. To top it off, Columbus has a very attractive four-game, three-off night schedule this week, which makes Boqvist easy to fit into your lineup. It’s a home run swing, but when looking at defensemen in this rostership range it’s hard to find anyone with more game-by-game upside at the moment.
Honourable Mentions: Jake Walman - DET (6%) & Michael Matheson - MTL (5%)
Rostered in 26-50% of leagues: Pavel Francouz - COL (42% rostered)
It’s difficult to figure out what the Avalanche are likely to do with their goaltending situation moving forward, but until it’s clear, Francouz needs to be rostered in far more than 42% of leagues. Francouz has a .939 save percentage across his last four games and has started four of the last six. It’s worth noting that Alexandar Georgiev started back-to-back games last Wednesday and Friday before Francouz got the final start of the week on Saturday, but in that game he allowed just one goal on 27 shots in a shootout win against Seattle.
Georgiev only allowed one goal in each of his two most recent outings and remains the odds-on favourite to get the majority of work down the stretch, but this is a Stanley Cup-defending team that has won five straight; if there’s potential to grab a goalie who could get a bunch of starts for them, you have to be interested.
Honourable Mentions: John Gibson - ANA (34%) & Jonathan Quick - LAK (45%)
Rostered in 0-25% of leagues: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen - BUF (25% rostered)
When Eric Comrie returned from injury, a lot of the talk around fantasy circles was how the Sabres now had three goaltenders to rotate and none of them would be useful for fantasy. Well, all Luukkonen has done since that point is start five of the last six games with a .914 save percentage and three wins. Buffalo is not a defensively sound team, but it has enough firepower up front to outscore its problems with regularity and UPL will benefit from that with some cheap wins.
If your league counts saves as a category or gives them a lot of weight for your points setup, that makes Luukkonen all the more appealing as he’s facing more than 30 shots per night on average. All things told, it seems like the Sabres want to see what they have in the youngster and aren’t much concerned with how that affects Comrie or the third wheel Craig Anderson.
Honourable Mentions: Sam Montembeault - MTL (16%) & Elvis Merzlikins - CBJ (14%)
Nate Groot Nibbelink is the creator of Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey and the originator of the #ZeroG draft strategy. You can find him pontificating about obscure fantasy hockey strategy topics in the Apples & Ginos Discord Server or on Twitter @applesginos.
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