Fantasy hockey: Waiver pickups to target this week

Jeff Skinner headlines this week's fantasy hockey waiver wire pickups. (Getty Images)
Jeff Skinner headlines this week's fantasy hockey waiver wire pickups. (Getty Images)

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 that 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: Jeff Skinner, LW - BUF (46% rostered)

I’ve talked about Skinner before already, but it is absolutely bananas that HE continues to be rostered in less than half of Yahoo! leagues. Skinner has four goals and seven points in his last three games and has taken at least three shots on goal in his last seven. Now Buffalo has the best schedule in the league this week (four games, three on off-nights), and there are no more excuses. Skinner must be picked up across the board, he must be played, and he will continue to put up points. There are few players in the league with a more secure role on the top line and top power play than Skinner and the ascension of Tage Thompson to star status only heightens Skinner’s ceiling.

Honourable mentions: Tyler Bertuzzi, LW/RW - DET (42%) & Michael Bunting, LW - TOR (48%)

Rostered in 31-40% of leagues: Mason Marchment, LW/RW - DAL (33% rostered)

Marchment isn’t necessarily ripping it up right now on the stat sheet, with a respectable three points in his last five games, but as he continues to integrate into the Dallas attack, I believe he’ll continue his current trend of shooting more and gaining ice time. Marchment has fired three or more shots in three of his last five games and added three hits to his four shots in his most recent contest against the Avalanche on Saturday. If Marchment can continue to find his way and provide top-tier hits and shots, he’ll have strong fantasy value even if he never finds his way onto the electric top power play unit in Dallas. Dallas has two off-nights this week among their three games, so it’s not a bad time to buy in on Marchment and see if these rumblings are signs of a true awakening.

Honourable mentions: Anton Lundell, C - FLA (31%) & Andrei Kuzmenko, LW - VAN (38%)

Rostered in 21-30% of leagues: Alex Killorn, LW/RW - TBL (25% rostered)

There was a time when Brandon Hagel was the hotness in Tampa, getting top line and top power play deployment. Now, Alex Killorn has reclaimed his spot on the top power play unit and has been on quite the bender of late, dropping three goals and six assists for nine points in his last six games. Somehow Killorn is still available in three-quarters of Yahoo! leagues, but I wouldn’t expect that to last long; Tampa has a Monday/Tuesday back-to-back to start the week and if Killorn continues to produce, you can work him in for the Lightning’s Thursday and Saturday games as well. It’s not too often that a player producing like this on a high-quality team is so widely available, so go snap up Killorn now before his rostership rebounds to a higher level.

Honourable mentions: Seth Jarvis, LW/RW - CAR (28%) & Brandon Hagel, LW/RW - TBL (23%)

Rostered in 0-20% of leagues: Dylan Cozens, C - BUF (11% rostered)

Buffalo having that terrific four-game, three off-night schedule (which also avoids the heaviest night of the week on Saturday) makes Dylan Cozens a very interesting option for this week and potentially beyond. Cozens has fired four or more shots in four of his last five games and has staked his claim to a spot on the Buffalo top power play unit. Cozens plays in all situations for the Sabres, meaning he’s still getting ice time no matter what the game context is like. A former seventh overall pick, Cozens certainly has the draft pedigree to suggest that he may still have some untapped potential. I’m very interested in rostering Cozens this week for the great schedule and seeing if he can parlay his opportunity and shot volume into a season-long breakout.

Honourable mentions: David Krejci, C - BOS (20%) & Jack Quinn, LW/RW - BUF (4%)


Rostered in 26-50% of leagues: Vince Dunn - SEA (40% rostered)

Dunn has been in an “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” role in this article each week for some time now. But really Dunn is a very solid option for the back end of your defense corps and I don’t see a reason why he can’t be a season-long hold for your team. While Dunn has four points in his last five games, the best part of rostering Dunn is that he never leaves you with a zero. Be it a three shot night or a four hit night or a couple of blocks for your bangers categories league, Dunn has made a habit this season of consistently providing something for our fantasy rosters, and that alone should have his rostership much higher than it currently is.

Honourable mentions: Jake Sanderson - OTT (48%) & Alec Martinez - VGK (26%)

Rostered in 0-25% of leagues: Rasmus Sandin - TOR (14% rostered)

Sandin is a classic case of an injury creating an opportunity for a secondary player to become very impactful in fantasy. Morgan Rielly suffered a knee injury in last Monday’s game against the New York Islanders that will see him sidelined for the next four to six weeks. Enter Sandin, who immediately assumed Rielly’s responsibilities on the top power play unit. The Leafs are heavily battered on the blue line currently with Rielly, Jake Muzzin, T.J. Brodie, and Jordie Benn all out currently. All those injuries have necessitated a significant boost in Sandin’s ice time, as he’s averaged over 22 minutes of ice in the three games since Rielly went down. Sandin has provided plenty of hits and blocks early in this season, and now gets the opportunity to add point production to those peripheral stats via the increased responsibility. On a team like Toronto, you’re going to want to roster any defenseman seeing 22-plus minutes a night including top power play.

Honourable mentions: Cam Fowler - ANA (15%) & Mike Matheson - MTL (14%)


Rostered in 26-50% of leagues: Karel Vejmelka - ARI (44% rostered)

I give up trying to ignore Vejmelka simply because the Coyotes are not a good hockey team. Vejmelka has been simply brilliant of late, sporting a sparkling .939 save percentage across his last seven starts including two shutouts. Arizona does not have a good schedule this week with only two games to play, but Vejmelka is rapidly approaching “must-roster” territory. Goalies get hot and cold with very little apparent rhyme or reason, and you can resist a trend or roll with it. I’m choosing to roll with Vejmelka until he gives me a new reason not to.

Honourable mentions: Pyotr Kochetkov - CAR (27%) & John Gibson - ANA (46%)

Rostered in 0-25% of leagues: Craig Anderson - BUF (14% rostered)

There are three great reasons to pick up Craig Anderson this week. The first is his play of late: he stopped 29-of-31 shots in a 7-2 win against Montreal on Tuesday and followed it up with a 41-of-44 effort against the red-hot New Jersey Devils on Friday. The second is that the Sabres are a much better team than you probably think they are, with major individual improvements from Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin setting the tone for the season. Lastly, the Sabres have been alternating between Anderson and call-up Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen for the last number of games since Eric Comrie got hurt. If the current trend holds, Anderson would be in line to face Detroit and San Jose whereas Luukkonen would draw Tampa Bay and Colorado. I’m betting on Anderson pleasantly surprising us this week with a couple of solid outings.

Honourable mentions: Philipp Grubauer - SEA (16%) & Joonas Korpisalo - CBJ (9%)

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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