By Neil Parker, RotoWire Hockey Writer
Special to Yahoo Sports
Because of the three-day holiday break, the fantasy landscape hasn’t shifted significantly since the previous waiver-wire column, and most of last week’s recommendations remain solid additions. Still, there are plenty of target-worthy players available on waiver wires to help your virtual club.
Here’s the schedule for the next scoring period Jan. 1-7:
Two games: Coyotes, Flames, Capitals
Four games: Bruins, Sabres, Oilers, Panthers, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, Penguins, Sharks, Blues, Lightning, Golden Knights
All other teams play three games next week
Ensure to keep tabs on who gets cut in your leagues, and also remember to check the handful of players previously covered that are listed below.
Yahoo! ownership rates as of Dec. 28.
Pierre-Luc Dubois, CLM (30 percent): With Brandon Dubinsky (eye) and Alexander Wennberg (back) both out indefinitely, Dubois’ fantasy stock skyrockets. The 19-year-old rookie has recorded five goals, 13 points and 40 shots through his past 15 contests, so the added responsibility should enable Dubois to maintain his current offensive pace moving forward.
Nico Hischier, NJD (29 percent): While the rookie has struggled to showcase reliable game-to-game consistency, his seven goals, 23 points and 81 shots are admirable marks in deeper settings. Hischier is now skating on the No. 1 line with Taylor Hall, and considering the two forwards are the most talented players on the roster, it should be a fantasy boon for both.
Jesse Puljujarvi, EDM (10 percent): With Wednesday’s goal, Puljujarvi now has five tallies, two helpers and 32 shots through 11 December games. He’s averaged just 13:42 of ice time during that stretch, too, so his 1.99 goals and 2.79 points per 60 minutes are all the more impressive. The emerging Finn is currently locked in with Connor McDavid at five-on-five, and if Puljujarvi’s ice time climbs, he could be a universal asset.
Ondrej Kase, ANA (2 percent): The 22-year-old Czech has scored when healthy this season, and he’s currently skating on the No. 1 line. It’s resulted in three goals and an assist through his last four outings. Kase is a raw talent, but his 2.6 points per 60 minutes affirm his offensive upside. He’ll likely be a serviceable option for the duration of his assignment alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell.
Zach Parise, MIN (45 percent): Currently on a conditioning assignment with AHL Iowa, the veteran winger should prove to be a solid asset in most settings once he’s back in the lineup. Parise’s numbers have declined in consecutive seasons, so expectations should remain in check, especially because of his chronic back injury. A top-six role and power-play time are next to guarantees, though.
Patrik Berglund, STL (2 percent): Currently skating with Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko on the No. 1 line, Berglund is in an attractive fantasy setup. He’s also scored five goals through 14 December games. The veteran Swede has moved the offensive needle in the past, so he offers fleeting upside in deeper leagues.
David Backes, BOS (23 percent): With three goals, seven points, 13 shots and a plus-3 rating through his last five games, Backes has found his groove of late. He’s playing a supporting role and is unlikely to maintain his current offensive pace. However, the veteran does enough in the peripheral categories to provide value in plenty of formats — especially those settings including hits and PIM.
Jeff Petry, MON (13 percent): Shea Weber’s foot injury has landed him on injured reserve, so Petry should continue seeing big minutes for the Habs. The 30-year-old defenseman has been quarterbacking the No. 1 power-play in Weber’s absence, and Petry has hit stride with two goals and nine points — including five with the man advantage — through his last 14 games. Just beware of his crippling minus-18 rating.
Andrej Sekera, EDM (7 percent): The veteran Czech hasn’t marked the scoresheet and has just two shots on net through three games since returning from a knee injury. The Oilers are stronger with him in the lineup, though, and Edmonton’s 3.64 goals per 60 minutes in December rank second in the league. Sekera isn’t going to go scoreless much longer, and he also tilts the scales in the peripheral categories. This is an opportunity to get in on the ground floor.
Sami Vatanen, NJD (10 percent): The Devils have been sneaky-good offensively all season (seventh-ranked 3.14 goals per game), and Vatanen finally found the back of the net in his new digs Wednesday. The Finnish defender has a long-standing track record of fantasy success, and he’s averaged 22:08 of ice time (2:20 on the power play) since joining New Jersey.
Mark Barberio, COL (0 percent): Considering Barberio was hardly playing through the first two months of the season, his recent offensive outburst shouldn’t be overvalued. However, Colorado is dealing with injuries on the blue line, and the 27-year-old defenseman has recorded six points through his last nine games. In deep leagues, he’s worth a look. It’s also worth noting that Barberio was a high-end scorer in the QMJHL and AHL before reaching the highest level.
Anton Forsberg, CHI (23 percent): The length of Corey Crawford’s (upper body) stint on injured reserve will have a huge impact on Forsberg’s value moving forward, but the Swede should handle the majority of starts during Crawford’s absence. Forsberg sports a mediocre .909 save percentage and 3.13 GAA through 11 appearances this season, and even more concerning is his single win. However, opportunity can sometimes trump talent in the fantasy game.
Cam Ward, CAR (22 percent): Scott Darling has been a huge disappointment for the Hurricanes, and Ward has now won five consecutive starts with a .929 save percentage and 1.95 GAA. History suggests Ward’s current numbers (.914 and 2.65) are unsustainably high, but Carolina plays a sound possession game and generates a lot of offense, so there is potential here. The Hurricanes pace the league in Corsi For percentage and have generated the second most high-danger scoring chances at five-on-five, as well.
Alex Stalock, MIN (29 percent): With five wins, a .923 save percentage and 2.41 GAA through nine consecutive starts with Devan Dubnyk (lower body) out, Stalock has been a solid asset in all settings. So, while Dubnyk is nearing a return, Stalock should still receive a few extra starts after performing well with a starter’s workload. The Minnesota native is probably best viewed as a streaming and matchup-based option outside of deep setups, though.
Players to consider from past columns ( percent): Josh Anderson, Tyler Johnson, Mikko Rantanen, Kyle Connor, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Kevin Fiala, Jordan Staal, Jesper Bratt, Danton Heinen, Reilly Smith, Craig Smith, Kevin Labanc, Jake DeBrusk, Shea Theodore, Colin Miller, Tyler Myers, Mathew Dumba, Erik Johnson, Matt Niskanen, Brady Skjei, Darnell Nurse, Esa Lindell, Anton Stralman, Aaron Dell, Antti Raanta, James Reimer, Jacob Markstrom, Steve Mason, Anton Khudobin, Philipp Grubauer, Darcy Kuemper, Malcolm Subban, David Rittich.