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Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire: Jake Allen is the Devils' main netminder, so grab him now

Jake Allen #34 of the New Jersey Devils
Jake Allen has been a revelation since being traded to the New Jersey Devils, allowing a combined seven goals in four starts, which includes three wins. He's a good pickup heading into the fantasy playoffs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) (Bruce Bennett via Getty Images)

By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

It's crunch time in the RotoWire Staff Hockey League. Final week of the regular season. With three days left, I'm facing a tough head-to-head to stay in the sixth and final playoff spot. If I win, I'm in. Wish me luck! (But not to my opponent! Just kidding. He's a nice guy.)

My roster has recently experienced issues with a few players getting hurt and a couple of significant producers suddenly going cold. The bulk goalie streaming situation also isn't working since I've consistently ended up selecting the wrong two. But the W is all that's required this week. And then I can breathe a sigh of relief before immediately going back to worrying about another daunting matchup.

Should you also be facing similar roster decisions, we've listed a few players who could help you clinch a postseason berth.

(Rostered rates as of Mar. 22)

Forwards

Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars (Yahoo: 43%)

Seguin had been enjoying a solid season before a lower-body injury would sideline him for almost a month. He came back on Wednesday and jumped back on a unit with familiar linemates Matt Duchene and Mason Marchment, where he potted the game-winner and produced four shots. Seguin also resumed his role on Dallas' strong second power play alongside Duchene and talented youngsters Wyatt Johnston, Logan Stankoven and Thomas Harley. As he's around the point-per-game average he regularly achieved during peak years and skates in favorable situations, more coverage should be coming his way.

Dylan Strome, Washington Capitals (Yahoo: 39%)

Life is always exciting as a Washington center because there's always the chance of skating next to Alex Ovechkin. Strome has earned a significant share of that responsibility in recent seasons, yet Connor McMichael currently has dibs at even-strength while Hendrix Lapierre has secured a few chances. That hasn't stopped Strome from accumulating 33 points in 34 games during 2024 while directing 65 pucks on net and winning 280 faceoffs. He and Ovi continue to participate on the top man-advantage, and he's only three PPPs away from equaling a career-best of 21 set last year. That's a lot of output for someone available in roughly 60% of Yahoo formats.

Viktor Arvidsson, Los Angeles Kings (Yahoo: 36%)

Arvidsson also made his long-awaited return Wednesday after being out for 14 contests — and 64 of the first 69. He immediately slotted in on the lead PP and skated 5:05, and that's no surprise since he was a prominent player there last season and posted 25 points. Arvidsson also found himself on the third unit during five-on-five, though there could be room for advancement. Based on all the time he's missed, there probably won't be any rush to ramp up his minutes. And even if Arvidsson isn't heavily used until the playoffs, he'll still be able to pick up a sufficient amount of fantasy stats.

Ryan Hartman, Minnesota Wild (Yahoo: 30%)

When Hartman gets on a run, there's not much that can stop him. He's riding another streak, with three goals, 10 assists, 35 shots, 24 PIM, 22 blocks and 21 hits since Feb. 19. Hartman has also filled in for Joel Eriksson Ek on the first power play the last few outings while maintaining a place in the top six. With the Wild well on their way to defeat on Wednesday, he ended up receiving a double-minor and game misconduct. Whether that results in any disciplinary action, Hartman's major involvement (18:05 per night across the aforementioned span) will keep him contributing across the board.

Michael Bunting, Pittsburgh Penguins (Yahoo: 28%)

Bunting concluded his brief Carolina career with 10 points across his final 23 games, a far cry from the preceding 26 in 37. The move to Pittsburgh was slightly surprising as he signed a three-year deal with the Canes last summer, though the ice time started to shrink toward the end. And Bunting has already settled in nicely with his new club having collected two goals, two assists and 23 shots while averaging just under 18 minutes. His outlook has also been enhanced on the lead PP and a regular place next to either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin during all scoring situations.

Shane Pinto, Ottawa Senators (Yahoo: 22%)

Other than lining up as a center on one of the league's lower-ranked teams, there's no reason why Pinto is only covered in one of every four Yahoo leagues. Let's consider him in the middle of the top trio with Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson. Or the fact the 23-year-old has gone off for 11 points and 39 shots on 17:53 through the last 13 appearances. With the Sens looking to evaluate for the future, they owe it to Pinto to provide him with as much responsibility as he can handle.

Nick Bjugstad, Arizona Coyotes (Yahoo: 12%)

Bjugstad happens to be in one of the best stretches of his 12-year career, and it's obvious not many people have noticed. If we go back one month, he's recorded seven goals, four assists, 32 shots, 26 hits and 95 faceoff wins. Bjugstad's worked his way around the Arizona roster but seems to have found a home between Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz at even-strength. And when you combine all that with a 17-plus-minute average and places on both special-teams groups, that qualifies him as someone to seriously think about adding.

Alexander Nylander, Columbus Blue Jackets (Yahoo: 12%)

Hard work and determination have paid off for Nylander, who only previously received bit parts in the NHL. Things never quite worked out in either Buffalo, Chicago or Pittsburgh, yet he was tearing it up in the minors with 210 points over parts of seven seasons. When Nylander was traded to Columbus in February, it could've easily been assumed this would only be another disappointing stop. But he's proven to be one of the most talked-about fantasy players after going off for eight goals — highlighted by a hat trick against the Golden Knights — three assists and 42 shots. It's definitely helped that Nylander teams up with Johnny Gaudreau and Boone Jenner, though the family talent is clearly there, and it's finally shining through.

Defensemen

Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes (Yahoo: 32%)

While many will flock to Dmitry Orlov for his four-point night on Sunday or PPAs in consecutive games, his power-play role isn't guaranteed. And let's not forget a recent scoreless stretch that saw him contribute only a single assist across 17 outings. What you get with Slavin is more ice time and consistency. There's not much on the man-advantage, though he's a lead shorthanded blueliner while skating alongside Brent Burns on the top five-on-five pairing. Over the last 12 days, Slavin has notched five helpers, 14 shots and 13 blocks. Not elite in fantasy, but someone to stick in the middle of the lineup and know he'll help in a few categories.

Sean Walker, Colorado Avalanche (Yahoo: 15%)

Walker's minutes may have decreased since he arrived in Colorado, yet he's been just as active, having produced 15 shots, eight blocks and seven hits in five contests. During that span, he registered an assist while firing eight pucks on net last Tuesday and then potted a pair of goals Sunday. Walker isn't going to wow you with his points, considering his current haul of 25 represents a career-high. But there's enough to like about his game to be confident he'll do enough in fantasy. And with the Avs boasting the league's best attack, Walker should have opportunities to pad his offensive stats.

Timothy Liljegren, Toronto Maple Leafs (Yahoo: 11%)

When Liljegren originally appeared here in January, he had recently returned from injury and had gotten back on track. An 11-game scoreless run would soon follow, before he took advantage of Morgan Rielly's absence to rack up seven assists over four matchups, including three on the lead PP. The last two weeks have been great for Liljegren, as he's provided five points, 12 shots, 16 blocks and 10 hits. He's also reclaimed his place — or at least, alternates with Rielly — as the quarterback on Toronto's elite man-advantage.

Darren Raddysh, Tampa Bay Lightning (Yahoo: 3%)

Raddysh was also discussed soon after New Year's, as he was paired with Victor Hedman and logged some time on the backup man-advantage. Neither situation has changed since, though there was about a month where he fell off offensively. And what better way for Raddysh to snap that slump than to dish out five assists on March 9, with two of those PPAs. His overall involvement may not be high, but one can't complain about his placement and offense, as he's averaging two shots, a hit and over three blocks from the last five.

Goaltenders

Jake Allen, New Jersey Devils (Yahoo: 28%)

Being part of a three-headed goaltending scenario isn't ideal, especially if one gets hot enough where the third option is barely involved. Allen was more or less the odd man out in Montreal, so a move to Jersey at the deadline came as a huge relief. Kaapo Kahkonen was also brought in at the same time, though he's gone 0-for-2 with his new club, including being pulled at Arizona after giving up three goals in the first period. Allen has countered with a combined seven goals allowed in four starts, which includes wins over the Stars, Penguins and Jets. His contract goes into next season, so there's motivation for him to show he can be a viable No. 1 — or at least, a serviceable netminder on a team with an emerging attack.

Dustin Wolf, Calgary Flames (Yahoo: 9%)

Jacob Markstrom didn't get his wish to join the Devils earlier this month and subsequently got hurt. Dan Vladar picked up the first two without the lead and he proceeded to let in 13 goals. Wolf jumped in for the last three and immediately impressed with victories over Vegas and Montreal before falling to Washington. He's been the Flames' top goaltending prospect for a couple years, having produced some excellent numbers in the AHL, yet only received one outing in Calgary last season. Seeing that Markstrom will probably leave during the summer and Vladar is set to undergo hip surgery, Wolf should be given enough chances the rest of the way to prove he can handle NHL opposition.

Players to consider from past columns: Seth Jarvis, Juraj Slafkovsky, Ryan O'Reilly, Mason McTavish, William Karlsson, Jonathan Huberdeau, Dylan Cozens, Johnny Gaudreau, Wyatt Johnston, Quinton Byfield, Boone Jenner, Gustav Nyquist, Yegor Sharangovich, Troy Terry, Robert Thomas, Sean Monahan, Anthony Duclair, Nazem Kadri, Andrei Kuzmenko, Lucas Raymond, Artturi Lehkonen, Nikolaj Ehlers, Chandler Stephenson, Brayden Schenn, Ivan Barbashev, Charlie Coyle, Mason Marchment, Pavel Zacha, Adam Henrique, Morgan Geekie, Jake Neighbours, Jonathan Drouin, Jake DeBrusk, Anthony Mantha, Nino Niederreiter, Marco Rossi, Jack Roslovic, Nick Foligno, Scott Laughton, Nick Schmaltz, Logan Stankoven, Trevor Moore, Sam Bennett, John-Jason Peterka, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Casey Mittelstadt, Tyler Bertuzzi, James van Riemsdyk, Kyle Palmieri, Bobby McMann, Blake Coleman, Yegor Sharangovich, Philipp Kurashev, Ross Colton, David Perron, Matias Maccelli, Mathieu Joseph, Alex Killorn, Daniel Sprong, Jake Sanderson, Mike Matheson, Seth Jones, Brock Faber, Bowen Byram, Noah Hanifin, Filip Hronek, Thomas Harley, Travis Sanheim, Owen Power, Torey Krug, Mattias Ekholm, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Cam Fowler, Neal Pionk, Pavel Mintyukov, Ivan Provorov, Darren Raddysh, Justin Faulk, Cam York, Pyotr Kochetkov, Marc-Andre Fleury, Anthony Stolarz, Joey Daccord, Ilya Samsonov, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Jonathan Quick, Philipp Grubauer, Laurent Brossoit, Casey DeSmith, Elvis Merzlikins, Justus Annunen, Cayden Primeau