Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire: No trades, no problem — there's pickups to be made
By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
More NHLers continue to switch locations, which ends up altering team lines and situations. And there's still time for contenders to add depth for their stretch drives with the trade deadline arriving in one week. It's no different in fantasy.
You want to find the right additions to advance into the next part of the season, though you're most likely unable to make deals anymore. Good thing there's this free repository of talent in your leagues that doesn't require any negotiations, contract extensions or players to be named later. Just a couple of clicks concludes a transaction.
Sounds like something magical, but the waiver wire is real. And it's spectacular.
Let's welcome the latest crop of suggestions.
(Rostered rates as of Feb. 24)
Ryan O'Reilly, TOR (63% rostered)
This column usually never includes anyone above 50 percent coverage, and those 60 and higher are unheard of. But in O'Reilly's case, his inclusion is warranted. Because anyone who was already skilled and then joins the Leafs to center Mitch Marner and John Tavares should not still be available in 37 percent of leagues. Oh, and did you hear O'Reilly notched a hat trick in his second game with his new club? The fact he's on Toronto's second power play could be stopping some people from adding him, but c'mon, that's not a valid excuse.
David Perron, DET (45% rostered)
Since we just highlighted a former Blue who used to be more appreciated in fantasy, let's also mention Perron. The Wings have been surging as they try to claim a wild-card berth, and their power play has really helped. Perron has produced nine points from the last eight games, and five of those have come while up a man. He averages well over two shots, gets in a fair amount of hits and is pretty much guaranteed to maintain a place within the top six.
Seth Jarvis, CAR (28%)
Jarvis continues to be erratic with his point production, though that can generally be overlooked since he's also adept at recording offensive outbursts — like his goal and two assists last time out or his hat-trick against Montreal last Thursday. Jarvis remains active when it comes to shots, managing at least three in six straight. Skating on the backup man-advantage may not be ideal, but a regular place beside Sebastian Aho sounds like something that could boost one's fantasy profile.
J.T. Compher, COL (27%)
Compher mainly operated as a secondary performer over six previous seasons in Colorado, peaking at 33 points last year. It was only after a couple of injuries up front that he saw his ice time significantly increase. Since Compher was first mentioned here in early December, he's gone off for eight goals, 17 assists, 73 shots and 39 blocks over an eye-popping 21:40 a night. On Sunday against Edmonton, he was crucial in the Avs' 6-5 comeback victory by finding the back of the net and dishing out helpers on the last three goals.
Rafael Harvey-Pinard, MON (10%)
When you're 5'8" and just starting life in the NHL, not many people will give you respect. Just ask Martin St. Louis. So it's probably a good thing he's the head coach in Montreal when another similar-sized forward is trying to find his place in the league. Harvey-Pinard torched the AHL for 25 points across 37 games, so it was inevitable he'd soon make the jump. And after the Habs lost a number of key players mid-January, RHP stepped in to post seven goals — including two PPGs and one shorthanded — three assists, 22 shots, 28 hits and 19 blocks while participating on the first line in all situations.
Matias Maccelli, ARI (2%)
A month-long lower-body injury halted Maccelli's early momentum following a run in which he accumulated 22 points — eight of those PPPs — while averaging over 15 minutes. He initially struggled to get back on track after returning on Jan. 26, only notching a single assist through five outings, but he's found his feet again with six points from the last five, including two PPAs. Maccelli doesn't do much in other departments, though the offensive output alone is bound to get more poolies interested.
Jakob Pelletier, CGY (1%)
Like RHP, Pelletier was clearly too good for the minors, having reeled off 98 points over 99 appearances. Despite the significant haul and first-round pedigree, he didn't immediately receive many opportunities upon arriving in Calgary, resulting in nothing from his first six contests. The chances were coming for Pelletier, but he needed to be patient, and it eventually paid off in the form of a pair of PPPs Wednesday and another two points Thursday. He's now seeing more ice time and looks great alongside Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau at even strength.
Philipp Kurashev, CHI (0%)
Being on the same line as Patrick Kane should be enough to earn a player more fantasy support. But when you play in Chicago and could soon be without Kane and a couple other talented forwards, there may be less hope. Kurashev hasn't been terrible this season, having registered 23 points and 98 shots on a career-high 17:21, yet it's hard to ignore that horrendous minus-28. He's still got a bright future at only 23, and can currently help for however long the talent sticks around.
Erik Gustafsson, WAS (45%)
John Carlson has suffered two separate stints on the sidelines, totaling 29 games. That's allowed some of his teammates to take on larger roles, including Gustafsson. As a fixture on Washington's first power play, he's accumulated 10 PPAs. Gustafsson has remained busy with eight assists, 19 shots and 10 blocks from his last eight outings. Carlson is projected to come back sometime in March, though there's no concrete timetable. And with Dmitry Orlov shipping up to Boston, Gustafsson should continue operating as the Caps' top offensive blueliner.
Alexander Romanov, NYI (17%)
Romanov is already up to a personal best in points with 17, yet you're not relying on him for scoring. His best attribute — or at least, the one that makes him most valuable in fantasy — would be his physicality. Or more specifically, the 157 hits Romanov has delivered and the 105 shots he's blocked this season. He's been especially busy laying out opponents of late with multiple hits in each of his last 13 matchups (and 42 overall). Romanov may be a niche performer, but he's a darn good one.
Jake McCabe, CHI (7%)
We're sticking with defensemen who are mainly known for their defensive work. McCabe has managed five helpers and 12 shots since Feb. 10. During that same stretch, he's racked up 19 hits and 17 blocks — with 17 and 11 of those coming in the last five games. McCabe is prominent on the penalty kill and has been regularly paired with Seth Jones at even strength. He's not going to regularly find the scoresheet, but he's decent enough to fit somewhere in the back end of your roster.
Alex Goligoski, MIN (2%)
Calen Addison based most of his fantasy worth this season on his role quarterbacking Minnesota's top man-advantage, where he's produced 18 of his 27 points. That prime placement has disappeared as he's been left out of the lineup the last four contests. Goligoski has spent most of the campaign as a healthy scratch but got the chance to lead the line on the power play before dropping to the second unit on Thursday. The 37-year-old is already receiving more minutes with Jonas Brodin landing on injured reserve, too.
Philipp Grubauer, SEA (34%)
Martin Jones was the toast of the Pacific Northwest for most of this season. While his GAA and save percentage weren't great, he was winning a lot of games. Those stats have recently caught up with Jones as he's lost the last four, allowing a combined 17 goals while the usually dependable Kraken attack only supplied five. Meanwhile, Grubauer had been stellar in 2023, recording a 1.97/.920 line across nine appearances before giving up six to the Bruins on Thursday. Even with this blip, he should still be competing with Jones for the No. 1 job.
Mads Sogaard, OTT (10%)
The Senators have been decimated by the goaltending bug, with Cam Talbot having missed a month and Anton Forsberg done for the year. Sogaard and Kevin Mandolese were recalled in recent weeks, with the latter demoted as Talbot has been taken off IR. Ottawa is set to play seven times over the next 11 days, including a pair of back-to-backs and a couple weak defensive opponents. Talbot may not be ready to handle a heavy workload right away, so Sogaard could end up receiving most of the starts.
Players to consider from past columns: Martin Necas, David Krejci, Dylan Cozens, Matty Beniers, Robert Thomas, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jeff Skinner, Andrei Kuzmenko, Dylan Strome, Nick Schmaltz, Logan Couture, Kevin Hayes, Trevor Moore, Mason McTavish, Lucas Raymond, Brock Boeser, Filip Chytil, Bryan Rust, Owen Tippett, Jared McCann, Conor Sheary, Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Henrique, Boone Jenner, Cole Perfetti, Scott Laughton, Jack Roslovic, Brandon Hagel, Gabriel Vilardi, Phillip Danault, Max Domi, Sam Steel, Jordan Eberle, Evan Rodrigues, Robby Fabbri, William Karlsson, Viktor Arvidsson, Eeli Tolvanen, Anton Lundell, Ondrej Palat, Jason Zucker, Nick Paul, Tyler Bertuzzi, Kirill Marchenko, Seth Jones, Brandon Montour, Cam Fowler, Brady Skjei, Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Ristolainen, Vince Dunn, Bowen Byram, Juuso Valimaki, Calen Addison, Adam Larsson, Jeff Petry, Samuel Girard, K'Andre Miller, Sean Durzi, Sebastian Aho, Mike Matheson, Janis Moser, Vitek Vanecek, Martin Jones, Karel Vejmelka, James Reimer, Dan Vladar, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Antti Raanta, Stuart Skinner, Pheonix Copley, Jaxson Stauber, Semyon Varlamov