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Fantasy hockey: One player to add for each category in Week 13

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After zero NHL teams played more than three games last week, four squads are scheduled to play four games in Week 13.

The Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Seattle Kraken, and Vancouver Canucks all have pretty busy schedules over the next seven days, which makes them prime teams to pluck players from in fantasy hockey.

Here are the top players to target on the waiver wire, starting with a forward from one of the squads listed above.

Goals: LW/RW Nils Hoglander, Canucks (9 percent rostered on Yahoo)

There aren’t any truly hot goal scorers sitting on waivers in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues that have a nice schedule this upcoming week, but there is an intriguing young forward who’s quietly putting together a nice season for the Canucks.

Nils Hoglander, 21, may not have an eye-popping goal total, but the underlying numbers tell a different story. The 2019 second-round pick has potted eight goals across 34 games, but he’s consistently been a top performer for Vancouver. At 5v5, Hoglander’s 9.51 scoring chances per 60 and 4.96 high-danger chances per 60 are tops on the team, according to Natural Stat Trick.

The reason why this is important is because Hoglander saw deployment on the squad’s first line in his most recent outing and he’ll likely continue to be stationed there moving forward. In his latest game, he tallied a goal on five shots and played 17:50 in ice-time.

The Canucks play four games this week, and Hoglander is a sensible add for anyone needing a goal-scoring boost.

Alexander Kerfoot has stepped up for the Leafs, which makes him a good fantasy addition in Week 13. (Getty)
With Mitch Marner on the COVID-19 list, Alexander Kerfoot has stepped up for the Leafs, which makes him a good fantasy addition in Week 13. (Getty)

Assists: C/LW/RW Alexander Kerfoot, Maple Leafs (16 percent rostered on Yahoo)

As long as Mitch Marner is out, I want Alexander Kerfoot.

While Marner has been sidelined with COVID-19, Kerfoot has been reaping the rewards of playing alongside Auston Matthews. In Toronto’s latest game, the 27-year-old registered a goal and two assists while filling in on the top line, and over his last three contests, Kerfoot has totalled eight points.

In addition to point production, he has also been able to provide a very strong plus-minus rating, as his plus-19 mark is tied for sixth across the entire NHL.

He and the Maple Leafs play three games this week, so he’s definitely someone worth streaming during this hot stretch.

Plus-minus: D Gustav Forsling, Panthers (16 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Adding players from good teams is typically a sound strategy for those who need help in the plus-minus department, and that’s exactly the rationale behind adding Gustav Forsling.

On a strong Panthers squad, Forsling owns a plus-15 rating which is tied for the 17th-best mark in the league. The rearguard has done a lot to boost that mark recently, as over his last nine games the 25-year-old has posted a plus-nine rating.

Additionally, Forsling has begun to heat up a bit offensively. The blueliner has recorded an assist in each of his last three games and five in his last six outings. He and the Cats play three games in Week 13.

Power-play points: C/LW/RW Tage Thompson, Sabres (26 percent rostered on Yahoo)

You know everything I wrote above about adding players on good teams for plus-minus help? Yeah, well, fantasy managers are forced to do the opposite when looking for power-play points.

The unfortunate reality for those in need of a power-play point boost is that no man-advantage member from a good team is sitting on your waiver wire. Instead, you need to dig to the low depths of the NHL, and that’s where you’ll find Tage Thompson.

Despite his team’s struggles, the 2016 first-round pick is actually having a nice campaign. Through 34 contests, Thompson has churned out 12 goals and 23 points, both being career-highs. In his last four games, he’s recorded five points with two coming on the power play.

Buffalo has three games scheduled for the upcoming week, making Thompson a very strong add for anyone in need of help in this category.

Shots on goal: RW Craig Smith, Bruins (8 percent rostered on Yahoo)

The Bruins have altered their lines since the holiday break, and the shift has greatly benefitted Craig Smith’s fantasy appeal.

In an effort to strengthen the all-around impact of the team’s top-six, David Pastrnak has been dropped from the “Perfection Line” and it’s Smith who’s taking his place. While that hasn’t resulted in a whole lot of point production as the winger has just two points in his last five games, it has caused an uptick in shots from the shoot-first forward.

During this stretch, the 32-year-old has fired off 13 shots. The high shot totals should only continue to rise moving forward as he plays alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Additionally, Smith should hopefully start burying some more goals, too. In 24 games, he’s recorded just three goals on 58 shots which has resulted in a 5.2 percent shooting percentage, a mark sizeably lower than his career number of 9.4 percent.

With the Bruins playing four games over the next seven days, Smith is a priority add for those needing more pucks on net.

Faceoff wins: C Ryan Johansen, Predators (40 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Ryan Johansen shouldn’t be rostered in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.

The impressive category coverage he’s been able to provide this season has helped fantasy managers in a number of ways. In 33 games, he’s registered 10 goals and 29 points, 293 faceoff wins, and 11 power-play points.

Logging minutes on the Predators’ first line and top power-play unit, this is a player that holds a lot of unappreciated value. Nashville is scheduled to suit up for three games in Week 13.

Hits: LW/RW Eeli Tolvanen, Predators (17 percent rostered on Yahoo)

I’ve written about Eeli Tolvanen in this column a number of times, but never for his ability to throw his weight around.

Over the last 30 days, Tolvanen has been one of the NHL’s premier body checkers, as his 29 hits are tied for 11th-most in the league during this span. Since the holiday pause, the 22-year-old has thrown at least two hits in each of the Predators’ six games and he’s thrown 14 in his last three contests.

Unlike most forwards who throw a lot of hits, there’s actually quite a bit of offensive upside with Tolvanen, too. He’s fired off 90 shots in the 36 games he’s played this season, and the 2017 first-round pick is logging minutes on the Preds' first line and top power-play unit.

Scheduled to play three games this upcoming week, Tolvanen is a strong add who can help fantasy managers.

Blocks: D Tyler Myers, Canucks (17 percent rostered on Yahoo)

There’s not much to say about Tyler Myers other than the fact that he’s six-feet-eight and he uses that big frame to step in front of people and pucks.

This season, the hulking blueliner has been credited with 69 hits and 76 blocks, the latter of which sits tied for seventh across the league.

Offensive production isn’t something that you’ll see much of from Myers, as he has just 10 points - all assists - in 34 games. He does have a respectable plus-eight rating, however, so that helps.

With four games on Vancouver’s schedule in Week 13, Myers’s body will likely be sore after absorbing a lot of pucks over the next seven days.

Goaltending: G Alexandar Georgiev, Rangers (36 percent rostered on Yahoo)

As I also wrote about in my most recent 10 fantasy hockey takeaways column, there’s a lot of upside in swiping Alexandar Georgiev off waivers.

The Bulgarian puckstopper has been involved in a number of trade rumours, and if the Rangers do end up swapping the netminder, he’ll likely assume the starting role on whatever team he joins. The upgrade in status would surely do wonders for his fantasy value, which isn’t too bad as it currently stands.

With Igor Shesterkin in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, Georgiev has started each of the team’s last three games. In those outings, the 26-year-old posted a respectable .916 save percentage and allowed just one goal in two of the three starts.

Handling lead duties until Shesterkin returns and holding quite a bit of potential upside, Georgiev is a strong stash in fantasy leagues. The Rangers play three games this week.

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