NHL Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week

NHL Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our NHL Waiver Wire series.

There's plenty of negativity out there and many folks are feeling overwhelmed, but the NHL returning should come as a welcome distraction.  The players, the goals, the many drafts and many subsequent lineup changes.  It's all fun.

If you're a seasoned fantasy hockey participant, then you know how a standard waiver wire works. For those uninitiated — or requiring a quick refresher — here are a few tips:

Check the News

If you want to succeed, then you have to stay on top of all the latest hockey happenings.  Whether it's a trade, a personnel change or an absence, keeping current is key.

Check the Wire

After the news has been announced, head straight to the waiver wire to confirm availability.  Compare with other players to find the best candidate.

Check the Roster

Got anyone on your team worth dropping? Will the player you want to pick up qualify as an improvement? If the answer to both is yes, then make the move before others strike first.

Manage the Roster

Besides underperforming players, be sure to keep tabs on those who are injured.  Depending on how many IR slots your league allows, you may have to let one of the wounded warriors go.  Or if all of them are too valuable to lose, someone off your active bench could end up going.

Manage the Positions

Keep position eligibility in mind when evaluating free agents.  You might have to move on to secondary options, but make sure not to sacrifice too

There's plenty of negativity out there and many folks are feeling overwhelmed, but the NHL returning should come as a welcome distraction.  The players, the goals, the many drafts and many subsequent lineup changes.  It's all fun.

If you're a seasoned fantasy hockey participant, then you know how a standard waiver wire works. For those uninitiated — or requiring a quick refresher — here are a few tips:

Check the News

If you want to succeed, then you have to stay on top of all the latest hockey happenings.  Whether it's a trade, a personnel change or an absence, keeping current is key.

Check the Wire

After the news has been announced, head straight to the waiver wire to confirm availability.  Compare with other players to find the best candidate.

Check the Roster

Got anyone on your team worth dropping? Will the player you want to pick up qualify as an improvement? If the answer to both is yes, then make the move before others strike first.

Manage the Roster

Besides underperforming players, be sure to keep tabs on those who are injured.  Depending on how many IR slots your league allows, you may have to let one of the wounded warriors go.  Or if all of them are too valuable to lose, someone off your active bench could end up going.

Manage the Positions

Keep position eligibility in mind when evaluating free agents.  You might have to move on to secondary options, but make sure not to sacrifice too much quality.

Now that you've absorbed the necessary knowledge, you should be able to apply it by picking up one or more of the following more-available-than-not players:

Rostered rates/stats as of Jan. 14.

Forward

Dylan Strome, CHI (Yahoo: 40%, ESPN: 11%, CBS: 63%): Jonathan Toews will be out at least a few more weeks, leaving Strome to inherit all the perks of being Chicago's lead center.  He's earned exclusive rights of dishing the puck to Patrick Kane by producing 89 points in 116 regular-season games since moving from Arizona in 2019.  Strome carries an extra benefit in Yahoo leagues — especially those formats counting faceoff wins (11 in the opener) — by also qualifying at RW.

Anthony Duclair, FLA (Yahoo: 37%, ESPN: 52%, CBS: 77%): If reports are true, Duclair is set to join forces with Aleksander Barkov on both even-strength and power play.  That's a huge boost for someone who hasn't really been paired with any elite talent during any of his previous five NHL stops yet managed 23 goals with Ottawa last season.  It may be a good idea to see how Duclair performs in his first few outings, but that seems like a risky move should he immediately click with Barkov and Co.

Kevin Hayes, PHI (Yahoo: 30%, ESPN: 30%, CBS: 61%): The Flyers shocked the hockey world when they signed Hayes to a $50 million contract in 2019, but he's well on his way to repaying that investment after accumulating 55 points in 86 games.  A goal and an assist is a nice way of kicking off his second season in Philly, and a spot on the top power play allows for more fantasy scoring opportunities (though the second group stole the show early Wednesday night).

Nick Foligno, CLS (Yahoo: 22%, ESPN: 20%, CBS: 14%): Foligno is probably closer to the player who's put up three consecutive seasons in the 30-point range than the one who stunned poolies with 73 in 2014-15.  He may also be more valuable in real life, though his true fantasy worth comes as being a multi-category machine who qualifies at both wing positions.  Foligno will never be considered an elite forward, but he's an important add for anyone looking to boost supplementary stats.

Pavel Buchnevich, NYR (Yahoo: 22%, ESPN: 20%, CBS: 62%): Based on the success achieved together last season, it's a no-brainer Buchnevich is back with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider on the first trio.  He's averaged more than 40 points the last three years and is still only 25, so there's room left to grow.  The Rangers don't carry much depth on the right side, so Buch — barring injury or prolonged slump — shouldn't have a problem maintaining his place in the top six.

Vincent Trocheck, CAR (Yahoo: 20%, ESPN: 18%, CBS: 39%): It appears Trocheck will be positioned as Carolina's third center, but that's hardly a negative considering the team's depth up front.  He managed 27 power-play points in 2017-18 with Florida, so that bodes well should he stick on the lead man-advantage that is also projected to include Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen and Dougie Hamilton.  But if Trocheck falls out of that quintet, he would only be worth retaining in deeper formats.

Paul Stastny, WPG (Yahoo: 19%, ESPN: 12%, CBS: 35%): At 35, Stastny can continue making an impact as a secondary contributor.  He excelled in that role with St. Louis and Vegas and there's no reason to think that trend will stop in Winnipeg, considering he'd get to regularly skate with two above-average wingers.  And let's not forget Stastny counted 28 points in 36 games during his previous stint with the Jets, so he won't need time to acclimate to new personnel.

David Krejci, BOS (Yahoo: 17%, ESPN: 22%, CBS: 65%): Like Stastny, Krejci has worked well as a No. 2 center within a strong offense.  The 14-year NHLer used to regularly deliver 60-plus points, but his responsibilities have diminished.  Krejci will still get you something in the 40-50 range over a full season and comes into this campaign with five consecutive double-digit power-play point efforts.  And he's slated to keep that streak going as a member of the Bruins' lethal top power play. 

Defensemen

Matt Grzelcyk, BOS (Yahoo: 45%, ESPN: 32%, CBS: 64%): One could've expected the void Torey Krug left behind on Boston's first power play to be filled by Charlie McAvoy, but they've opted to go with a similarly 5-foot-9 left-handed shooter in Grzelcyk.  That's not a knock against the home-state D-man, as he has decent skills and has looked sharp in practice with the first group.  McAvoy might eventually take over the lead role, but the reality is Grzelcyk has it now and is the one with the golden opportunity.

Devon Toews, COL (Yahoo: 30%, ESPN: 35%, CBS: 85%): Toews managed to build upon his 18-point debut with 28 last year, which is impressive considering how defensive the Islanders usually play under Barry Trotz.  The 108th selection from 2014 was shipped to Colorado in the offseason, where he'll join a more uptempo attack.  Toews will probably only see secondary power-play duty, but he's been paired with Cale Makar five-on-five and that alone will eventually lead to better stats.

Josh Morrissey, WPG (Yahoo: 27%, ESPN: 35%, CBS: 64%): Neal Pionk turned out to be the Jets' big blueline story last season with 45 points, but Morrissey showed consistency by notching his second consecutive 31-point campaign — including 12 on the man-advantage.  Pionk might be Winnipeg's lead offensive defenseman, but Morrissey is an excellent second option who remains widely available (whereas Pionk can only be had in three percent of Yahoo leagues).  Of course, someone like Ville Heinola (two percent in Yahoo) will fight for D points when he inevitably gets recalled later in the season.

Noah Dobson, NYI (Yahoo: 1%, ESPN: 1%, CBS: 20%): The word is Dobson scrimmaged on the Isles' top power play in preseason, though it doesn't necessarily mean that will transfer to real game action.  It's worth nothing the 21-year-old was a prolific point getter in junior and ran the PP, so there's at least hope he can find his offensive feet on either special-teams unit.  And even if Dobson doesn't, he's at least guaranteed to receive more ice time thanks to the departures of Devon Toews and Johnny Boychuk.

Goaltenders

MacKenzie Blackwood, NJ (Yahoo: 59%, ESPN: 79%, CBS: 65%): We're kinda cheating by listing someone with more than 50 percent Yahoo coverage, but Blackwood's inclusion is justified considering Corey Crawford's recent retirement announcement.  The third-year netminder was already trending in the right direction heading into the season and is projected to earn more starts with no real competition for Jersey's top job.  The Devils might not be the most appealing defensive side, but Blackwood should still grab enough wins while racking up the save count.

James Reimer, CAR (Yahoo: 7%, ESPN: 3%, CBS: 14%): Petr Mrazek (85 percent in Yahoo) looks to have retained No. 1 status for the Canes, but there's room for Reimer to take over.  Neither did much to impress last year with the incumbent sporting a 2.69 GAA and .905 save percentage during the regular season and the older netminder posting a 2.66/.914 line.  But with the strength Carolina boasts throughout the rest of its lineup and the club's relative strength in the Central Division, you might as well take a flyer on Reimer — or at least add him as a handcuff for Mrazek.

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NHL Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NHL fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Evan Berofsky
Evan Berofsky enjoys writing. Seriously. When he’s not trying to shove hockey miscellany down your throat, he gets his kicks playing tournament Scrabble(TM). If you have anything to say about Evan’s work (or need any hot word tips), feel free to contact him at eberofsky@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter (@evanberofsky).
NHL Picks Tonight: Stanley Cup Game 6 Player Props
NHL Picks Tonight: Stanley Cup Game 6 Player Props
DraftKings NHL: Sunday Breakdown
DraftKings NHL: Sunday Breakdown
FanDuel NHL: Sunday Targets
FanDuel NHL: Sunday Targets
Yahoo DFS Hockey: Sunday Picks
Yahoo DFS Hockey: Sunday Picks