NHL Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week

NHL Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our NHL Waiver Wire series.

Most NHL clubs have reached the halfway point, which means it's time to decide whether you want to keep competing or look to the future. Even in single-season formats, there's no need to give up if you think your team can't cash. Fight every day and every week to make your lineups as competitive as possible against any opponent.

When it comes to hockey, RotoWire has all you need to get you to the next level and stay active with the latest news and in-depth material.

And behold, our first repeat recommendations of the season. For reference, only previously mentioned players who are still less than 50 percent rostered can be considered:

(Rostered rates/stats as of Jan. 27.)

Forwards

Tyler Toffoli, MON (Yahoo: 43%): Toffoli has scored at a decent rate over his career. His numbers haven't necessarily decreased and many probably dropped him or forgot he existed while out for more than a month following hand surgery. The fact Toffoli is on a struggling team probably doesn't help, though he produced two goals, two assists and 10 shots in the first three games following his return while maintaining a lead power-play role. He may not find points easy to come by in Montreal, but that could improve should he get dealt to a more stable offense.

William Karlsson, VGK (Yahoo: 26%): The Swede catapulted himself into fantasy folklore with a 43-goal, 78-point Vegas debut (and a plus-49!) and continued that with solid outputs the next three

Most NHL clubs have reached the halfway point, which means it's time to decide whether you want to keep competing or look to the future. Even in single-season formats, there's no need to give up if you think your team can't cash. Fight every day and every week to make your lineups as competitive as possible against any opponent.

When it comes to hockey, RotoWire has all you need to get you to the next level and stay active with the latest news and in-depth material.

And behold, our first repeat recommendations of the season. For reference, only previously mentioned players who are still less than 50 percent rostered can be considered:

(Rostered rates/stats as of Jan. 27.)

Forwards

Tyler Toffoli, MON (Yahoo: 43%): Toffoli has scored at a decent rate over his career. His numbers haven't necessarily decreased and many probably dropped him or forgot he existed while out for more than a month following hand surgery. The fact Toffoli is on a struggling team probably doesn't help, though he produced two goals, two assists and 10 shots in the first three games following his return while maintaining a lead power-play role. He may not find points easy to come by in Montreal, but that could improve should he get dealt to a more stable offense.

William Karlsson, VGK (Yahoo: 26%): The Swede catapulted himself into fantasy folklore with a 43-goal, 78-point Vegas debut (and a plus-49!) and continued that with solid outputs the next three years. This season has seen a dip in Karlsson's production, though his overall ice time and special-teams involvement have remained significant. He missed a month with a broken foot and is still centering Jonathan Marchessault — and Reilly Smith, when available — so there should be plenty of chances to boost his scoring totals.

Michael Bunting, TOR (Yahoo: 18%): Bunting kicked off this column in October with the promise of lining up with one of Toronto's elite centers. Thirty-nine game later he's up to 24 points, 28 PIM, 80 shots and a regular even-strength place beside Auston Matthews. Bunting recently had a five-game points streak snapped, but he's averaged almost 17 minutes since early December. We think he'll be safe in the top-six with the Leafs not boasting a lot of talent on the left side.

Josh Bailey, NYI (Yahoo: 4%): Now in his 14th season — all with the Isles — Bailey has been the model of a steady performer. The club would never be characterized as high-scoring, though their tallies have recently increased. This uptick has coincided with a hot streak from Bailey to the tune of two goals and 11 assists across the last 16 outings. Lining up alongside Mathew Barzal or Brock Nelson has its benefits, but the veteran has supplied enough on his own to warrant a greater coverage rate.

Nick Schmaltz, ARI (Yahoo: 3%): Since Schmaltz endured a cold run and sat six weeks with an upper-body injury, he's been regularly hitting the scoresheet with 13 points from 16 appearances. There's not a lot else other than the offense and shots on net, but that's usually enough to hold down a roster spot in standard formats. The Coyotes' 2.24 goal average may be a cause for concern, though Schmaltz's two goals and an assist on Tuesday might change a few minds.

Alex Formenton, OTT (Yahoo: 3%): Some will remember Formenton from the 2018 WJC Canadian gold medal-winning side. Others who follow the AHL might recall the 53 points and 65 PIM he posted in 2019-20. He saw a brief NHL stint the previous two seasons, though a lone goal would count as the only output. The minutes were meager to start this campaign, but Formenton's gone off since Dec. 2 with six goals, nine assists, 36 shots and a plus-8. He's a main member of Ottawa's penalty kill and has potted two goals in that situation, yet his biggest contribution might still be coming as he's projected to replace the injured Drake Batherson on the top power play.

Cole Perfetti, WPG (Yahoo: 2%): Speaking of Canadians who've taken home WJC honors, Perfetti grabbed a silver last January. He was already at six points through the first two games of this year's edition before the tournament was cancelled. Perfetti actually started the season with the Jets, but he was sent to the minors because he'd receive much more ice time there. Following 15 points in 17 games, he was summoned and has had his responsibility slowly built up to the point where he's now on a line with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor and just recorded a pair of assists Tuesday, including his first career PPP. And it looks as though Winnipeg will be keeping Perfetti for the long haul since he'll be playing his 10th game Thursday.

Marcus Johansson, SEA (Yahoo: 1%): Johansson is the fifth Kraken forward mentioned here this season and the second in two weeks. And like Calle Jarnkrok, Johansson also features on Seattle's first man-advantage. The downside of that enhanced position is that eight of his 13 points are PPPs with not much from other categories. But as Johansson is available in 99 percent of leagues, does he really need anything else to convince poolies to boost his exposure?

Defensemen

Evan Bouchard, EDM (Yahoo: 44%): When Bouchard was originally featured in late October, it was mentioned he could eventually see top power-play duty. And that day came Saturday where he immediately potted two PPGs in the Battle of Alberta. There hasn't been any other scoring in the surrounding seven games, though Bouchard has averaged more than two pucks on net during that stretch. Before his coverage skyrockets due to the promise of skating with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the Oilers' lethal lead man-advantage, you might want to check if he's still available in your leagues.

Mike Matheson, PIT (Yahoo: 20%): All it took for Matheson to get noticed was to rack up six points in three outings last week. Prior to that outburst, he was inconsistent with his offense and that's understandable since he's not a reliable producer. While Matheson will never be confused for Kris Letang or receive power-play minutes like John Marino, he's a fine complementary blueliner who can register a few shots, hits and blocks while occasionally supplementing the attack.

Ben Chiarot, MON (Yahoo: 9%): As was discussed with Tyler Toffoli, the Habs are struggling and a few of their better players are being mentioned in potential trade activity. Chiarot represents that contingent and is being monitored by many teams as a lead defender for Montreal who's skating 23:20 a game. While the veteran has only managed a goal and two helpers from the last 23 games, he's also generated 18 PIM, 46 shots, 52 hits and 36 blocks over the same span along with a secondary man-advantage and prime shorthanded roles.

Mikey Anderson, LA (Yahoo: 4%): Being paired with Drew Doughty has its advantages, such as extra minutes, but it doesn't guarantee instant offense. Anderson has only posted five points this season, though scoring isn't his thing and probably never will be. But if you're looking for a player who sacrifices his body for fantasy purposes, he's a top candidate with 92 hits — with 38 of those in the most recent nine matchups. Anderson has also recorded a plus-11 and averaged more than a shot and block per game, but you're ultimately adding him for his prowess of dishing out pain.

Goaltenders

Matt Murray, OTT (Yahoo: 9%): Things didn't go particularly well for Murray during his first season in Ottawa with a subpar statline and multiple injuries. The current campaign has been much of the same with three separate absences and a brief AHL demotion after not being claimed through waivers. The multi-Cup winner might have turned it around the last two weeks with a 3-0-1 record, 2.00 GAA and .938 save percentage highlighted by a shutout over Buffalo on Tuesday. Murray isn't the greatest catch based on the Sens poor defense, but he'll at least earn additional starts and the potential for more saves and wins.

Jon Gillies, NJ (Yahoo: 1%): Since signing a pro contract with the Flames in 2015, Gillies has only appeared in 19 NHL games — and that includes the six from this year. He was drafted relatively high for a goalie and led Providence to a Frozen Four in 2014, yet has mainly been mired in the minors. Mackenzie Blackwood would normally be Jersey's No. 1, but he's experienced bad health luck and is on IR with a heel issue. Since he's out indefinitely and Gillies has looked decent lately, expect the latter to take hold of the top job. And like Murray, he's worth considering if you're desperate for a warm body between the pipes.

(Players to consider from past columns: Nazem Kadri, Brandon Saad, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jared McCann, Tage Thompson, Lucas Raymond, Ryan Hartman, Ondrej Kase, Jesper Bratt, Lawson Crouse, Marcus Foligno, Anthony Cirelli, Ryan Johansen, Trevor Zegras, Nino Niederreiter, Ivan Barbashev, Mats Zuccarello, Evgenii Dadonov, Robert Thomas, Anton Lundell, Evan Rodrigues, Kailer Yamamoto, Alex Tuch, Boone Jenner, Craig Smith, Troy Terry, Matt Duchene, Tanner Jeannot, Mikael Granlund, Sonny Milano, Jonathan Dahlen, Jared Spurgeon, Jamie Drysdale, Moritz Seider, Shayne Gostisbehere, Damon Severson, Mattias Ekholm, Mark Giordano, Matt Grzelcyk, Tuukka Rask, Alex Nedeljkovic, Pavel Francouz, Ville Husso, Kaapo Kahkonen, James Reimer, Karel Vejmelka)

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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).
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