NHL Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week

NHL Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our NHL Waiver Wire series.

It's almost fantasy playoff time. Have you made the necessary moves to keep your lineups competitive? Do you have enough depth in case of injuries/slumps/demotions?

And as repeated here all season, it's important to stay updated. You may miss a surprise change right before puck drop or fall asleep when something significant is announced, but you'll generally be fine as long as you keep active.

If you're searching for all the stats and additional advice, make sure to stop by RotoWire for the latest news and in-depth material.

Here are my latest 50-percent-and-less recommendations to be used in any type of league or format. As has been the case since late January, repeats will show up because they're worth another look.

(Rostered rates/stats as of March 31)

Forwards

Chandler Stephenson, VGK (Yahoo: 50%): Once upon a time, Stephenson centered Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty and the Golden Knights were flying high. With both wingers out indefinitely and other significant injuries up front, Vegas has taken a hit. Stephenson was immediately moved to the wing to accommodate Jack Eichel and has thrived with the star in the form of five goals, eight assists, and 31 shots in 19 games. He also finds himself on the top power play and has recorded 11 points there this season.

Joel Eriksson Ek, MIN (Yahoo: 49%): The Wild are sizzling, winning seven straight, which has coincided with a resurgence from Eriksson Ek as he's posted six points, 17 shots, 20 hits and

It's almost fantasy playoff time. Have you made the necessary moves to keep your lineups competitive? Do you have enough depth in case of injuries/slumps/demotions?

And as repeated here all season, it's important to stay updated. You may miss a surprise change right before puck drop or fall asleep when something significant is announced, but you'll generally be fine as long as you keep active.

If you're searching for all the stats and additional advice, make sure to stop by RotoWire for the latest news and in-depth material.

Here are my latest 50-percent-and-less recommendations to be used in any type of league or format. As has been the case since late January, repeats will show up because they're worth another look.

(Rostered rates/stats as of March 31)

Forwards

Chandler Stephenson, VGK (Yahoo: 50%): Once upon a time, Stephenson centered Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty and the Golden Knights were flying high. With both wingers out indefinitely and other significant injuries up front, Vegas has taken a hit. Stephenson was immediately moved to the wing to accommodate Jack Eichel and has thrived with the star in the form of five goals, eight assists, and 31 shots in 19 games. He also finds himself on the top power play and has recorded 11 points there this season.

Joel Eriksson Ek, MIN (Yahoo: 49%): The Wild are sizzling, winning seven straight, which has coincided with a resurgence from Eriksson Ek as he's posted six points, 17 shots, 20 hits and 71 faceoff wins during this stretch. He has long ceded the lead pivot role to Ryan Hartman at five-on-five, but he's been key on the first man-advantage with 10 PPGs alongside Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello. I was high on Eriksson Ek before the season and that hasn't changed.

Josh Norris, OTT (Yahoo: 48%): Another returnee to this column who's hovering around the halfway coverage mark, Norris has come roaring back after missing four-plus weeks notching 13 points in his last 13 games supplemented by 31 shots, 17 hits and 115 FW. Of note, eight of those 13 points came on the power play and he's managed 16 PPPs on the campaign. Norris is locked in as one of Ottawa's top two centers and is poised to be a main part of their young core for years to come.

Brock Nelson, NYI (Yahoo: 46%): For those who pay attention to this space, you may notice Nelson's name and wonder why he's back after appearing on Feb. 10. His repeat has been accelerated as he's been crushing it the last month-and-a-half as a top-20 Yahoo performer as a result of 17 (!) goals — with six of those PPGs — eight helpers and 64 shots. Nelson is well on his way to obliterating his career-high 54 points, though that or his teammates' recent offensive explosion probably won't be enough to get the Isles close to the playoff race.

Anthony Cirelli, TB (Yahoo: 28%): You won't get a ton of points with Cirelli, yet there's an expectation to regularly find the scoresheet if you're among Tampa's top-six. He hasn't been the most consistent in doing so, yet five assists, including three PPAs, have come from the last three outings. And since Steven Stamkos got bumped up to the superunit with Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, Cirelli has been winning more faceoffs (47 in five, to be exact).

Jonathan Toews, CHI (Yahoo: 25%): Toews lost a month after suffering a concussion, but has played well since with 10 points from 12 games to go with 25 shots and 117 FWs. He also added a pair of PPGs over that span as part of Chicago's second unit. Toews isn't going to skate massive minutes like in earlier years, though there's enough in the fantasy tank to land him somewhere on your roster.

Victor Olofsson, BUF (Yahoo: 7%): Olofsson continued his impressive AHL run in 2018-19 straight into the NHL to register 20 goals and 22 assists in his rookie year. It definitely helped having Jack Eichel passing him the puck, but it's not as if he lacks talent. The numbers may have slipped without Eichel, though Olofsson has done more of late lower in the lineup by posting seven goals, two assists and 38 shots in 14 appearances highlighted by a three-point, five-shot effort Monday.

Yakov Trenin, NSH (Yahoo: 1%): This week's forward flyer goes to Trenin, someone whose game resembles linemate Tanner Jeannot but with less ice time and overall opportunities. There probably isn't anyone else available in 99 percent of Yahoo leagues who's produced at least 17 goals, 117 shots and 153 hits, yet Trenin is begging for more coverage. He was an adept sniper in juniors and later in his minor-league career, so that trend may just be starting at the top level.

Defensemen

Esa Lindell, DAL (Yahoo: 24%): Lindell is best known for his consistency as a key part of the Stars' blueline top-four. He's not elite from an offensive standpoint, but more than capable in other areas. Since March 6, Lindell has accumulated a goal, six assists, 19 shots, 18 hits, 25 blocks and a plus-6 while skating 22:33 a game. He sometimes receives time on the power play, though it's his penalty-killing position where he shines.

Sean Durzi, LA (Yahoo: 19%): Since Drew Doughty went down at the beginning of the month, Durzi has slotted back in as the Kings' top PP quarterback while logging more than 23 minutes a game. He's gone on to produce seven points, including four PPPs, with 18 shots, 14 PIM, 13 hits and 16 blocks during that stretch. The Kings are hanging on in the Pacific Division race and Doughty's return is unknown, so Durzi will continue to be counted upon to lead the back line.

Alexander Romanov, MON (Yahoo: 17%): Like Durzi, Romanov has taken advantage of added responsibilities due to a teammate's absence — in this case, when Ben Chiarot was traded to the Panthers. In those two weeks, the young Russian has stepped up to average nearly 24 minutes while chipping in with three assists, 14 shots, 18 hits and 20 blocks. With Montreal fairly light on the blueline, Romanov is a shoo-in to retain a major role the rest of the way. And that should translate to sufficient stats, though not anything guaranteed offensively.

Cam York, PHI (Yahoo: 1%): York was taken by the Flyers in the first round of the 2019 draft and spent the next two years at the University of Michigan. He was provided a trial run in January, but was ultimately returned to the AHL the next month. Since being recalled, York has seen his ice time gradually increase and operates on Philly's second power play where he's tallied a pair of PPPs. The organization's focused on the future, so it would seem like the 21-year-old has a decent shot at showing how much he means to their rebuild.

Goaltenders

Jake Allen, MON (Yahoo: 28%): After missing two months with a lower-body issue, Allen came back and looked solid in the subsequent five starts with a 2.79 GAA and .931 save percentage. You can forgive him for giving up six goals against Florida on Tuesday considering the opposition's formidable attack and you can't ignore the fact the Habs have played much better lately. With Carey Price not ready anytime soon and Sam Montembeault much less experienced, expect Allen to shoulder the goaltending duties.

Erik Kallgren, TOR (Yahoo: 24%): Kallgren quickly introduced himself on the fantasy landscape with a shutout over the Stars in his second career appearance immediately followed by a 34-save performance to stymie the Canes. The next three on the road haven't proven as spectacular, though he should receive more starts due to Petr Mrazek's injury in Tuesday's victory. And even if Jack Campbell returns, Kallgren would be in line for additional action as the Leafs most likely won't be rushing Campbell back into a full workload.

(Players to consider from past columns: Nazem Kadri, Nick Schmaltz, Dylan Strome, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Tim Stutzle, Nico Hischier, Robert Thomas, Lucas Raymond, Valeri Nichushkin, Michael Bunting, Kailer Yamamoto, Ryan Hartman, Andrew Copp, Mikael Granlund, Ryan Johansen, Tyler Toffoli, Jesper Bratt, Taylor Raddysh, Alexander Barabanov, Kevin Hayes, Cole Caufield, Andrew Mangiapane, Jakub Voracek, Mason Marchment, Rickard Rakell, Matthew Boldy, Anthony Mantha, Trevor Zegras, Jack Roslovic, Tage Thompson, Ivan Barbashev, Lawson Crouse, Alex Tuch, Jake DeBrusk, Boone Jenner, Troy Terry, Matt Duchene, Yegor Sharangovich, Evan Bouchard, Jared Spurgeon, Damon Severson, Noah Hanifin, Noah Dobson, Shayne Gostisbehere, Vince Dunn, Moritz Seider, Rasmus Andersson, Josh Morrissey, Ryan Pulock, Cam Fowler, Erik Brannstrom, Mikko Koskinen, Ville Husso, Logan Thompson, Jeremy Swayman, Jonathan Quick, Jake Oettinger, Anton Forsberg, Cal Petersen, Antti Raanta)

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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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