Working the waiver wire is a crucial part of any championship fantasy hockey season. Finding players to work into your lineup every single week who can add points to your total is the No. 1 way you can control the outcome of your matchup. In this article every week, I’ll be going over players at every position and at different levels of rostership so that you can fill out your fantasy squad with the best players available in your league. Let’s dig in.
Rostered in 41-50% of Leagues: David Perron, RW – DET (45% rostered)
David Perron has had an underwhelming first season in Detroit, as the 34-year-old winger has paced for just 52 points. That mark would be his lowest since 2016-17, but Perron has been showing some signs of life of late. Perron has fired two or more shots in seven straight games and averaged 3.33 shots over his past four. He’s also currently skating on the Red Wings’ top line and top power-play unit alongside star center Dylan Larkin, meaning the Wings are putting him in a position to put up some points. Lastly, Detroit is the only team to play five games this week, so if you need a right winger then Perron is going to get five cracks to put some points on the board for you where everyone else you might add will get four at most.
Honourable Mentions: Reilly Smith, LW/RW – VGK (43%) & Mikael Backlund, C – CGY (41%)
Rostered in 31-40% of Leagues: J.T. Compher, C/RW – COL (35% rostered)
Compher has been one of the hottest players in the league of late, registering three straight multi-point games before failing to register a point in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames. Compher has played at least 19 minutes in 13 straight games for the Avalanche, and the Avs have an enticing schedule this week with four games and three of those on off-nights. As long as Compher maintains his current deployment alongside star winger Mikko Rantanen on the second line, he’ll be relevant for fantasy. There’s also the possibility that Compher becomes a season-long hold for your roster as the Avalanche have the best schedule during the fantasy playoffs.
Honourable Mentions: Seth Jarvis, LW/RW – CAR (32%) & Nick Schmaltz, C/RW – ARI (35%)
Rostered in 21-30% of Leagues: Tyler Bertuzzi, LW/RW – DET (25% rostered)
I might actually be more interested in Bertuzzi than his aforementioned linemate Perron, as Bertuzzi has five points in his last five games to go with 14 shots, five hits and four blocks. Bertuzzi shares top-line and top power play duties with Perron, and obviously benefits from the same five-game schedule this week. One thing that Bertuzzi has going for him that Perron lacks is a long history of chemistry with Dylan Larkin, making him the least likely candidate to be demoted off the top line should the Wings continue to lose games. Bertuzzi paced for 75 points last year; while I’m not expecting him to do that again I don’t think a 65-point pace for the rest of the season is unreasonable if he can maintain his current deployment.
Honourable Mentions: Anthony Duclair, RW – FLA (24%) & David Krejci, C – BOS (28%)
Rostered in 0-20% of Leagues: Victor Olofsson, RW – BUF (14% rostered)
Olofsson may be a tough sell as he’s goalless in 10 straight with only three shots to his name over the past five games, but let me try. Top-line right winger Alex Tuch has been labeled as week-to-week with a lower-body injury, opening up a spot on the top line and top power-play unit. Olofsson was the immediate replacement on the first power play while rookie Jack Quinn got the even-strength promotion. I’m banking on Olofsson’s increased usage to be the jumpstart his game needs at the moment. After all, in the 12 games prior to this 10-game slump, Olofsson fired 10 goals; he may not be consistent but he’s prone to monstrous hot streaks. With the bump in deployment, now may be the time to jump on Olofsson in your deep leagues.
Honourable Mentions: Anthony Beauvillier, LW/RW – VAN (13%) & Josh Anderson, RW – MTL (7%)
Rostered in 26-50% of Leagues: Samuel Girard – COL (30%)
As of this writing, Cale Makar is questionable to play this week after experiencing concussion symptoms for the second time in a short span. As long as Makar is out, Girard is a smash option as he’s assumed most of Makar’s minutes on the top pair alongside Devon Toews. And Girard has been productive as well, with twelve points in his last twelve games. Girard has skated 22+ minutes in 10 straight for the Avalanche, and much like Compher above, Girard can be expected to produce his fair share of points as long as he’s getting such strong usage on an Avalanche team that is rolling as they approach the playoffs. You can get Girard’s four games this week and I expect them to be valuable even if Makar does return.
Honourable Mentions: Erik Gustafsson – WSH (50%) & Shayne Gostisbehere – ARI (36%)
Rostered in 0-25% of Leagues: Michael Matheson – MTL (17% rostered)
I’ve touted Matheson several times this year, and finally he seems to be cashing in on the hype. Matheson has five points in his last four games and has fired 11 shots in his last two games. Matheson has only one game under 22:33 in his last 11, emerging as Montreal’s erstwhile #1 defenseman. While Matheson may not have a huge points upside given Montreal’s popgun offense, he’ll still contribute in shots, blocks, and hits when he’s not getting points. Matheson’s name has come up as potential trade bait of late, and if he goes to a better team, there could be an even greater potential for point production. I’m going to stick with my guy here in a week where Montreal has four games and two off nights while crucially avoiding the extra-heavy Saturday slate.
Honourable Mentions: Juuso Valimaki – ARI (10%) & Cam Fowler – ANA (15%)
Rostered in 26-50% of Leagues: Adin Hill – VGK (43% rostered)
Hill seemed to be set to take over the Vegas net in Logan Thompson’s absence, but went down with an injury of his own. Laurent Brossoit handled net duties in his absence and performed admirably, but with Vegas playing four games this week, Hill should see at least two of them. Vegas was on a hot streak prior to Hill’s injury and if he can offer consistent goaltending he could factor into more of the Knights’ games throughout the rest of the season even after Logan Thompson eventually returns from his injury. Hill has been solid all year with a .910 save percentage on the season, giving me hope he can grow a role with the team with this opportunity.
Honourable Mentions: Philipp Grubauer – SEA (32%) & Antti Raanta – CAR (44%)
Rostered in 0-25% of Leagues: Connor Ingram – ARI (25% rostered)
It gets a little hairy looking for diamonds in the rough down in this range of goalies, but Ingram seems to be the new starter in Arizona, at least for the time being. Prior to Sunday’s six-goal setback against Nashville, Ingram had run a stretch where he had only allowed two goals on 106 shots for a .981 save percentage across three games. Arizona has little left to play for this season other than to figure out if Ingram has something to offer the team long-term, so I expect he and incumbent Karel Vejmelka to at least split starts moving forward. He may not offer much in the way of wins, but Ingram will undoubtedly be peppered with plenty of shots and offer lots of saves for your categories leagues or points leagues with a heavy saves weight.
Honourable Mentions: Joonas Korpisalo – CBJ (15%) & Kaapo Kahkonen – SJ (8%)
Nate Groot Nibbelink is the creator of Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey and the originator of the #ZeroG draft strategy. You can find him pontificating about obscure fantasy hockey strategy topics in the Apples & Ginos Discord Server or on Twitter @applesginos.