Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 4
Going into week four of the NHL season, you should have a pretty good feel for how your draft went and how your team stacks up against the rest of your league. I’ve yet to see a perfect draft, so that indicates it’s time to take a serious look at your waiver options. Depending upon your league setup you may have more or less availability than most, but as a standard I will use Yahoo’s stats for percentage owned. It’s a long season but never too early to tweak that roster!
Casey Mittelstadt (BUF) 27% owned
Mittelstadt had a brief but highly successful stint with the Sabres at the end of the 2017-18 season with five points in six games. He’s off to a much slower start this year with only one point in his first nine contests, but his talent is undeniable. He was voted as the number one prospect by The Hockey News, and he was sensational at the 2018 World Junior Tournament with 11 points in seven games. You may have to stash him for a while, and he is more of a dynasty play, but his potential is immense.
Adam Henrique (ANH) 24% owned
Unlike Mittelstadt, Henrique is a steady-Eddie type but a solid depth player on a good team. He has five points in nine games but is a dependable 45-50 point player and should have a solid +/- mark on the Ducks (+17 last year). He may not lead your team to victory but will typically pull his weight as a depth forward.
Josh Bailey (NYI) 28 % owned
The post-Tavares era in New York is still a work in progress as new coach Barry Trotz tries to mold the team to his style. He’s been very successful in Nashville and of course with the Capitals so I’m keeping an eye on a few Islander players, Bailey in particular. It’s unusual to think of a player having a breakout season in his 10th year in the league, but that’s pretty much what happened to Bailey last year with a 71-point season last year. Being -20 hurt his overall stats, but that shouldn’t be nearly as big of an issue with Trotz coaching this team.
Craig Smith (NAS) 24% owned
Another solid winger capable of 50-point seasons (two so far), Smith is currently slated on the second line with Kyle Turris and the up-and-coming Kevin Fiala. Nashville has a high-octane offense with two great forward lines and a talented defense corps. Smith only has four points in his first eight games but history indicates he will crank it up soon.
Jake DeBrusk (BOS) 28%
DeBrusk had a very solid rookie season in Boston with 16 goals and 43 points. We may be seeing the start of a sophomore slump with only two goals in his first eight games, but he’s still slotted on the second line with the talented David Krejci as his center. He’s posting a respectable 16:32 in ice time and has every opportunity to work himself out of an early slump.
David Perron (STL) 27%
Perron finds himself back with the Blues this season, the team that drafted him in 2007. For a guy that’s bounced around as much as he has, the production is pretty impressive — 453 career points and three 50-point seasons (66 points last year). He is off to a great start this year with nine points in eight games (including five goals) and is listed on the second line with newly acquired Ryan O’Reilly as his center. He’s a guy that gets overlooked, possibly due to his journeyman status, but may be on the way to his best season in St. Louis.
Miro Heiskanen (DAL) 29%
Heiskanen is another prized rookie entering the NHL this year (ranked as the third-best prospect by The Hockey News). While he only has two assists in his first seven games, he is already averaging over 20 minutes of ice time, an impressive number for a rookie. Currently paired with the steady Marc Methot, he is a definite add in dynasty leagues and a high-upside stash for this season.
Matt Niskanen (WAS) 18%
Another steady player, Niskanen is an excellent depth d-man that can be confidently inserted in your lineup as needed. He is averaging over 22 minutes of ice time and is on the second power-play unit for the Caps. He’s been +24 and +20 the last two seasons for a strong Washington squad and should continue that level of consistency while also pitching in with 30+ points.
Anders Nilsson (VAN) 25%
Nilsson came into the season as the backup to Jacob Markstrom but has actually started one more game and outplayed Markstrom to date. Originally a third-round pick of the Islanders, Nilsson has bounced around (five teams), but his career stats are pretty decent (3.05 GAA and 0.907 save percentage) for a guy that has been looking for a home. He may have found one now in Vancouver and is worth a stash if you have room on your bench. His stats this year are the best of his career (2.61 GAA and 0.914 save percentage) and Markstrom is not considered a franchise goalie at this time, so you may be looking at a changing of the guard for the Canucks.
Jimmy Howard (DET) 19%
Howard’s availability is probably due to the team he plays for, which is fair. The Red Wings have one win in nine games and have allowed the most goals to date (although they have played more games than most teams). It could be a long season in Detroit, and Jonathan Bernier may steal a few starts along the way, but I believe Howard will be the starter all year and is still a pretty solid goalie. It’s not a bad deal to pick up a starting goalie on waivers, especially as a depth play.
Ty Rattie (EDM) 17%
This is a location based play, as Rattie has often found himself on Connor McDavid’s line. Rattie has an abdominal injury right now, and is probably out a couple of weeks, but this dice roll might end up netting you one of McDavid’s wingers for the rest of the year.
Sheldon Curtis is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Sheldon, check out his archive.