Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 11
We have another busy week in the NHL before the schedule thins out for the Christmas break. The next 10 days will most likely see some rampant trade rumors before the roster freeze over the holidays, so keep an eye on that as some players could see a vast improvement in their fantasy value with a move. A couple of more injury notes include long-term injuries to stud forwards Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg, and Patrice Bergeron. P.K. Subban may be back this week, while John Klingberg may arrive just in time for Christmas.
Travis Konecny (PHI) 53%
Konecny’s stats (19 points in 28 games) aren’t great, but the Flyers could be a different team soon. They recently hired Chuck Fletcher as their new GM and he will decide whether a coaching change is also in order. The Flyers have too much talent to sit 20th in goals scored, and if they can find their way offensively (with a new coach or by tweaking their scheme), Konecny may benefit as much as anyone. He’s listed at all three positions in Yahoo and is also very versatile for the Flyers, currently listed on their top line.
Carl Soderberg (COL) 23%
Soderberg has had an under-the-radar career, especially after he was traded to Colorado by Boston in 2014. He posted 51 points in his first year with the Avalanche but struggled to find his scoring touch since, although the 2016 team was historically awful. He’s actually on pace for his best offensive showing this year (27 goals and 56 points) and is on the ice for over 16 minutes per game. A high tide raises all boats, and he may benefit from his place on the high flying Avs.
Ondrej Kase (ANH) 14%
I listed Kase as a sleeper pick a month ago (was at 9% at the time), but I feel the need to reiterate this tip. He now has 11 points in 14 games, is listed on the second line with Adam Henrique and Nick Ritchie, and is averaging 15:40 in ice time. The Ducks are reinventing themselves on the fly as some of their veteran players are either out with injury or are slowing down and Kase has a real chance to assert himself as a prominent winger on this team.
Andrew Shaw (MTL) 22%
Shaw is on pace for 21 goals and 45 points, both of which would be career bests. He is currently slated on the Hab’s top line with the suddenly sensational Max Domi and ultra-talented Jonathan Drouin. If your scoring system includes hits, he already has 53 to his name and is usually a consistent contributor in that department. His value may diminish if he moves down the lineup, but he’s in a great situation now.
Andreas Johnsson (TOR) 16%
Hiding behind their high profile free agents and top-10 draft picks is Johnsson, who looks to be a later round gem. He was a prolific scorer in Sweden and has progressed steadily towards landing a spot with the Leafs. He spent two years in the AHL, scoring at least 20 goals each year, and was a 1.0 point-per-game player last year. Mike Babcock may move his lines around at times, but Johnsson is currently playing with Austin Matthews and Kasperi Kapanen, so the sky’s the limit.
Kevin Labanc (SJ) 16%
Labanc is anything but a household name, partly from playing for a West Coast team. He had a very quiet 40 point season last year and is on pace for 50 this year. While his three-goal total is unimpressive, he is currently outscoring Evander Kane while putting in about 15 minutes a night on Joe Thornton’s line.
Jamie Oleksiak (PIT) 22%
Out of left field, this 6’7, 255-pound enforcer has emerged as a solid contributor for the Penguins. He’s on pace for 30 points this year, nearly double his previous best. Throw in a plus-minus mark of +6 along with 79 hits already, and you may have a solid depth guy to cover injuries for the rest of the season.
Josh Manson (ANH) 20%
Manson is another rugged defender who has steadily increased his offensive production. Last year he hit a career-best 37 points, a ridiculous +34 mark, and delivered 180 hits as well to place him as a top-20 fantasy defenseman. Those may turn out to be career numbers, but he looks to be a guy that will always have a good plus-minus mark and he’ll definitely be a hitter. Like Oleksiak, you have a steady, consistent depth guy in Manson.
Adin Hill (ARI) 31%
I thought about listing Hill a couple of times but was expecting Antti Raanta to return to the lineup, prompting Hill’s departure. News came out this week that Raanta has a more serious knee injury than previously reported, and may even miss the rest of the season. If you still have a shot at him, he’s a very intriguing prospect.
Drafted in the third round, he may actually be a talented goalie developed by the Coyotes’ farm system (I believe that would make him the first of his kind). He’s posted solid stats the last two years in the AHL, but his numbers with Arizona have been incredible so far (4-2, 1.69 goals against average, 0.939 save percentage). If he were doing this in Toronto or New York, he’d be a household name already. By the end of the year, he may be a league-wide sensation.
Pavel Buchnevich (NYR) 8%
Buchnevich has been on IR with a thumb injury, but is expected back as early as this week. He’s a promising offensive player with a real chance to cement a top spot on the rebuilding Rangers. He’d only played four games with the Rangers’ AHL team before they realized he belonged with the big club and he rewarded them with a 20-point season in 41 games. With 43 points last year, he’s shown impressive progression already, and should earn top six minutes once he gets his sea legs back.