Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 18
We have a pretty light schedule after the All-Star break with many bye weeks kicking in. You may find that some of your competition has zoned out on hockey from that break and the light week ahead, so now may be a great time to go after some bargains.
Kyle Turris (NSH): 11%
Many owners are sleeping on Turris due to his sluggish start to the season and his current stint on IR. Word is he may be back in action as soon as this weekend and this is a guy who’s hit 51 points or more four times in his career. Nashville is still a top-10 team offensively, and Turris should soon take over his role as the second line center.
Brayden Schenn (STL): 53%
Schenn has a fairly high ownership rate, but it should be higher. A late bloomer, he’s still only 27 years of age and hit the 70 point plateau for the first time last year. The Blues have had a disastrous year so far, but are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. They are starting to heat up offensively as well with guys like Schenn, Tarasenko, and Schwartz looking like themselves again.
Jason Zucker (MIN): 50%
Another player that blossomed last year (and is also 27), Zucker hit 33 goals and 64 points for the Wild in 2017-18. Minnesota is only 22nd in offense this year, which is surprising when you look at the track record of their coach. I think it’s only a matter of time until they break out and join the top half of the league in offensive categories. Zucker may have had a career year last season, but should still be capable of hitting the 40-45 point mark.
Travis Konecny (PHI): 40%
I suggested Konecny a few weeks ago, but feel I should vouch for him again as Philadelphia is another talented team (like St. Louis) that is starting to play the way they are capable of (5-4-1 in their last 10 games). Konecny is currently listed on the top line with Claude Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk and could be poised for a strong finish to the year.
Anthony Beauvillier (NYI): 6%
I am a big believer in Barry Trotz and love the way he has the Islanders playing now. Beauvillier is just the kind of young talent that can develop and grow with Trotz over the next few years. He was a prolific offensive talent in junior (206 points in 178 games) and already has a 20-goal season to his credit. He’s now slotted on the second line with Calder Trophy winner Matt Barzal (who’s really heating up now) and Josh Bailey (71 points last year), so he is in a terrific position to reach his potential.
Marcus Johansson (NJ): 1%
The Capitals may have sold high when they traded Johansson to New Jersey. Fresh off a 24-goal, 58-point season, he then posted only 14 points in his first injury-ravaged year with the Devils. He’s had trouble staying healthy and may have been a product of the immense offensive talent around him in Washington, but Johansson does possess legitimate skill himself and New Jersey is starting to score at a higher pace lately (17th in offense).
Brad Hunt (MIN): 0%
Hunt was recently picked up by the Wild to man the point on the second power play after the team lost Matt Dumba for the year to injury. He’s a smaller journeyman, but has scored at a 60-point pace in the minors the last four years and may well stick around this time. He does have seven points in his first 14 games this year in the NHL, so could be worth a pickup.
Anton Stralman (TB): 2%
Stralman was a surprisingly good offensive player for a couple of years in Tampa before falling off somewhat recently. After signing with the Lightning in the 2014-15 season, he posted nine goals and 39 points and then added 34 points the following season. It’s hard not to score in Tampa Bay (number one offense) and Stralman has proven capable before, especially with him averaging over 21 minutes of ice time per night.
Mackenzie Blackwood (NJ): 14%
Blackwood has created a logjam in net for the Devils recently. His stats (five wins, four losses, 2.42 goals against average, 0.924 save percentage) are easily the best on the team. Keith Kinkaid has held the fort to the best of his abilities on a bottom-five team and Cory Schneider is a shell of his former self, so Blackwood could really make a move here for the rest of this season and beyond. Not many young goalies have such a clear path to the number one job.
Travis Zajac (NJ): 6%
Zajac had four points the other night versus Pittsburgh and now has 31 points in 48 games this year. Somehow (years ago) he had consecutive seasons of 62 and 67 points, but looks to be a solid 45-point producer when healthy. He may also benefit greatly if he plays with Taylor Hall when last year’s MVP returns from injury.