Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 23
Many fantasy leagues are now in their final week (or two) of the regular season, but there are still moves to be made. Besides the players I discuss below, some teams are currently rolling while others should be avoided at all costs. Ottawa and the L.A. Kings are obvious train wrecks, but some other teams like the Islanders, Rangers, Canucks, and Sabres are playing some of their worst hockey of the year. Not everyone on those teams must be ignored, but I’d recommend going with someone on a hot team whenever possible. Some squads to focus on are Carolina, Philadelphia, and Boston.
Zach Hyman (TOR): 33%
Hyman is a coach’s player who works hard and knows his role. The puck seems to be going in for him lately, as attested by his seven goals and five assists in the last 15 games. I wouldn’t trust him long term, but he does play with Mitch Marner and John Tavares, so he may be a great fill-in player for at least a week.
Jonathan Drouin (MON): 55%
Drouin shouldn’t be a waiver-wire option, but he hasn’t panned out offensively in Montreal. The skill is obviously there, and he should probably have a higher ownership rate after distributing four assists on Feb. 26. He is on pace for a respectable 61 points this year (after only scoring 46 last year) and is averaging a healthy 17:27 minutes of ice time.
Jesper Bratt (NJ): 5%
If you want to test out your hockey IQ, check out New Jersey’s current lineup to see how many names you recognize. Ravaged by injuries this year, the Devils have played Bratt on the top line with Travis Zajac and Drew Stafford. He has posted four goals and nine assists in his last 14 games and is on pace for a 54-point season (based on 82 games played). However, Bratt may also join their long list of hurt players after leaving Tuesday’s game with an undisclosed injury. Keep an eye on his status.
Paul Byron (MON): 6%
Byron has been all over Montreal’s lineup but is currently slated to play on the second line with Max Domi and Andrew Shaw. He has three goals and seven assists in his last 12 games and is averaging about 15 minutes per game. Montreal is a decent 13th in scoring to date, and Byron’s speed suits him well on this line.
Vinnie Hinostroza (ARI): 5%
Another team wracked with injuries, the Coyotes are more than weathering the storm with seven wins in their last 10 games. Finding himself on Arizona’s second line, Hinostroza has posted four goals and eight assists in his last 15 games. This is already a personal best for the young forward, but he was a productive offensive player in college and the AHL. The Coyotes are fun to watch again, and Hinostroza is rolling.
Tomas Tatar (MON): 59%
For some reason, Tatar didn’t find his groove in Vegas, so he was shipped to Montreal as part of the Max Pacioretty trade. His new team’s third-leading scorer with 48 points is playing on the top line with Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher. Averaging 16:22 in ice time, he is a solid plug-in player down the stretch.
Nate Schmidt (VGK): 23%
I recommended Schmidt a few weeks ago, but he is still undervalued. With four goals and four assists in the last 12 games, he is a steady producer for a good team. He doesn’t hit much, but he’s +16 and plays on the top defensive pairing and second power-play unit.
Samuel Girard (COL): 3%
Girard’s stats aren’t eye-popping by any means (two goals and four assists in the last 16 games), but he is starting to play a very confident game. His recent highlight-reel goal indicates he may be ready to bust out in the next few weeks. He is averaging almost 20 minutes of ice time, and there is plenty of offensive talent around him in Colorado.
Darcy Kuemper (ARI): 55%
I suggested Kuemper about 10 weeks ago, but feel I have to mention him again. He is absolutely one of the hottest goalies in the league right now, going 9-2 with a 2.0 GAA and .0937 save percentage over his last 11 games. These are outrageous numbers on a powerhouse team, so to post them for the often overlooked Coyotes is even more impressive. I’m not suggesting this will last, so jump on it while you can.
Tyler Ennis (TOR): 1%
Ennis has five goals in his last five games, and while this may be a total fluke, it shouldn’t be overlooked. He could be anywhere from the second line to the press box in the next few weeks, but Toronto is the NHL’s second-highest scoring team and Ennis is on fire.