Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 2
Fantasy hockey is back and while it’s great just to cheer on your team(s), it’s also never too early to critique your draft and get the jump on some hidden gems that may have slipped through the cracks. With so many potential starters just waiting to break out, utilizing your waiver picks is especially important in fantasy hockey. I’ll discuss some early options that may be available to you this week.
Paul Stastny (VGK): 25%
At 33 years of age, Stastny is still capable of taking a regular shift and producing as a number two or very good number three center. Cody Glass seems to be getting a shot as a top-six forward, but Stastny could easily assume that role within a few weeks. With the offensive depth that Vegas boasts at forward, the number three role there should be productive enough to at least have on your bench. While he has missed time with injuries, in his last 82 game campaign (two years ago) he posted 53 points.
Phillip Danault (MON): 7%
For a guy listed as the number one center in hockey-mad Montreal, Danault continues to fly under the radar. Current linemates Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Tatar are both capable offensive talents and Danault should receive quality ice time and prime power play opportunities. While he’s not typically a goal scorer he did post 53 points last year.
Tyler Toffoli (LA): 7%
Last season was a forgettable year for Toffoli, as it was for most of the Kings, but he has a new coach in Todd McLellan and a fresh start. He’s only 27, is slated to play with Jeff Carter on the second line and has proven he can score in the past. He looked like an up and coming player in 2015 with 31 goals and 58 points, and with a more high tempo system in place could regain that form this year.
Jesper Bratt (NJ): 4%
The New Jersey Devils are quietly assembling an offensive juggernaut, with two first overall selections in Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, a former MVP in Taylor Hall and a power-play quarterback in P.K. Subban. Bratt is currently slated for a top-six role and may have the pleasure of playing with either Hughes or Hischier if things fall into place. He’s only 21, posted 33 points in 51 games last year, and is a prime breakout candidate.
Conor Sheary (BUF): 4%
Sheary never really got untracked during his first year in Buffalo, but this team may be matching the Devils for acquiring offensive talent recently. He has a 53 point season under his belt and should see a regular shift on either the second or third line in Buffalo.
Joonas Donskoi (COL): 4%
The trade for Nazem Kadri and the development of Tyson Jost has helped solidify a very good second line in Colorado. With opposing teams gearing up to stop the formidable first unit, there is a lot of opportunity for this line to step in and contribute. Donskoi has been making the most of his chance to play on this line with two goals in his first two games. He doesn’t have the resume of some of the other forwards in this article but should receive much more ice time in a top-six role in Colorado.
Neal Pionk (WPG): 12%
With Dustin Byfuglien‘s unexpected absence (and possible retirement), Pionk is suddenly a key cog on a mostly young and untested defense corps in Winnipeg. He was a key piece in the Jacob Trouba trade and will be leaned on heavily this year. He scored a respectable 26 points last year in his first full season after bursting on the scene with 14 points in 28 games the previous year in New York. The Jets are still stacked with offensive firepower up front and Pionk should share in the scoring often this year.
Will Butcher (NJ): 8%
After scoring an impressive 44 points in his rookie year, Butcher leveled out to 30 last year, which is still a solid outing. I only expect his output to increase with the firepower around him and his sophomore season in the past. Many players seem to break out in their third year and Butcher has already demonstrated elite offensive skill.
Craig Anderson (OTT): 9%
While Ottawa has become somewhat of a bad joke in the NHL, the chance to pick up a bona fide number one goalie should not be overlooked. While Anders Nilsson could be a threat, his lifetime NHL numbers (3.04 GAA and .907 save percentage) suggest he is a solid backup. I would only want Anderson as a bench guy, but if you lose a starter to injury he could be a better option than a backup stepping in.
Nolan Patrick (PHI): 4%
This would be a stash play, as Patrick has been diagnosed with a migraine disorder. Hopefully, this is not a long term, debilitating issue for him, as he was a highly touted prospect and offensive talent (148 points in his last 105 games in junior hockey. You may have to wait some time until a treatment protocol is refined, but the payoff could be substantial.