Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 4 (2019)
While we are not yet at the 10-game mark for most teams, some early trends are making an appearance. Some early surprises are the shot-out-of-a-canon start for the Buffalo Sabres (7-1-1 with a +13 goal differential) and the Edmonton Oilers (7-1 with a +11 goal differential). On the flip side, I find it surprising to see the New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks at the bottom of their divisions. The 10-game mark is a historical time frame for general managers to assess the chemistry and talent of their squads so we may see some player movement in the next couple of weeks. That means that players may get a new lease on life on a new team or find more ice time after a player ahead of them on the depth chart is moved. We’ll take a look at some waiver options for your own squad(s) this week.
Tyson Jost (COL): 2% Owned
It may seem obvious to mention a guy that just scored a hat trick, but Jost is still a relatively unknown commodity. He was actually a top 10 pick but to date has only 54 points in 149 NHL games. I like to see young guys break out somewhat in the playoffs and Jost scored a couple of big goals for the Avs last year. He was a dynamic scorer in the BCHL and scored more than a point per game during his only year in college. He can play the wing as well and could be in line for top-six minutes.
Christian Dvorak (ARI): 2% Owned
Dvorak is another young player who had prolific stats coming into the NHL, averaging over two points per game in his last OHL season. He’s currently slated as the second-line center between Nick Schmaltz (eight points in seven games this year) and Conor Garland (four goals in seven games this year). The Coyotes could be a playoff team this year and now have three legit forward lines. Entering his third full season in the NHL, Dvorak has the talent and opportunity to break out.
Ryan Donato (MIN): 5% Owned
Donato was traded to the Wild last year and posted 16 points in 22 games. I’m going with a gut feeling here that Jason Zucker may be moved after mentioning that his coach has to be better (along with himself and the rest of the players). Despite the disclaimer, this kind of comment doesn’t sit well in the hockey community. Even if no moves are made, the uproar may actually wake this team up offensively, and Donato could find himself moving up from the third line to a top-six role.
Oskar Lindblom (PHI): 3% Owned
Lindblom is a late-round gem that is quietly working his way up the depth chart in Philly. A solid scorer in Sweden (15 points in 14 World Junior Championship games), he posted a solid 33 points in his first full NHL season last year. He has four points in his first six games this year and is currently playing with two excellent young scorers in Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny.
Mats Zuccarello (MIN): 19% Owned
I have another roll of the dice for you in Minnesota. Zuccarello is currently on IR with a lower-body issue but is supposedly going to return sometime this week. His resume is solid with four seasons of 53 points or more and he posted 11 points in 13 playoff games for Dallas last year. It was reported that Dallas wanted to resign him this year, but their loss is Minnesota’s gain. Grab him before he’s healthy and scoring again.
Craig Smith (NSH): 11% Owned
Smith is off to a terrible start this year (one assist in eight games), but is streakier than most and could get hot at any time. He’s hit 50 points twice and 20 goals five times so it’s just a matter of gaining the trust of his coach and finding chemistry with some of the talented forwards in Nashville. The Preds are typically among the highest-scoring teams in the league and Smith should hit his stride at some point this season.
Matt Niskanen (PHI): 9% Owned
Niskanen is a good depth/bench guy that will typically give you steady output whenever you have to insert him in your lineup. He’s currently slated on the top pairing with Ivan Provorov as well as the second power-play unit. He’s hit 31 points or more four times, so there’s some offensive upside with this steady veteran.
Tyler Myers (VAN): 9% Owned
Myers gets you a bit of everything – shots, hits, PIMs and posted 31 and 36 point seasons his last two years in Winnipeg. He’s also scored nine goals or more five times in his career and now finds himself on a talented young Canucks team. He is currently on the number one pairing with Alexander Edler and also the number two power-play unit.
Jake Allen (STL)
Until a young prodigy comes out of the woodwork, I recommend stashing goalies like Allen, who has been a number one goalie and has shown the talent to be a stud fantasy goalie. He’s had a rough start and may need a change of scenery, as Jordan Binnington has a stranglehold on the starter’s job with the Blues. If a starter went down on an established playoff team, Allen could be a prime candidate to be moved. At the least, if he can work out the kinks and make a few starts here and there on a strong team, there are worse options in net.
Tyler Bozak (STL)
Bozek has quietly had a productive career to date with 406 points in 674 games. He seems to be entrenched on the third line in St. Louis but that is a team with a really productive top nine. He’s also slated on the second power-play unit and would be a likely choice for top-six work due to injuries or Craig Berube juggling the lines.