Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 6 (2019)
The NHL season seems to be flying by as many teams have already played fifteen games or more. Many fantasy owners are involved in more than one sport and this can be a very hectic time of year. While it can be tough to allocate enough time to do your due diligence if you’re running multiple teams in more than one sport, I’ll try to narrow your focus this week with some waiver suggestions.
Kevin Hayes (PHI) 16%
While Hayes is off to a slow start (seven points in 13 games), I’m pretty sure a guy that was just signed for $50 million dollars will be given every chance to find his sea legs. Currently listed as the Flyer’s third-line center, he could end up in a top-two role as Claude Giroux can also play wing. Hayes potted 55 points last year and could hit that again with the offensive talent in Philly. He already has 38 shots on net and 21 hits.
Mikael Backlund (CGY) 15%
The Flames are not off to a great start this year and Backlund is one of the poster boys, with only four points in his first 17 games. While not a prolific scorer, Backlund has hit 53 points before (and 45+ points four times). He is currently centering the second line with the red hot Matthew Tkachuk as a fixture on one wing, and is simply too talented to stay in this funk for much longer.
Alex Galchenyuk (PIT) 28%
Galchenyuk has a great opportunity coming off injured reserve (lower body) as he is slated to play with Evgeni Malkin, who is also back from a lower-body injury. The Penguins are currently fifth in scoring in the league, and that is mostly without the help of these two scorers. Somehow, Galchenyuk (in his eighth NHL season) is only 25 years of age, and already has two 50 point and five 40 points seasons under his belt. He could explode in Pittsburgh if he (and Malkin) can stay healthy.
Gustav Nyquist (CLB) 20%
Nyquist is playing on the top line in Columbus with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Oliver Bjorkstrand and is averaging 17:24 in ice time. While the Blue Jackets are not a high scoring team (and probably won’t be under John Tortorella), Nyquist posted 60 points last year and has hit the 20 goal mark four times in his career.
Kasperi Kapanen (TOR) 24%
The high flying Leafs (third in scoring) boast a plethora of talent up front, which means that Kapanen has good players on his line, but that may well be the third line. With an average ice time of 16:46, Kapanen has posted 10 points in his first 15 games along with a robust 28 hits. He is listed on the second power-play unit and should provide solid depth for your team at worst.
Yanni Gourde (TB) 16%
The Lightning are barely playing .500 hockey right now and that often means someone will be in the doghouse when you’re expected to be a dominant team. Enter Yanni Gourde who is currently listed on the fourth line. It can be argued that this is where he should be with a paltry five points in his first 13 games, but this is also the guy that exploded onto the scene with 64 points in his rookie season. It should only be a matter of time before he’s piling up the points again.
Brandon Montour (BUF) 4%
Montour just returned from IR so he may still be under the radar for most owners. A second-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks, the Sabres sent a first-round pick to acquire him last season. He’s been a prolific scorer en route to the NHL (99 points in 118 AHL games, 20 points in 21 college games) and has two 30 point seasons to his name in the big league. He is slated to play with young phenom Rasmus Dahlin and could really blossom on a very young, talented Buffalo squad.
Jared Spurgeon (MIN) 20%
Spurgeon has been a fixture in Minnesota now for ten years (605 games), but is still a relatively unknown commodity. While not thought of as an all-star, he did post 14 goals and 43 points last season, with 152 shots and 91 hits. He is on the number one pairing with Ryan Suter, is on the number two power-play unit and is averaging 22:40 in ice time.
Thatcher Demko (VAN) 22%
The Canucks have been very patient and methodical with their development plan for Demko (in part due to a concussion), and it looks to be paying off. Having a very solid starter in Jacob Markstrom helps, but Demko is really looking like a franchise goalie in the making. He has dominated at all levels and is off to a great start this year (4-1, 1.78 goals-against average, 0.938 save percentage). He looks to be the number two goalie this year, but if he keeps putting those numbers up, the Canucks will have no choice but to hand him the reins. He is an exceptional prospect in keeper leagues.
Alexander Nylander (CHI) 6%
Nylander was a top ten pick for the Buffalo Sabres but could not get untracked in their farm system. He spent three years in Rochester, their AHL affiliate and most likely has a sandwich named after him somewhere in that town. He did show some signs of life last year with 31 points in 49 games, but it was not enough to prevent Buffalo from moving him to Chicago, where he now finds himself on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. The Blackhawks are awful right now, but have some legitimate offensive talent, and Nylander is tied for third in scoring on the team.