Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 7 (2019)
When searching for upgrades to my roster, I always check to see who’s on a hot streak. That is only one criteria and certainly not the main one, as momentum can be very fleeting in the NHL. If you are a serious streamer though, you can do worse than to ride the hot hand. Here are the teams with more than six wins in their last ten games: Capitals – eight; Islanders – nine; Flyers – seven; Blues – nine; Stars – seven. There are several teams (Detroit, Columbus, Vegas, Anaheim, Los Angeles) with only three wins in that span. I suggest you factor that into your waiver claims and have some specific options for you this week.
Nico Hischier (NJ): 29% owned
Hischier was thought to be a breakout candidate this year, and the reasoning was solid. Taylor Hall was back after missing more than half the previous season, Jack Hughes was joining the team as the number one overall pick in the 2019 draft, and P.K. Subban was brought over to run the power play and provide breakout passes to the young studs up front. Hischier may just need to find his place in the lineup, as he can play wing or center. He’s already scored 106 points early into his third season, so he’s on track for stardom and could take flight at some point this year.
Casey Mittelstadt (BUF): 4% owned
People may have jumped the gun on Mittelstadt in 2018 with a late-season call up that netted him five points in his first six games. Since then he has posted 32 points in 94 games which would be below average for an offensive defenseman. New Sabres coach Ralph Krueger has spread his offensive talent through three forward lines, rather than loading up his top six on the first and second units. He’ll probably need more than the current 12:13 of playing time to really break through, but he has dominated at every level and is still only 20 years of age. If he works his way up to the first line, pounce on him.
Ryan Dzingel (CAR): 18% owned
Dzingel has bounced around from Ottawa to Columbus to Carolina within a year, but may have found his home. He’s off to a solid start with 13 points in his first 18 games and is averaging a healthy 15:23 in ice time for the Hurricanes. Suddenly, (actually steadily) there has been an accumulation of offensive talent in Raleigh with names like Aho, Svechnikov, Terevainen and Hamilton to work with. Probably never a great fit in Columbus, Dzingel can use his speed and creativity here and has 60 point potential (hit 56 last year).
Anthony Duclair (OTT): 11% owned
Certain teams seem to collect certain types of players, and I can think of no better example than Duclair on the top line in Ottawa. This is a 24-year-old on his fifth team, and you wonder if the phrase “he’ll do for now, I guess” will always be attached to his name. With Ottawa though, Duclair has a real opportunity to rewrite his story and playing with Chris Tierney and Brady Tkachuk will help. Duclair did post 20 goals and 44 points in his first full NHL season and dominated in junior (249 points in 203 games), so maybe it’s just a matter of his mindset catching up with his talent.
Mikael Granlund (NSH): 32% owned
Four points in the first 17 games of the season is shockingly low production for the highly skilled Granlund on a very high scoring team (second in the league). It’s eerily similar to his stats after the Preds traded for him last year (five points in 16 games), but Peter Laviolette seems to still have faith in the 27-year-old Swede. He’s patrolling right wing on the top line with Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg, the ultimate vote of confidence. Granlund is not in the spotlight here and will be given every chance to once again hit his stride of 20 goals and 60 points.
Denis Gurianov (DAL): 4% owned
Gurianov was a controversial pick at 12th overall in the 2015 draft, but after three years in the AHL he may be panning out. After posting 48 points in 57 AHL contests last year, he was called up for a 21 game taste with mixed results. He did enough to retain his place on the team and now has seven points in 14 games this year. He’s actually worked his way up to the top line with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, so this is a great opportunity for him (and you).
Michal Kempny (WAS): 24% owned
At 29 years of age, Kempny is still an unknown quantity in the NHL. With 25 points last year, he began to show the type of promise Washington was hoping for when they traded for him. He’s only entering his fourth NHL season, as he played for many years in Europe before signing as a free agent with Chicago. With 11 points in his first 11 games, there is plenty of optimism for a breakout campaign. Being paired up with Norris Trophy front runner John Carlson will help immensely and he may see his average ice time of 19:15 increase as well.
Vince Dunn (STL): 27% owned
Dunn has failed so far to build off a very promising sophomore year in the NHL. With 35 points last year, he seemed to be cementing himself as one of the top young defensemen in the league. He’s currently on pace for 22 points but is worth a grab and stash, as he is paired with the Blues top dman in Alex Pietrangelo and has the talent to snap out of this funk. He’s scored at all levels (132 points in 183 junior games and 47 points in 74 AHL games).
Jack Campbell (LA): 4% owned
Speaking of a grab and stash, I present to you, Jack Campbell. The Kings are looking like a team in a slow rebuild, and while Campbell’s stats (especially his .886 save percentage) are not impressive, he does look to be the future in L.A. He is outplaying Jonathan Quick and nobody would be surprised if he took over that job this year.
Noah Dobson (NYI): 1% owned
Dobson was a high draft pick (12th overall) of the Islanders in 2018. He may well be reassigned before he plays his 10th game, but has reportedly acquitted himself well so far, posting two points in six games. He was a star in junior, scoring 147 points in 186 games, but the Isles are the hottest team in the league and have the depth to bring him along slowly. He’s definitely more of a dynasty league addition but you might also get some real production out of him this year.