Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 21 (2020)
With less than a week to go before the NHL trade deadline, the rumors are rampant and a couple of deals also went down on the weekend. With only three teams below them in the standings, the New Jersey Devils are pretty obvious sellers and moved a couple of veterans (Andy Greene and Blake Coleman) for exorbitant returns. That may scare off several teams that want to acquire mid-level players, but it could also trigger an arms race.
I have written about several players at the top of the trade bait list, but there is a handful that bears watching (and probably picking up on waivers). The market may now be set with a handful of deals already consummated, so this could be a fun week in the world of hockey.
As for who’s hot and who’s not, here are the teams with seven or more wins in their last 10 games:
- Tampa Bay – ten wins!! (worthy of two exclamation points)
- Boston – nine wins!
- Pittsburgh, NY Rangers, Colorado, Nashville – seven wins
Teams with three or fewer wins include:
- Florida, Ottawa, Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, Arizona, Los Angeles
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (OTT): 56%
At 27 years of age, Pageau represents a very productive rental option on a nice salary (3.1 million/UFA next year). After a poor season last year, Pageau has rebounded with 36 points in 57 games (including 22 goals). He’s hit 43 points before so this doesn’t look at all like a fluke, and his +9 rating on a team that is -44 is pretty amazing.
Anthony Cirelli (TB): 30%
Trades can not only bolster the traded player, but also the linemates playing with the newcomer. While that has yet to be determined, Cirelli would be a logical choice as the current second-line center in Tampa Bay. Cirelli has 39 points and is an impressive +25 to date. so his stats speak for themselves. The Lighting are on an amazing roll right now so load up with a few of them if you can.
Blake Coleman (NJ): 64% week 10 39%
I wrote about Coleman back in week 10 (on his own merits), but his stock may have doubled with his move to Tampa Bay. This is a guy who gives you 3 hits (and shots) per game and also has posted 21 goals in 57 games. He’s only -2 on a team that was – 42 so I see that as a strength, and this number will improve exponentially on one of the best teams in the league.
Jonathan Drouin (MTL): 23% (2 weeks ago @ 30%)
I suggested Drouin a couple of weeks ago (when he was at 30% ownership) and it looks like some owners have bailed on him. He did struggle upon his return and then injured an ankle, so the exodus is logical but possibly premature. He’s still on a 53 point pace for the season and may just take another game or two to get his mojo back.
Tyler Toffoli (LA): 13%
With a hat trick recently, Toffoli may have climbed to the top of the potential trade list. Also, a UFA next season, Toffoli’s $4.1 million shouldn’t scare off any teams if they have the cap space to add him. With 18 goals and 34 points in 58 games, Toffoli has been productive on the second-worst team in the league. He’s also been fairly consistent, hitting 34 points or more in six straight seasons.
Ondrej Kase (ANH): 3%
Most observers probably expected more than 23 points in his first 49 games this season from Kase. After clocking a 55 point pace last year (over 82 games), Kase was viewed by many as a breakout candidate this season. He could still be a late-season breakout story if the Ducks do part with him. He’s only 24, so it would probably be wise for them to retain his services, but his age and $2.6 million salary may entice a sweet offer. He is currently out with an illness but is expected to return this week.
Sami Vatanen (NJ): 7%
Vatanen seems like he’s been around forever but is just 28 years of age. Another UFA in 2020, his $4.9 million salary will fit many budgets although he does have a limited no-movement clause so he can veto a move to some teams (usually a 10 team list). At this stage of his career, he may want to feel what it’s like to be on a contender again, as he’s only played four playoff games in the last two seasons. He’s scored a solid 23 points in 47 games this year and is a good power-play quarterback.
Alec Martinez (LA): 1%
Martinez is not a guy I’m that high on personally, but I keep hearing his name associated with several playoff teams. He’s simply a buy and hope prospect as he’s only posted 8 points in 41 games. He does have seasons of 31 and 39 points though, so maybe some new scenery could inspire him to be that kind of player down the stretch. At 1% ownership, he should be fairly easy to acquire.
Pavel Francouz (COL): 32% week
I suggested Francouz in week 14 (while he was at 40% ownership), but Philipp Grubauer retained the 1a netminder status upon his return in mid-December from injury. He’s hurt again now, with no set return date, so Fancouz has another glorious opportunity to be the starting goalie for one of the top three teams in the western conference. His stats are better than Grubauer’s across the board: 59% of games won vs. 50%; 2.44 GAA vs. 2.63 GAA; .925 save percentage vs. .916. He could be a really nice story for the Avalanche (and your team) down the stretch.
Conor Sheary (BUF): 1%
Sheary seemed to be a pretty good fit in Buffalo, but may just be a guy that couldn’t really get it done without playing on Sidney Crosby’s line. In his second season in Pittsburgh, he posted 53 points in 61 games and looked to be on an upward trajectory. As a $3 million dollar UFA in 2020, he’s another guy that could end up on a superstar’s line before the trade deadline hits.