Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 7 (2021)
A handful of clubs have now played twenty games or more, and we are beginning to see a clearer picture of how this season may shake out. We’ve already had one blockbuster trade, several smaller ones, and Montreal just made a coaching change. The Canadiens were a respectable 4-4-2 in their last 10 games but felt they were falling too far behind the pack in the North Division.
There are arguably eight teams with a very tough hill to climb to even have a shot at the playoffs, so we may see a flurry of activity regarding more trades and possible coaching changes. With so many postponed games and a shortened season, the intensity should only increase in the next few weeks. Let’s take a look at some current players with low ownership rates and high upside.
As for who’s hot and who’s not, here are the teams with a winning percentage of at least .700 this season:
- Toronto / Florida / Tampa Bay / Boston / Vegas
Teams with a winning percentage of .400 or lower include:
- Vancouver / Ottawa / Detroit / Anaheim
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (NYI): 38%
Pageau is a feel-good story, working his way up through Ottawa’s farm system as a fourth-round pick. His trade to the Islanders has coincided with a breakout of sorts, as he scored 26 goals in 67 games last year. He’s not on the sexiest team for fantasy consideration but should have a solid plus-minus mark in New York and has seven goals in his first 18 games this year. He’s logging over 16 minutes per night and is on the second power-play unit.
Phillip Danault (MTL): 17%
This is a bit of a dart as Danault hasn’t scored a goal to date (eight assists), but at least one or two players typically shake off a funk with a coaching change. He’s been a solid producer in the past, with three seasons of 40+ points, and also posted 119 hits last season. He’s usually a solid plus/minus player, is logging 16:21 per night, and is currently on Montreal’s first line.
Blake Coleman (TB): 40%
Coleman typically records over 200 hits per season (averaging over 2 per game this year) and has hit 20 goals twice to date. He’s currently on the top line in Tampa with Brayden Point and Andrej Palat, so he may have a shot at a 30 point season. His plus-minus score should be stellar with the Lightning.
Denis Gurianov (DAL): 39%
Gurianov had a coming-out party in the playoffs last year and has picked up where he left off, with 11 points in his first 13 games this season. He had three seasons in the AHL to develop his game and appears ready to become a force at this level. Dallas is tied with New Jersey for playing the fewest games so far, and Gurianov may be flying under the radar for now. Pick him up before he becomes a household name again.
Phil Kessel (ARI): 31%
Kessel is in his 15th season, so a fall from grace shouldn’t be shocking, but a resurgence wouldn’t surprise me either. Last season he posted less than 40 points for the first time since 2008, so if this is the back nine, he’s had a great run. With 12 points in his first 18 games, he’s still showing some signs of life, though. If he and Christian Dvorak can build some chemistry on the second line, I like his chances to finish strong this year and be a solid fantasy starter.
Jesse Puljujarvi (EDM): 26%
While he’s still fighting the label of a massive bust, Puljujarvi has been working his way up Edmonton’s depth chart and is currently listed on the top line with Connor McDavid. If he can stay on that line, his ice time should increase substantially, and his opportunities to score should skyrocket. He scored close to a point per game last year in Finland and could end up being the top waiver pickup this year.
Ryan McDonagh (TB): 18%
While he had a down year offensively last year, McDonagh has hit 40+ points three times in his career and has the chance to be productive on a powerhouse Lightning squad. The Lighting likes to use four forwards on the power play, so they may shut him out of those opportunities, but he’s still logging over 22 minutes per night, should be a solid plus-minus player, and typically posts more than one hit per game.
Mattias Ekholm (NSH): 19%
He’s off to a slow start with only three assists in his first 12 games, but Ekholm has posted at least 33 points in four of his last five seasons. The subject of trade rumors, a fresh start on a playoff-bound team might do wonders for his production. This is more of a dart where you’re hoping for a trade or coaching change, but at worst, he’s solid.
Jack Campbell (TOR): 8%
Another dart throw as Frederik Andersen may be back on the ice soon, but what if he isn’t? Campbell is due to return from his own injury issue, and Toronto is currently leading the league with 32 points. Campbell was playing really well for the Kings before Toronto acquired him and may be a dynamite dynasty pickup since Anderson is a UFA after this season. Even if both goalies are healthy the rest of the season, Toronto will probably want to give Campbell a long look before offseason decisions need to be made.
Kaapo Kakko (NYR): 10%
Currently on the COVID-19 reserve list, Kakko is an under-the-radar addition at the moment but looks to be reuniting with the Rangers soon. Another excellent dynasty stash, it appears to be only a matter of time before he adjusts to the NHL game and his undeniable talent takes over. With only three points in his first 12 games, you may not have any competition to acquire him, but he could finish strong this year.