Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 8 (2021)
The NHL was fairly quiet last week, but storm clouds are brewing in a few cities. A request by Canadian teams to shorten the quarantine period from 14 to seven days was denied, leading to speculation we may see deals much earlier than usual. Some teams like Calgary and Dallas may still feel they have a shot to turn things around but are currently on the outside looking in. Buffalo and Anaheim look to be out of it and have assets that could help other teams go on a run this season.
Some teams like Dallas, New Jersey, and Vegas have played 18 or fewer games to date, and players on those teams might be a little more valuable to you long-term than players on teams that have logged 25 games or more. We may even see some five-game weeks coming up for some of these teams, so that is another factor to consider. 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 seven or more wins in their last 10 games:
- Toronto / Winnipeg / Edmonton / Tampa Bay / Chicago / NY Islanders / Pittsburgh / Vegas / Minnesota
Teams with three or fewer wins in their last 10 games include:
- Montreal / Calgary / Vancouver / Columbus / Dallas / Buffalo / Anaheim
Pavel Zacha (NJ): 32%
Zacha’s development rate has been glacial, but it looks like he’s finally arrived as a bona fide top-six player. With 14 points in his first 18 games, he’s not setting the world on fire but leads the Devils in scoring and should continue to increase his ice time (currently just under 17 minutes per game). He’s listed as the first-line center and is also on the top power-play unit. He looks to be rewarding the Devils for their patience.
Jonathan Drouin (MON): 21%
Montreal’s great start to the season has hit the skids, but they have a new head coach and goalie coach, so it remains to be seen which team is the real Canadiens squad. Drouin is also listed as a left-winger and typically is in that position on a line with Nick Suzuki and Tyler Toffoli. He only has two goals to his name in 21 games but is definitely more talented than that. With 13 points, he’s not too far off a starter’s pace and can be a streaky scorer.
Max Comtois (ANA): 28%
Comtois isn’t a guy I ever thought I’d see leading an NHL team in scoring, but the Ducks are tied for the fewest goals scored to date and just don’t have much offensive firepower these days. He’s a +3 on a team that’s -20, which speaks to a dependable two-way game, and he’s typically good for two or more hits per game. He looks to be a guy that will be patrolling the wing on the Duck’s top line the rest of the season.
Jeff Carter (LA): 14%
The Kings have been surprisingly good this season, and Carter has made a solid contribution to their productive start. He’s also a guy that’s probably not in the Kings’ long-term plans, so he could be picked up by a stronger team looking to make a playoff run. With 12 points in 20 games, he looks to be rebounding from a couple of down years and may still have some good hockey left in him.
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL): 75%
Yes, his ownership is quite high, but it should be 100% as he looks ready to return to the lineup in the next few days. This guy is typically good for 30+ goals and 70+ points in a regular season, so hopefully, you are in one of those leagues where he hasn’t been snatched up yet.
Jakub Voracek (PHI): 47%
Voracek is habitually undervalued in fantasy hockey and should have much higher ownership than 47%. Not a sniper, he nonetheless has posted two 80 point seasons and eight with 50 or more points. He’s typically fairly durable as well, so at the very least should provide excellent depth for your team.
Brett Pesce (CAR): 19%
Another underrated player, Pesce, solidified his role with the Hurricanes, averaging 22:32 in ice time per game. With 13 points in his first 22 games, Pesce is on pace for his best offensive season and is usually a solid +/- player (was +35 a couple of years ago).
Nick Leddy (NYI): 40%
Leddy is another steady player but has posted 40+ points in a season (three years in a row) and is averaging over 21 minutes per night in Long Island. He’s good for a hit per night and is usually a solid +/- player while manning a point on the second power-play unit.
Jonathan Bernier (DET): 12%
Bernier is 32 years of age and playing as well as he ever has for a terrible Red Wings team. He should be at the top of the list for potential trade targets from playoff-caliber teams with his 2.84 GAA and .913 save percentage. Detroit has an abysmal .340 winning percentage, so this is a stash play for depth that could hit the jackpot if he ended up on a team like Carolina or Minnesota.
Jake DeBrusk (BOS): 7%
DeBrusk is off to a terrible start this year, with only four points in his first 14 games. He’s shown offensive upside in the past (he was on pace for 32 goals a couple of years ago) and is still firmly planted in the top six in Boston. The Bruins desperately need second-line scoring, so I can see his ice time staying at the 14-15 minute level.