Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 12 (2021)
Hopefully, anyone reading this article is still in the playoff hunt in their respective league(s). A few NHL teams will need to kick it in high gear from this point on to have a shot at the postseason, while some look to have faded away (and some were never in it). With a condensed season, it feels like every factor is magnified. A winning streak could gain a few more points than it would in a typical season, and a day-to-day injury might result in a stud player (like Aleksander Barkov) missing a couple of more games than he typically would. There are many moving parts in a season such as this, and the waiver wire is arguably more important than ever, so 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:
- Washington / Pittsburgh / Nashville / Vegas / Colorado / Minnesota
Teams with three or fewer wins in their last 10 games include:
- Buffalo (zero) / Dallas / St. Louis / Los Angeles / Anaheim
Jared McCann (PIT): 16%
McCann has only played 23 games to date but looks to be hitting his stride lately. He is centering the second line for the Penguins and is also listed on the first power-play unit. He’s only 24 years of age and is on pace for his best offensive season (although he only has to beat 35 points) and should see his ice time increase down the stretch.
Nico Hischier (NJ): 30%
I suggested Hischier a few weeks ago coming off an injury, and history is repeating itself. This time, he suffered a sinus fracture courtesy of a puck to the face but is due back soon. As he’s only played five games this year, it’s difficult to get a read on his level of play. He has been pretty consistent in his first three seasons, scoring at roughly a 53 point pace to date, and is a prime late-season breakout candidate.
Jason Robertson (DAL): 24%
As an early second-round pick, Robertson looks like a steal for the Dallas Stars. After enjoying a dominant fourth season in the OHL (117 points in 62 games), he enjoyed a productive season in the AHL last year with 47 points in 60 games. He is currently fourth in scoring in Dallas, with 22 points in 28 games, and is on the top line with Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski. He’s also on the top power-play unit and is averaging 15:44 in ice time.
Robbi Fabbri (DET): 13%
Fabbri has worked his way onto the top line in Detroit and has possibly also earned a ticket to a playoff team with his production. He’s only 25, so Steve Yzerman may see him as part of Motown’s long-term solution, but another GM may come calling with the right offer. With 16 points in 25 games, Fabbri is a decent start (he’s even +4 on a team that’s -39) and has stud line-mates in Dylan Larkin and Filip Zadina.
Joonas Donskoi (COL): 40%
Donskoi seems to have found a home in Denver, his second season with the Avalanche. Typically flirting with a 40 point season, he already has 24 points in his first 34 games. With a stacked roster, he’s holding down his spot on the third line but is also listed on the top power-play unit.
Connor Garland (ARI): 52%
Garland is a poster boy for working his way onto an NHL roster after being an unheralded, late draft pick. He had a bit of a breakout season last year with 22 goals and 39 points in 68 games but already has potted 26 points in 34 games this season. He’s third on the team in scoring, is averaging 17:51 in ice time, and may be a prime trade asset if the Coyotes end up being sellers at the deadline.
Jonas Brodin (MIN): 22%
Brodin is scoring at roughly a 40 point pace this season, which is a good sign for a guy that hasn’t cracked 30 points in his career. He’s 27 years of age, thought to be the sweet spot for an NHL defenseman finding his game, and is averaging almost 23 minutes per night in ice time. The Wild are playing great hockey as of late, and Brodin should be a solid depth guy at worst.
Adam Boqvist (CHI): 11%
Boqvist is a potentially great dynasty pickup but could be another great depth defenseman down the stretch. With 14 points in 26 contests this year, he’s beginning to find his offensive game and is averaging 17:27 per night as a 20-year-old defenseman. He’s paired with Duncan Keith and is on the top power-play unit. Chicago’s been surprisingly good this year, and Boqvist could finish strong.
Mackenzie Blackwood (NJ): 52%
Blackwood has developed at a slow and steady pace since he was drafted in the second round by the Devils in 2015. Besides one subpar year in the AHL, his stats have been solid, and his talent occasionally flashes. The Devils are still building their roster, but Blackwood should get the majority of the starts the rest of this season and is capable of stealing a few games.
Zucker is back in the saddle for the Penguins after dealing with a lower-body injury. He’s yet to find his groove this year with only seven points in 18 games but has hit the 40 point mark four times in his career (including a 33 goal, 64 point effort in 2017-18). He can be a streaky scorer and might catch fire once he’s healthy again (on a top-five offensive team).