Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 14 (2021)
I imagine that if you want to bump into an NHL GM, a good tactic to employ would be to hang out at the local shopping mall on Christmas Eve. It seems to take a hard deadline to motivate these guys into picking up the phone and making some deals. A few trades did go down, although factors such as Covid-19 and the upcoming expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken may have limited the action somewhat.
Many of the players I’ll suggest in this article were either moved or will have more opportunity due to a teammate being moved. It’s been an interesting year, and some of the storylines will be intriguing (especially Taylor Hall in Boston), but many less-heralded players now have a chance to reset and finish the season in strong fashion. 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 / Pittsburgh / NY Islanders / Florida / Nashville / Colorado
Teams with three or fewer wins in their last 10 games include:
- Calgary / New Jersey / Columbus / St. Louis / Los Angeles
Nico Hischier (NJ): 24%
This guy is due for a break (as far as health goes, at the very least). He was just getting his sea legs after a long injury rehab when a puck hit him in the face causing a sinus fracture. While it’s hard to make a case for a guy with three points in six games, this guy was the first overall pick for a reason and has undeniable talent.
Carl Soderberg (COL): 3%
Soderberg has the best of both worlds in that he is going to an offensive powerhouse in Colorado and has also played there recently, so he shouldn’t have any issues blending in with the players or system. He’s hit 44 points or more four times in his career and is currently slotted on the second line with Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky.
Anthony Mantha (WAS): 56%
Mantha could explode in Washington, although it may take a few days or weeks to scrub the losing off his psyche. He’s moved from a bottom-four offensive team to a team tied for first in the league (with Colorado) and from 26th to second in the standings. He looks like a perfect fit on the second line with two underrated players, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. He once scored 57 goals in 57 games in junior and now has one of the best setup men in the league as his center. Jump on this guy!
Nick Foligno (TOR): 28%
The quarantine period in Canada was reduced from 14 to seven days, so Foligno might still be able to help your team this year. This guy can do it all, as evidenced by his career stats of over 2000 hits, more than 200 goals, and close to 500 points. Toronto is loaded up front, and Foligno should enhance either of their first two lines and would be playing with two other talented offensive players in either case.
Jesper Bratt (NJ): 27%
With the recent departures of Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac, Bratt should see an increase in ice time (currently 16:02) and opportunity going forward. He has a chance (almost a certainty) to play with a talented young center, whether it’s Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, or Pavel Zacha, and he’s second on the team in scoring with 25 points in 35 games.
Jeff Carter (PIT): 19%
Yet another cellar dweller refugee, Carter now finds himself on the ninth place Penguins (with a top-three offense). He’ll likely be the second-line center until Evgeni Malkin returns but has right-wing eligibility and would look good with either Malkin or Sidney Crosby as his center. He is 36, so you may want to curb your enthusiasm somewhat, but it will be interesting to see what he has left in the tank now that he’s on a very good team.
Brandon Montour (FLA): 5%
On paper, this looks like a great move for Florida, as they only had to surrender a third-round pick to acquire Montour. He’s yet to break out in the NHL but scored 99 points in only 118 games in the AHL, a great indicator of potential success. Florida has quietly become a great story this season and is currently eighth in the standings and seventh in goals scored. With the season-ending injury to Aaron Ekblad, Montour has an excellent opportunity to play big minutes and contribute offensively.
David Savard (TB): 8%
It might be a stretch to expect much offense out of Savard as he’s only reached 30 points once in the NHL, but he could be a solid backup on your team if plus-minus is one of your league’s scoring categories. He’s currently paired with Victor Hedman, which should help his stats and ensure plenty of ice time.
David Rittich (TOR): 17%
Big Save Dave didn’t play much in Calgary this year, as the team brought in Jacob Markstrom to be the lead dog. While his stats are pretty solid, Rittich can be streaky (even by goalie standards) and could easily get on a roll in Toronto considering Freddie Anderson’s injury and Jack Campbell‘s thin resume. If you have a shot at the starting goalie with the third-place Leafs, you have to strongly consider that.
Sam Bennett (FLA): 2%
I can’t think of a guy that needed a fresh start more than Bennett, and he might have hit the jackpot in Florida. Known as a tremendous playoff performer, Bennett just couldn’t get untracked during the regular season in Calgary. He scored 155 points in 128 junior games and was the fourth overall selection in 2014, but never hit 40 points with the Flames. He’s a consistent hitter, has scored at a 50 point pace in the playoffs, and could erupt if he made it onto the top line with the Panthers.