Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 8 (2022)
The current state of the National Hockey League is a fascinating one to observe. The return of interdivisional play has changed the way most teams execute their game plan compared to a year ago, allowing generational offensive talents like Connor McDavid (C – EDM), Alex Ovechkin (LW – WAS), and Steven Stamkos (C – TB) to dominate through the first two months of the 2022 season. However, it’s not only the experienced players who have proven their value to their team. Young talents such as Kirill Kaprizov (LW – MIN) and Kyle Connor (LW – WPG) have developed quickly to crack the top-15 point leaders.
While it’s always fun to evaluate the talent atop the league at any given time, winning a fantasy hockey league requires the same commitment to success on the waiver wire. Hockey allows roughly a dozen players from any given team the opportunity to produce based on the amount of time they earn on the ice and their surrounding personnel. As a result, there is quite a bit of waiver wire talent available two months into the season. I’ve narrowed it down to a few players who are capable of making an immediate enhancement in lineups, as well as some high-floor players who are flying under the radar in Week 8 of the 2022 NHL season.
Charlie Coyle (C – BOS): 9.3%
Charlie Coyle has yet to produce points as he did in two years for the Minnesota Wild back in 2016 and 2017. The 28-year old skates on Boston’s second-line and second powerplay unit and has looked good, albeit in spurts, ending a three-game point drought with an assist against Nashville on Thursday. It’s been a quiet stretch, but Coyle remains fifth in total points (12) for the Bruins this season, as they are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league. He isn’t equipped with a high-ceiling, but Coyle’s ability to find the goal six times through 20 games is encouraging. Stash him on your bench and view Coyle as a matchup-dependent Utility play moving forward.
Dawson Mercer (C – NJ): 8.1%
Rookie Dawson Mercer has proven to be quite the find for New Jersey, as he has 14 points and is fourth on the team in terms of point leaders. New Jersey fluctuates their performances depending on their opponent, but they have good talent surrounding Mercer on the second line, including Jesper Bratt (RW – NJ). This helps raise his appeal on rosters, as the 20-year old center averages roughly 17 minutes of time on ice per matchup. However, Mercer has not attempted a shot on goal nor contributed on an assist in his last two games, so stash him while he’s in the midst of a slump. Once he regains confidence via assist or goal, Mercer should transfer this momentum for a few games, making him a solid lineup play soon.
Isac Lundestrom (LW – ANA): 1.7%
Former 2018 first-round pick Isac Lundestrom has seen the transformation of the Anaheim Ducks franchise across the last four seasons. In the eighth week, the Ducks are one of the most surprising teams, sitting at third place in the Pacific Division. This is due to their 81 goals, which is the fifth-highest league. However, Lundestrom is buried on the depth chart, skating as the left winger on Anaheim’s third line, and he doesn’t earn additional minutes on either powerplay unit. So why recommend a third-line winger with no powerplay opportunity? Consistent production. That’s why. In his last four games, Lundestrom scored three goals while taking only one or two shots on goal. He’s highly efficient and still earns over 15 minutes of time on ice per night, making the 22-year old a quality asset on fantasy rosters.
Marcus Foligno (LW – MIN): 25.1%
Marcus Foligno is a player that has notably more demand among fantasy managers than any other player discussed up to this point. However, the second-line winger for Minnesota remains available on 25 percent of ESPN league waivers, meaning he is a must-stash player that can be plugged into lineups in most matchups. Foligno has either scored a goal or an assist in five of his last seven games and remains active on both sides of the ice, racking up a couple of shots on goal and blocked shots when countering an attack. The 30-year old skates on the second powerplay unit, which provides a few valuable minutes to earn a point. Grab Foligno before one of the other managers in your league beats you to him!
Oliver Kylington (D – CGY): 11.1%
Another surprise team has been the Calgary Flames. A combination of talented offense and stalwart goaltending has been the recipe for success to this point, allowing a lot of players to step up and contribute. One of these players is Flames’ second-line defenseman, Oliver Kylington. The 24-year old is in his fifth year with Calgary and has solidified a role on the second defensive line and second powerplay unit, which has yielded an assist in consecutive games entering Friday’s big road contest against the Anaheim Ducks. Kylington has developed into a reliable player on the back end for Calgary and offers a high floor because he’s willing to dive in front of pucks. Just note that Kylington has disappeared for stretches this season, so be patient and wait to start him in lineups until another player’s injury or a plus-matchup presents itself.
Vladislav Gavrikov (D – CBJ): 12.4%
Vladislav Gavrikov has developed nicely for Columbus, as he has manufactured 11 assists through 21 games on the Blue Jackets’ second defensive line. The 26-year old defenseman earns 20 minutes of time on ice per night despite not being featured on either powerplay unit, which makes Gavrikov an enticing prospect. The statistic that seals the deal is the number of blocked shots Gavrikov has seen recently, finishing with at least four blocks in two games since last week. He’s a solid floor play in most lineups, with a robust ceiling if he connects on an assist.
Braden Holtby (G – DAL): 16.1%
After a decade in Washington D.C., Braden Holtby has relocated twice in two years. Despite moving across the country to Vancouver and then relocating to Dallas, the 32-year old netminder has played very well behind Jake Oettinger (G – DAL) in the absence of an injured Ben Bishop (G – DAL). Holtby missed a couple of weeks earlier in November but has been vital in both his recent starts against Arizona and Carolina, allowing only three goals in this two-game stretch, resulting in a pair of wins. The beginning of his season was a bit rougher, so his improved play is happening at the right time to warrant acquiring him off of waivers. As long as Holtby is granted more opportunities to showcase his skill set, he’s a fine play in lineups moving forward.