Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 13 (2022)
It’s been a fantastic week of hockey with the vast majority of teams fully available to compete against each other. We’re entering the mid-point of the 82-game regular season, which is a new challenge for rookies or others who debuted in the league during the 2020-21 season. While it is a marathon and not a sprint, teams are desperate for wins to generate positive momentum or stay competitive within their division. For example, Pittsburgh is in the midst of a ten-game winning streak under Sidney Crosby (C – PIT), while both Carolina and Toronto enjoy their four-game win streaks. On the other hand, teams like Seattle, Chicago, and Buffalo are quickly sliding down their division due to heavy losing slumps.
Players on all teams offer value in season-long NHL fantasy leagues, so do not dismiss some of these second, third, and fourth-line skaters. Conversely, players on high-powered offenses do not necessarily translate into consistent production assets. With this in mind, let’s analyze a few players that offer intriguing upside on fantasy rosters moving forward.
Rostered percentages courtesy of ESPN.
Travis Boyd (C – ARI): 0.3%
Arizona continues an uphill battle with the league’s second-lowest goal total (70) and highest goals allowed (124), creating a complex winning environment. Digging deep into the Coyotes’ fourth line, one will find 28-year old Travis Boyd. He’s already nearing his career-high in points (20) with 16 points, scoring eight goals in the process. Boyd has racked up three points in two of his last three games, including a goal during each game. Despite being excluded from both powerplay units, he is hot and a primary contributor to Arizona’s offense. He is available in virtually every league, so stash him as his role evolves, and feel free to deploy him as an emergency Utility option.
Michael Rasmussen (C – DET): 0.3%
Admittedly, Michael Rasmussen has much less momentum than Travis Boyd. The Red Wings’ third-line center does take a couple of shots on goal while earning roughly 15 minutes average time on ice this season without the advantage of being on either powerplay unit. He endured a brutal point drought at the end of November, and he does continue to be a bit inconsistent with his scoring. However, Rasmussen does have eight assists, including one in his last game against San Jose. If you have a roster spot available, he is a player to stash off waivers if you’re willing to let a player develop. Rasmussen is a capable player on a team that can score, so he is an intriguing waiver wire prospect to add with over half of the season remaining.
Max Domi (RW – CBJ): 5.5%
The Columbus Blue Jackets are trending in the wrong direction, but their third-line winger, Max Domi, has the proven talent and upside to bank on moving into the latter half of the season. The 26-year old ended a brutal four-game point drought with his eighth goal of the season against New Jersey on Thursday, which ended up being Columbus’ only goal of the game. Domi also earns extended minutes on the second powerplay unit and has a good shot when given the opportunity. He is limited with his minutes, averaging 12 to 13 minutes per night, so he is forced to be efficient. Fortunately, Domi is talented enough to overcome his usage. Domi has a favorable January schedule after Carolina and Florida, so stash him and deploy as a Utility option in the latter half of the month.
Connor Brown (RW – OTT): 23.6%
The most consistent offensive weapon analyzed thus far is 27-year old Connor Brown. He skates on Ottawa’s second-line attack and first powerplay unit, racking up close to 20 minutes average time on ice. He is fourth in total points (17) for one of the least effective teams on offense in the league, scoring just four goals but delivering 13 assists through 25 games. Brown is due for positive goal regression and typically produces an assist once every other game. He is not afraid to block opposing shots either, adding floor appeal if he cannot set up a scoring opportunity. If Brown is still available on your league’s waiver wires, grab him for his assist-upside.
Jon Merrill (D – MIN): 0.6%
There are plenty of defensemen to take a flier on, but Jon Merill is an exciting prospect to consider. The 29-year old has never surpassed 15 points in the ten years he’s spent in the league, so the fact that Merill already has 11 points is noteworthy. While he does not earn extra minutes on either powerplay unit, Merill offers the occasional goal or assist to boost his value. Currently, he’s enduring a three-game point drought, which is reflected in Minnesota’s 5-4-1 record across their last ten games. However, the team is too talented to struggle for much longer, as they showed in a 3-2 win over Boston this past Thursday. He is not much of a shot taker but does tend to earn a blocked shot or two defending the defensive zone, so Merrill has the floor, albeit a low one, to justify stashing for future lineup deployment.
Keith Yandle (D – PHI): 10%
35-year old veteran defenseman Keith Yandle is adapting to his role in Philadelphia after spending 15 seasons between three other franchises. Oddly enough, the Flyers feature Yandle on their top powerplay unit while keeping him on their third-line defense. This unique opportunity affords Yandle lucrative scoring possessions, which is how he has managed to hit double-digit assists (11) in 34 games this season. December started nicely for Yandle, but he has entered a cold patch, accounting for only one assist in his last eight games. The nearly two-week pause in action certainly seems to have negatively affected Yandle, so expect him to shake off the rust and return to delivering assists soon. He is a great buy-low candidate due to his talent and usage.
Kaapo Kahkonen (G -MIN): 6.9%
One of the league’s more impressive relief goaltenders is 25-year old Kaapo Kahkonen of the Minnesota Wild. He has only been afforded eight starts this season for the Wild, yet he has five wins and has allowed just two goals in four straight starts. Kahkonen is typically under heavy duress as well, earning at least 29 saves during this impressive streak, yielding a 3-1 record. Wins are enormous for a goaltender’s success, which is why Kahkonen benefits from the talented personnel skating in front of him. Add Kahkonen off of waivers, offering proven prowess defending the crease.