Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 20 (2022)
Every game played after All-Star Weekend has more intense energy surrounding it, as most teams only have 30 games left until the end of the 2022 regular season. As a result, fantasy waiver wires have a continuous carousel of talent available to tap into at certain times. As a result, it’s never a bad time to make improvements to your roster, even if it’s simply tweaking your bench and replacing a roster clogger with a higher-upside prospect.
At this moment, there are a lot of talented teams that are riding multi-game losing slumps. This includes Pittsburgh, Florida, Minnesota, and Edmonton, meaning fantasy managers may get impatient and drop a contributor who has been limited in production during these losses. Conversely, plenty of talent sits on the waiver wire skating for teams in the midst of winning streaks like Los Angeles, Columbus, Boston, and Vancouver. Whether you factor wins and losses into a particular player’s outlook or not, this metric can cause false narratives and perceptions that tarnish valuable players under the guise that they are no longer capable of producing at their previous rate. Yet, this is precisely how you can win in season-long fantasy hockey leagues. All it takes is a couple of waiver wire adds to improve your depth and chances of making a run at securing a playoff berth.
Let’s dive into some of the top waiver-wire assets to acquire entering Week 20 of the 2022 NHL season.
Rostered percentages courtesy of ESPN.
Mikael Backlund (C – CGY): 5.7%
14-year veteran Mikael Backlund continues to be a consistent contributor to Calgary’s offense. The former first-round draft pick in the 2007 NHL Draft does not skate on either powerplay unit, but he centers the Flames’ second-line attack, producing 16 assists through 50 games played. Backlund scores goals, too, but he’s currently riding a seven-game goal drought. Fortunately, Backlund skates on the same line as Andrew Mangiapane (LW – CGY), who leads Calgary in goals (26), making him a massive beneficiary in compiling assists. The 32-year old earns 17 minutes average time on ice and has an assist two straight games while attempting one to three shots on goal. He usually attempts more shots on goal, which leads to multi-assist games, so Backlund has the desired ceiling of a widely available waiver wire prospect. Value him as a solid depth piece that will improve benches. However, he should only be deployed in lineups if necessary at this point.
Nicolas Roy (C – VGK): 1.7%
Another depth piece to upgrade benches is Vegas’ third-line center, Nicolas Roy. The 25-year old is now in his third year with the Golden Knights and has more points (23) through three fewer games than he did in 2021, where he finished with only 15 points. While Roy does not earn minutes on either powerplay unit, he does see usage within the offense, as he has attempted five shots on goal in two of his previous four games played. He ended a four-game point slump with an assist against San Jose on February 20th, which is an encouraging sign for establishing momentum moving forward. Vegas is still one of the best teams in the league, and they’re coming out of a bit of a rough patch, so adding Roy before the team gets going in the final third of the season is a wise decision. He’s available virtually everywhere due to his disappearing act in late January and early February, so if you have a player occupying space on the bench, Roy is a solid replacement. Exercise caution if you’re considering dropping Roy into lineups, as he’s volatile with his production.
Viktor Arvidsson (RW – LAK): 27.4%
Acquiring Viktor Arvidsson is a much more significant challenge due to high demand. However, it’s still worth combing your league’s waiver wire to make sure that Arvidsson isn’t somehow sitting there. After spending his entire career in Nashville, the 28-year old is adapting well on the second-line attack for the Los Angeles Kings this season. Arvidsson is second in total points (34) for the Kings and has scored 15 goals, including a pair of them against the lowly Arizona Coyotes, in his last game on February 23rd. He is a high-volume shooter, attempting at least four in three straight games. Arvidsson is also a walking assist, as he had four consecutive games with an assist before the two-goal outing in Arizona. This type of production doesn’t hit the waiver wire very often, so if Arvidsson is still available, add him to your roster and plug him into lineups with confidence.
Anthony Beauvillier (RW – NYI): 9.9%
The New York Islanders had a horrific start to their season, but they have managed to reverse course in recent games, going .500 across their last four games played. Anthony Beauvillier draws some appeal with this current momentum, as he has two assists in the Islanders’ previous five games. Beauvillier does earn additional minutes on the second powerplay unit, but he usually finds the point column when play is five-on-five. He carries a low ceiling and a low floor but occasionally delivers a two or three-shot game with an assist or a goal, although Beauvillier hasn’t scored in his last seven games played. He goes as the Isles go. Stashing Beauvillier in hopes that New York can sustain a higher level of offense as displayed recently makes rostering him a good acquisition. Still, you’ll want to keep Beauvillier shelved on the bench until he becomes a bit more consistent.
Damon Severson (D – NJ): 19.6%
Rostering defensemen is tricky because it’s a volatile position in terms of production. Chasing hits, blocked shots, and assists is how to pursue defensemen who offer consistent value. Damon Severson fits this mold, as the 27-year old skates on New Jersey’s second defensive line as well as their top powerplay unit. He is a low-volume shooter and doesn’t get above one or two blocked shots or hits per game. However, he makes a living off of producing assists. Severson has 21 assists through 49 games played and just scored his seventh goal of the season against a good Pittsburgh team in a dominant 6-1 win on Thursday. Severson generated six assists across a four-game stretch last week, so make sure to acquire him while he’s still available on league waiver wires. Rostering a reliable player capable of producing assists is a significant advantage, making Severson a good investment for most fantasy rosters.
Artem Zub (D – OTT): 8.3%
Artem Zub has only spent two seasons playing in the NHL, but he’s begun to hit his stride in the last four games, generating three assists to give Ottawa a 2-2 record. The 26-year old does not earn any additional minutes or opportunities on either powerplay unit. Still, he earns over 21 minutes average time on ice due to skating on the top defensive line for the Senators. A low shot volume gets washed out by the consistency Zub exhibits through blocked shots and hits, as he usually winds up with a pair of blocked shots and a couple of hits per game. He’s the textbook, gritty defenseman who can return a value outside of assists and goals. However, his recent burst of assists means that Zub is getting comfortable in the offense, which raises his floor considerably. Stash Zub or deploy him as a safe, low-ceiling defenseman in lineups.
Cal Petersen (G – LAK): 10.6%
The Los Angeles Kings are lucky to have veterans and rising stars filling their depth chart at the goaltender position. 27-year old Cal Petersen is the rising star, as he has recorded five wins across his last six starts in net for the Kings. Petersen has not allowed more than three goals since January 18th and benefits from a talented offense that sees quality production from all four lines. Part of the reason he’s been so successful defending the crease is due to facing low shot volume. Petersen has not racked up more than 24 saves across his last eight starts, which helps him stay fresh and alert when the action arrives in front of the net. Stash Petersen and deploy him confidently into lineups whenever he receives the starting nod from head coach Todd McLellan.