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Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 23 (2022)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Mar 17, 2022
Yanni Gourde

The NHL schedule is accelerating at a lightning pace. Mid-March means the intensity of every single game increases with the end of the regular season looming on the horizon. This is evident in the shuffling atop each of the four divisions, as every division leader has at least three losses in their last ten games. Arizona and Montreal are a couple of uninspiring teams that have experienced late-season surges amongst their offense, showing how teams can evolve throughout an 82-game season.

Fantasy hockey waiver wires continue to offer prospects worth rostering heading into Week 23. I’ve accounted for usage, upside, and availability to narrow the waiver wire to seven players. These are all quality assets to add and strengthen lineups or benches heading into the fantasy playoffs. So let’s find out who to target on the waiver wire this weekend!

Rostered percentages courtesy of ESPN. 

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Center

Yanni Gourde (C – SEA): 15.2%
It’s rare to find the point leader for an NHL team on 85 percent of fantasy league waiver wires this late in the season. Nevertheless, Yanni Gourde has scored 14 goals and 22 assists to lead the Kraken, and he’s entering this weekend with a five-game point streak intact. Gourde has scored goals in back-to-back games against Montreal and Tampa Bay, so he’s talented enough to overcome any opponent. Gourde earns additional minutes on the second powerplay unit, but his opportunity on the first-line attack has finally yielded consistent production. Gourde is a quality asset to target on the waiver wire and can be deployed into most lineups moving forward.

Jeff Carter (C – PIT): 17.9%
Despite centering Pittsburgh’s third-line attack, veteran Jeff Carter is sixth on the Pens in total points (36) and continues to produce late in the season. The 37-year old compiled four points in a recent three-game stretch and adds an occasional hit or blocked shot on top of his usage in the offensive zone, making Carter a solid depth acquisition off of waiver wires. He has only scored one goal since February 13th, while his shots on goal have slowly tapered off. Carter should only be deployed into lineups in emergency fill-in scenarios but provides good insurance on the bench.

Wing

Tanner Pearson (LW – VAN): 27.6%
Vancouver has a solid offense, and Tanner Pearson is an integral piece of it, producing three points in his last two games. The 29-year old earns minutes on the Canucks’ first-line attack and second powerplay unit, allowing him to benefit from skating alongside J.T. Miller (C – VAN). Pearson has increased his shots on goal and consistently finds himself delivering or receiving scoring opportunities. He is highly coveted and only on 72 percent of waiver wires, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check. This prospect is matchup-proof and used heavily on a good offense, so add Pearson without hesitation if he’s still available.

Kailer Yamamoto (RW – EDM): 6.3%
Kailer Yamamoto is one of the forgotten players in Edmonton’s offense. The 23-year old winger skates on the Oilers’ first-line attack alongside perennial All-Star Connor McDavid (C – EDM) and earns additional minutes on their second powerplay unit. Yamamoto is heating up at the right time and is available to add in 93 percent of fantasy leagues. He has scored a goal in three straight games, adding an assist during two of these matchups to yield five points across the last three games played. Yamamoto endured a long point drought, but he’s turning his play around, so add him off the waiver wire before his demand rises. Yamamoto can be deployed into lineups as needed.

Defense

Damon Severson (D – NJ): 29.1%
New Jersey is yet another bottom-feeder who still manages to roster a few players capable of generating good offense. Their top defenseman is Damon Severson, who earns minutes on the first-line defensive pairing and the Devils’ top powerplay unit. At 27 years old, Severson has made a living in New Jersey his entire career and has 33 points due to solidifying his role within the offense. He has a 3:1 assist to goal ratio and is enduring a three-game point drought, so check your waiver wire to see if an antsy fantasy manager dumped him. However, Severson is worth holding onto, so add him onto the bench as a comfortable insurance policy.

Brady Skjei (D – CAR): 7.3%
This weekend, Brady Skjei is a quality defenseman sitting on plenty of fantasy waiver wires. The 27-year old earns his minutes on the second defensive pairing and consistently puts up two to four shots on goal per matchup while adding a pair of hits and blocked shots in the defensive zone. This is all the quality production you want to see consistently from a defenseman like Skjei on one of the league’s best teams. Skjei also has an assist in two of his previous four games to hit his ceiling every other matchup. So stash Skjei and deploy him in lineups against lesser opponents.

Goalie

Antti Raanta (G – CAR): 7.5%
The eight-year veteran netminder has been good when called upon in Carolina this season. Antti Raanta has surrendered two or fewer goals in four consecutive starts, including a shutout against Colorado on March 10th. Raanta is second fiddle to Frederik Andersen (G – CAR), who was awarded a massive contract to star in the net for the Hurricanes this year. Still, Raanta has played 18 games and has ten wins with a crispy 2.29 GAA. He’s one of the best netminders available on the waiver wire this weekend, so drop another roster-clogging player and add Raanta.

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Matthew MacKay is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

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