Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 24 (2022)
Less than two weeks remain until the fantasy hockey playoffs begin. While the NHL will continue its regular season play through the end of April, it’s imperative to tune up rosters while players are still available on the waiver wire. Weekly matchups rely on consistency and availability more than anything else. Even if you’ve already secured a playoff berth, improving the depth on your roster is only a net positive.
Several talented players are heating up in late March who will be tremendous assets in fantasy lineups during the final ten days of the fantasy season. Some are more potent than others in terms of their ceiling, but all seven Week 24 waiver wire prospects possess enough value to bolster confidence and depth while jockeying for playoff seeding. It’s essential to avoid dismissing hits, blocked shots, shots on goal, and goaltender wins, as these are some of the overlooked statistics that separate wins from losses in fantasy hockey. All 32 teams have talented personnel, but nearly all players who have endured point droughts still can turn their play around. You don’t want to miss out or let other fantasy managers roster a player who has captured their momentum.
Without further ado, here are Week 24’s top waiver wire prospects.
Rostered percentages courtesy of ESPN.
Ryan Johansen (C – NAS): 27.4%
Nashville is battling for their own playoff lives in the Central Division. 29-year old Ryan Johansen has stepped up his production on the Predators’ first-line attack, netting an assist in three straight games. Johansen has scored two goals across his previous five games, which is an encouraging sign after a mid-season lull. He’s highly sought after, and for a good reason. Available in over 70 percent of fantasy leagues, check your waiver wires to see if you can still acquire Johansen. He’s lineup-eligible in most matchups.
Mikael Backlund (C – CGY): 5.2%
A considerable stretch of disappointing performances has made Mikael Backlund available nearly everywhere. It’s the perfect moment to add Calgary’s second-line center, who earns minutes on the Flames’ second powerplay unit. The 33-year old typically attempts two or three shots on goal as his baseline while adding a couple of hits. Recently, Backlund has points in back-to-back games and has a favorable schedule with Arizona, Los Angeles, and leaky goaltending in Edmonton. Stash Backlund as a high-value bench piece and deploy him as needed.
Kailer Yamamoto (RW – EDM): 12.5%
Edmonton is so deep that first-line winger Kailer Yamamoto is an afterthought, sitting on 88 percent of fantasy waiver wires. However, the 23-year old winger is exceptionally talented in his own right and has already set his career-high in points (32) with the Oilers this season. Upon closer inspection, Yamamoto has scored a goal in three straight games and has added assists in two of these matchups, accruing immense fantasy value. The number of shots on goal isn’t always high, but Yamamoto benefits from the talented personnel surrounding him on the first-line attack and second powerplay unit. Hit the waiver wire to add one of the best values on the Week 24 slate.
Jakub Voracek (LW – CBJ): 15.7%
Jakub Voracek has been consistent with his ability to produce points, making him an attractive option on the waiver wire. The 32-year old spent three seasons in Columbus to begin his professional career, followed by a decade in Philadelphia, where he flourished with several 60-plus point seasons. His prime might be behind him, but Voracek has been hot lately, assembling a three-game point streak with at least a couple of shots on goal or more per matchup. Columbus is behind Washington a considerable amount but not eliminated, so expect the grizzled veteran to continue leading the Blue Jackets in assists (42) moving into the weekend. Voracek can be deployed in most lineups and is also a great depth piece on fantasy benches.
Ryan Graves (D – NJ): 22.2%
Ryan Graves has been an excellent addition to the rebuild in New Jersey. The 26-year old defenseman earns minutes on the second-line and is active on the boards, stacking hits and blocked shots in most games. Graves also can score and dish assists, collecting three points in a two-game stretch against Edmonton and the New York Rangers earlier this week. New Jersey is another team unlikely to make the postseason, but that’s irrelevant here. Graves has the ability and usage to be an asset in lineups down the stretch. Stash him off the waiver wire if he’s still available.
Artem Zub (D – OTT): 8.5%
Artem Zub finally ended his point drought against Winnipeg with his 15th assist on Thursday. The 26-year old earns his minutes on the Senators’ top defensive line and, as a result, receives a lot of exposure to collecting smaller amounts of points. This is reflected in the three to four hits and blocked shots Zub finishes with against opponents. He disappears from the point column for long periods, which is why he’s currently available in so many leagues. However, if you have a bench player who has failed to return value, dropping him in favor of Zub may be worth a shot. He’s more of a bench asset than a lineup-worthy prospect unless in emergency scenarios.
Anton Forsberg (G – OTT): 10.1%
Ottawa has been hard-pressed to go on winning streaks all season, but their goaltending has not been to blame as of late. 29-year old Anton Forsberg has surrendered two or fewer goals in three straight starts, resulting in two wins for the Senators in the past week. Generally, Forsberg is reliably defending the crease, and any more than three goals is a rarity. Forsberg gets a lot of starts and is underrated on a team in need of personnel. Add him onto your bench and deploy as needed with confidence.