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Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Tyler Bertuzzi, Tom Wilson, Ondrej Palat (Week 15)

Jan 19, 2023
Tyler Bertuzzi

Tyler Bertuzzi could be a nice complementary piece down the stretch.

It might be Week 15 and well into the second half of the NHL fantasy hockey season, but the waiver wire doesn’t have a calendar.

It remains as important as ever, so let’s check out some names worth considering off the wire for a stretch run toward the playoffs!

*Rosterships courtesy of ESPN

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NHL Fantasy Hockey Week 15 Waiver Wire Advice

Tyler Bertuzzi (LW, RW – DET): 44.7% rostered

A pair of hand injuries have limited the Red Wings’ Tyler Bertuzzi to just 14 games played this season, and so far, the production has not been there.

Bertuzzi has notched just one goal and five points in those 14 contests with an unspectacular 28 shots, 14 hits, four penalty minutes, and a minus-five rating. Indeed, that type of production is nothing to write home about.

There are silver linings, however. For one, Bertuzzi remains the Wings’ No. 1 left-winger, skating alongside captain Dylan Larkin on the top line and the top power-play unit. Secondly, we need to look at the track record.

Last season, the nephew of former NHLer Todd Bertuzzi registered a hefty 30 goals and 62 points across 68 games. The gritty 27-year-old also collected 47 penalty minutes and 14 power-play points despite missing 14 contests. He’s collected at least 21 goals in his last three full NHL seasons with an average of 0.74 points per game in that time, a 61-point pace across a full 82-game NHL schedule.

His shot volume this season is down to two shots per game compared to 2.65 per game last season. It’s clear he hasn’t been able to get up to speed due to a pair of long-term injuries suffered to the hand, but Bertuzzi can score goals and rack up penalty minutes while providing solid production in the hits and power-play points department.

If he can hit his stride in the second half, he could be a nice complementary piece to your fantasy roster — for free.

Tom Wilson (RW – WSH): 25.3% rostered

This one’s a head-scratcher. Of course, an ACL injury delayed the start of Wilson’s season to January, as he’s appeared in just five games to this point. He only has one point (a goal) in that time, and he’s a minus-four; however, let’s not kid ourselves — this guy is a cross-category fantasy monster.

It may take some time to get up to speed after a lengthy rehab, and the goal-scoring might not get back to par this season. That said, he’s still delivering in the peripheral categories in his small sample this season.

In five games, he’s collected six penalty minutes, 10 shots on goal, and a whopping 24 hits, or 4.8 per game. If your league counts hits, he’s a potential gold mine already.

The Capitals have had their lines in a blender since Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom returned to the lineup recently, but right now, the power forward is skating alongside Backstrom on the Capitals’ second line. With the team near full health, he won’t get first-unit power-play time but at least some second-unit reps.

Last season, Wilson was one of fantasy hockey’s most valuable cross-category players. He recorded a career-high 24 goals and 52 points, 98 penalty minutes, a plus-13 rating, 151 shots on goal, 10 power-play points, and a massive 240 hits across 78 contests. Every single fantasy team on the planet wanted this guy on their roster.

While the scoring upside might be limited, for the time being, Wilson remains a near must-add in fantasy hockey.

Ondrej Palat (LW – NJ): 42.2% rostered

Notice a theme here? Yet again, we have a player that’s missed significant time this season and could significantly upgrade your fantasy roster.

A groin tear has cost the Devils’ Ondrej Palat more than two months of action this season and limited him to 12 games. In those 12 contests, the former Lightning forward has notched three goals and five points while he’s managed just two assists in six games since returning from his injury.

As always, let’s look at the bright side. Right away, he’s a monster in the hits category with 30 of those on the season, or 2.5 hits per game. Second, on a very good New Jersey hockey team, he’s likely to be well into the plus side on the plus-minus scale. He’s plus-two in his small sample this season.

That said, Palat is seeing his role increase as he gets re-acclimated to the speed of the game. He’s now skating alongside Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt on the Devils’ top line. He might be on the second power-play unit, but that could always change, as Tomas Tatar’s two power-play points on the first unit aren’t getting it done.

Keep in mind Palat signed a lucrative five-year, $30 million deal with the Devils in free agency this summer. The organization will do everything it can to put him in a position to succeed. You don’t pay a winger $6 million annually to play in the bottom six.

Palat has averaged 0.67 points per game in his career. He’s also been known to rack up plenty of hits, an attractive plus-minus, and quality power-play production when given the opportunity. He skated 17:09 against the Sharks his last time out, notching an assist, two shots, five hits, and a plus-two rating. That’s the type of player this guy is.

Like Bertuzzi, he will not be your best player but rather a quality depth piece on your fantasy roster.

Kevin Hayes (C – PHI): 37.2% rostered

I included Hayes in this piece earlier in the season when he was closer to 15% rostered, but the fact he’s still just 37.2% rostered forced my hand to bring him back for another spin.

I don’t quite get it. Sure, Hayes plays for a bad Flyers team, but that doesn’t mean his production is bad. I mean, he’s notched 13 goals and 40 points in 44 games. Among players that have played in at least 40 games this season, Hates’ 0.91 points per game rank 56th. For context, that’s tied with J.T. Miller, Mathew Barzal, Drake Batherson, Robert Thomas, and Elias Lindholm and ahead of Filip Forsberg, Mark Scheifele, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Patrice Bergeron, for example.

Points aren’t everything in fantasy, but they’re a heck of a start. He’s also notched a healthy 13 power-play points and registered a solid 125 shots on goal, good for 2.84 shots per game. Hayes isn’t a complete disaster with 31 hits in those 44 games, 15 penalty minutes, and a palatable minus-six rating on a club sporting a -18 overall goal differential.

Clearly, you could do a lot worse than Hayes on your fantasy roster. He’s certainly doing enough on a cross-category basis to warrant strong waiver-wire consideration.

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