The NHL season is set to start on Thursday night, but the waiver wire in fantasy hockey has already begun. Which players should you target and which players are worth waiting for?
The “fantasy hockey waiver wire week 1” is a weekly article that helps fantasy owners to find the best players to pick up on waivers for their team.
Every week, we’ll scour the waiver wire for under-the-radar players that may aid your team, whether you play dynasty or redraft, and we’ll also throw in some DFS advice. Finally, we’ll take a look at some past go-to fantasy assets that may be overpriced – either in the short or long term – for various reasons.
It’s simple, free, and enjoyable. Play ESPN Fantasy Hockey by starting or joining a league. Register for free!
We’ll defy tradition and start with the prospective loss of an A-plus fantasy performance, given the possibly important and terrible news coming out of Tampa Bay on Monday.
Expectations were lowered
Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov (99.9%): If it’s as awful as it sounds, this is a major setback. According to Erik Erlendsson, Nikita Kucherov’s injury in Saturday’s game against the Capitals seems to be significant. The great striker may have to undergo surgery once again, and he might be out for some time. After missing the whole 2020-21 regular season due to hip surgery, Kucherov exploded in the playoffs, scoring eight goals and adding 24 assists in 23 games. And they won the Cup.
Until we learn more, fantasy owners should send Kucherov to injured reserve and note that Corey Perry, along with Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat, seems to be the immediate substitution on Tampa Bay’s top line (leaving the Killorn/Cirelli/Stamkos combination alone). It’ll be fascinating to observe how the previous Hart Award winner responds to this new task. Perry, who has 926 points in 1264 NHL games, still understands how to contribute. In addition, he’s always good for a few PIM. In 1.9 percent of ESPN.com fantasy leagues, the 36-year-old is currently rostered.
Consider the following suggestions:
Jesse Puljujarvi (53.0 percent), RW, Edmonton Oilers: Puljujarvi, a preseason favorite target of mine, will continue to be discussed in this area until he receives the fantasy recognition he deserves. The 23-year-old is a member of the Oilers’ top line, which also includes Connor McDavid. In his first two games, he had two goals and two assists. He has a fantastic appearance. Given the present makeup of Edmonton’s roster, this young forward should be considered in the vast majority of ESPN.com fantasy leagues.
Kyle Palmieri (27.0 percent), New York Islanders RW: With Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee on a top Islanders’ line and power play, the veteran winger will put up a good amount of points this season. I understand Lee’s rushed post-trade deadline run with his new team was disappointing, but this is a new year, and he’s healthy and present, unlike last spring. In all but the most modest redraft leagues, Palmieri has fantasy worth.
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jeff Carter (26.6 percent): The veteran center is a fantastic short-term fantasy investment, stepping in on the Penguins’ top line while Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are on the mend. Carter and Danton Heinen, who have been filling in for an injured Bryan Rust, have combined for four goals and three assists in three games. Even if Crosby and Rust return soon, the Carter/Heinen duo should be able to contribute on a second scoring line with Jason Zucker. Malkin’s career is expected to go much longer. Carter, on the other hand, is at his best when he’s carrying the weight as Pittsburgh’s starting center. That time has come.
RW Jakub Voracek of the Columbus Blue Jackets (21.6%): In his new top-line/power-play position in Columbus, the former Flyer/once-again Blue Jacket seems to be having a great time. Who could blame him, given that the 14-year veteran (who is still just 32 years old) is skating alongside a newly energized Patrik Laine? Voracek will score roughly 70 points in Columbus this season, the majority of which will be assists. Pick him up if he’s worth anything in your ESPN.com fantasy league.
LW Jonathan Drouin of the Montreal Canadiens (14.4%): Drouin’s rejuvenated presence and performance has been a bright light for the Canadiens amid their slow start. The forward now seems motivated, engaged, and focused after taking a mental health vacation last season to cope with anxiety and sleeplessness, which he’d battled for years. The 26-year-old is on a scoring line with Josh Anderson and Christian Dvorak and has already scored two goals despite the Habs’ overall poor performance. Drouin isn’t likely to be readily accessible in fantasy leagues for a long time.
C Charlie Coyle of the Boston Bruins (9.4%): Coyle is the early favorite to replace departed David Krejci as the Bruins’ second-line center, and he might have a breakout season. Skating alongside Taylor Hall and Craig Smith isn’t the worst job in the world. I’m not rushing to recommend Coyle as a player right now – the lack of power-play chances surely dims his fantasy appeal – but I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach for the next few games. For years, Krejci was an undervalued fantasy asset; we’ll soon know whether Boston’s new No. 2 (for now) behind Patrice Bergeron continues that trend.
C/LW Jacob Peterson of the Dallas Stars (0.8%): To be sure, it was a nice preseason surprise for Dallas. The youngster is now battling on a top-six line alongside Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski, despite not being a slam dunk to make the team out of camp. After quickly acclimating to the NHL game, the former Swedish pro is already a goal up – “It was nice scoring” – and carving out a spot on the top power play unit. Even if Jason Robertson’s healthy comeback pushes Peterson out of a top-six role, the special teams’ minutes will almost certainly remain. This 22-year-old is already a tremendous under-the-radar fantasy asset, thanks to his outstanding hockey IQ. Managers in keeper and deep re-draft leagues should keep a careful eye on the situation.
Yegor Sharangovich, C/LW, New Jersey Devils (14.1%); Viktor Arvidsson, RW/LW, Los Angeles Kings (10.7%); Mikael Granlund, LW/C, Nashville Predators (10.6%); William Eklund, LW, San Jose Sharks (10.6%). (2.2 percent )
Keith Yandle (22.9 percent), Philadelphia Flyers: With just one game under his belt, the experienced puck-moving defenceman has already racked up two assists, one of which came while anchoring the Flyers’ top power play. Yandle isn’t going to play a lot of minutes or block a lot of shots, but as a member of the special teams squad, he’ll put up valuable production stats. In any fantasy league that rewards scoring with an additional skater, the 35-year-old deserves significant consideration.
Every night throughout the season, Barry Melrose and Linda Cohn will provide a postgame analysis and highlight program. ESPN+ is the place to be.
Detroit Red Wings’ Moritz Seider (13.6 percent): So far, the young defender has performed “as promised.” Seider, who skates on Detroit’s second line and No. 2 power play, has three points in his first two NHL games, including a man-advantage assist. This 20-year-old was drafted sixth overall in 2019 and is already a contender for the Calder Trophy. Seider is a must-start in keeper leagues, but he’s also worth a look in deeper re-draft competition.
Bowen Byram of the Colorado Avalanche (19.8%); Noah Dobson of the New York Islanders (7.9 percent )
Boston Bruins’ Jeremy Swayman (27.0 percent): Is everyone still convinced that Linus Ullmark is the Bruins’ starting goaltender? Because Swayman just followed up a strong preseason performance with a near-shutout victory over the Stars in the season opener last week. This young goalkeeper reminds me of St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington in 2019 in that he has been expecting to win every game since last season. Back then, a lot of fantasy managers were hesitant to accept Binnington. If we’re in for another strong performance, it could be worth taking a chance on Swayman as a No. 3 fantasy goalie as soon as possible. A true Boston timeshare isn’t the worst option either.
Dallas Stars goaltender Braden Holtby (9.2%): A healthy Anton Khudobin will cut into Holtby’s playing time, but the latter has been the better of the two active Dallas netminders in the early stages (dehydration difficulties on opening night aside). That is to say, Holtby should compete more. There are still too many talented goaltenders in the Stars’ system for my fantasy tastes – Ben Bishop plans to return this season after recovering from injury, while Jake Oettinger is currently ripping it up in the AHL – but Holtby might start to win me over with another strong performance or two. When the match-up makes sense, he’s at the very least worth a shot in Daily Fantasy.
Cal Petersen of the Los Angeles Kings is also worth mentioning (24.0 percent )
The “nfl fantasy” is a website that provides a list of players who are available in the upcoming week. The site also includes waiver wire news and analysis.
- fantasy hockey waiver wire week 2
- fantasy hockey waiver wire week 17
- fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups
- nhl standings
- fantasy hockey info