Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire: Tips to boost your team for the final week
Special to Yahoo Sports
So you’ve cleared the first hurdle of the fantasy playoffs. But don’t get too overconfident. Things may be going well this week, but there are still three days remaining, a significant period where almost anything can happen. Stay focused and be prepared.
Kudos if you make it through to the finals. Commiserations to those who end up falling short, but well done in getting this far nonetheless.
If you’re looking to win the race, here are some recruits who could push you over the line.
(Rostered rates as of Mar. 31)
Brock Boeser, VAN (Yahoo: 52%)
2023 has been very good to Boeser in the form of 32 points and 82 shots across 38 games. He regularly pairs with J.T. Miller at even strength and finds himself on the top power play, where he’s registered 15 points on the season. Boeser has also excelled in the second half of this month with four goals, seven assists and 25 shots. The dreaded Vancouver plus-minus may become an issue, though that’s easily offset by significant offensive gains. Go check if Boeser is still available.
Sammy Blais, STL (Yahoo: 33%)
What a difference a change of scenery has made for Blais. From averaging less than 10 minutes and only producing five assists in 40 contests with the Rangers to a top-six role back with the organization where he spent his first four seasons and won a Cup in 2019. He debuted with the Blues on Feb. 11 and has accumulated eight goals, 10 assists, 31 shots and 99 hits. Blais has been especially busy during the last 11 games, reeling off 15 points and laying out 53 opponents. Don’t overthink this — just add him.
Calle Jarnkrok, TOR (Yahoo: 13%)
While the previous recommendation benefited from moving to a familiar location, Jarnkrok has seen his potential skyrocket thanks to a five-on-five partnership with an elite player, who just so happens to be Auston Matthews. And the other member of that line is also uber-talented, so let’s not forget about Mitch Marner. But let’s go back to Jarnkrok. Since teaming up with the dynamic duo, he’s put up six points, 11 shots, and eight hits in eight outings. Doesn’t sound like anything outstanding, yet there’s the opportunity for some nice totals if the placement holds.
Jack McBain, ARI (Yahoo: 11%)
McBain fits a similar recent fantasy profile to Blais, though a little lighter in the puck-on-net frequency while adding faceoff proficiency. The 23-year-old only managed 12 points during his first 63 games but has turned it around with 10 from the last 13, supplemented by 16 shots, 83 faceoff wins and 55 hits. McBain probably doesn’t get as much attention as Blais due to the latter’s linemates carrying better track records and the relatively weak Arizona attack beyond their top line. That shouldn’t stop you from giving McBain a chance, especially if you need secondary category help.
Blake Coleman, CGY (Yahoo: 11%)
Coleman has spent most of the year on the third unit but has received a taste of the top six in the last two weeks. He’s taken advantage of the situation by registering three goals, two assists, 12 shots, 14 hits and six blocks. Coleman is logging close to 17 minutes a night, and that’s without any power-play activity — though he’s potted a pair of shorthanded markers. He’ll be key for the Flames down the stretch and could be a solid addition to your squad.
Joel Farabee, PHI (Yahoo: 7%)
The Flyers are loaded with young talent up front, including Farabee. He’s displayed flashes of brilliance during his brief NHL career, though there’s been a general lack of consistency when it comes to production. There was a two-month period from mid-January to mid-March where Farabee only recorded two assists, yet he’s thankfully recovered to the tune of seven points and 15 shots. He should also garner more fantasy coverage as he spends most of his time on Philly’s lead line for both even-strength and the man-advantage.
Marcus Johansson, MIN (Yahoo: 5%)
While with the Caps, Johansson was primarily a power-play specialist, with 13 of his 28 points originating there. Since arriving in Minnesota, he’s compiled a more rounded resume by totaling three goals, nine helpers — including three PPAs — and 27 shots. Johansson has also worked well with new linemates Joel Eriksson Ek and the on-fire Matthew Boldy. If this arrangement can be maintained, he can provide significant value.
Vladislav Namestnikov, WPG (Yahoo: 2%)
Winnipeg hasn’t looked the greatest of late, and that’s resulted in frequent roster swaps. Their latest forward incarnation has them loading up on the first line with Mark Scheifele, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor and following with Namestnikov between Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler. The Russian had mainly been a non-factor on the Bolts, and a move to Manitoba initially generated positive results as he tallied five points from the first four matchups before a lone assist from the next nine. Even without the scoring, Namestnikov is well-positioned and active with almost two shots and hits per night.
Owen Power, BUF (Yahoo: 47%)
Power’s stats in his first season may not be as impressive as one would’ve hoped from a first-overall selection, yet he’s continuing to progress and already manages a heavy workload. The five assists and 16 shots across eight games still represent a decent haul. During that same stretch, he’s supplied a bonus 15 blocks while skating over 25 minutes a night. The Sabres remain in the playoff hunt, so their bigger names — including Power — will be motivated to do as much as possible to help the cause.
Jeff Petry, PIT (Yahoo: 46%)
Petry has endured his fair share of injury issues and just came back from a five-game absence on Tuesday. In that outing, he immediately returned to form by recording a PPA, three shots, two blocks and a hit in 24:26 — with 3:13 of that coming while up a man. Even at 35, Petry is being asked to operate in a lead role, and he’s responded by providing solid fantasy assistance in several areas. Barring another physical setback, expect him to keep producing.
Filip Hronek, VAN (Yahoo: 44%)
You don’t normally see a mid-20s blueliner enjoying a career campaign getting dealt to another non-contender. It may have seemed puzzling at the time, but Detroit cleared Hronek’s contract and netted a first and second-rounder in the process. The Canucks have long worked without a reliable second offensive defender behind Quinn Hughes, and Hronek should be able to fit the bill. He’s only notched a helper during his brief time in Vancouver, though he’s averaged 24-plus minutes and participates in all situations.
Ryan Pulock, NYI (Yahoo: 22%)
Even when Pulock doesn’t score, he’s adept at contributing elsewhere. Take his four most recent matchups, where he’s been held off the scoresheet but still chipped in eight shots, eight hits and nine blocks. Pulock also lines up on the Isles’ backup power play and has contributed five points there — including a PPG a week ago in San Jose. While he’ll get you some offense, there’s significantly more value in his cross-category output.
Jaroslav Halak, NYR (Yahoo: 17%)
Igor Shesterkin endured a couple of mini-slumps, though he’s been outstanding in his last nine appearances, winning seven of them while posting a 1.88 GAA and .940 save percentage. Even if you include those brief downturns, there was no question as to his No. 1 status. But as we approach the end of the regular season, there’s a need to give the reigning Vezina holder more time off to prepare for the playoffs.
At the same time, the Rangers still want to improve their positioning to earn home ice. Halak has provided a strong veteran presence and has looked solid of late with victories in two straight, including a shutout over Nashville. We’re not saying he’ll receive more starts than Shesterkin, but there should at least be a couple favorable matchups behind the league’s fifth-ranked D.
Alex Nedeljkovic, DET (Yahoo: 13%)
Many believed the Red Wings got a steal when they acquired Nedeljkovic from Carolina after he starred as a rookie. He wasn’t necessarily impressive during his first year in Motown but still logged 59 games and produced four shutouts. This season didn’t start well with a 4.09/.880 line from the first two months, which directly led to an extended AHL stay. It wasn’t until last week that Nedeljkovic was summoned, and he’s already seen action in four contests. His most recent numbers are promising, and a big win over Carolina on Thursday projects him to continue starting with Ville Husso still injured and Magnus Hellberg struggling.
Players to consider from past columns: Martin Necas, David Krejci, Dylan Cozens, Matty Beniers, Robert Thomas, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jeff Skinner, Andrei Kuzmenko, Nick Schmaltz, Logan Couture, Kevin Hayes, Barrett Hayton, Dawson Mercer, Mason McTavish, Dylan Strome, Lucas Raymond, Filip Chytil, Bryan Rust, Ryan Hartman, Jared McCann, J.T. Compher, Mikael Backlund, Anthony Beauvillier, Seth Jarvis, T.J. Oshie, Alex Killorn, Boone Jenner, Scott Laughton, Brandon Hagel, Gabriel Vilardi, Phillip Danault, Jordan Eberle, Ivan Barbashev, Tom Wilson, Viktor Arvidsson, Eeli Tolvanen, Anton Lundell, Ondrej Palat, Owen Tippett, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Jason Zucker, William Karlsson, Tyler Bertuzzi, Jakub Vrana, Kirill Marchenko, Brandon Montour, Cam Fowler, Evan Bouchard, Dmitry Orlov, Shayne Gostisbehere, Noah Hanifin, Vince Dunn, Rasmus Sandin, Bowen Byram, Juuso Valimaki, K’Andre Miller, Adam Larsson, Samuel Girard, Mattias Ekholm, Sebastian Aho, Mike Matheson, Janis Moser, Travis Hamonic, Vitek Vanecek, Martin Jones, Karel Vejmelka, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Stuart Skinner, Pheonix Copley, Semyon Varlamov, Akira Schmid, Mads Sogaard, Philipp Grubauer, Joonas Korpisalo
Source: Yahoo Sports