NHL Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week

NHL Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our NHL Waiver Wire series.

The relative inactivity of trade activity leading up to Monday's deadline isn't exactly helping poolies in regard to player transactions. A couple players were moved Wednesday, though it's tough to envision what lineups will look like if most trades haven't occurred. Things will become much clearer by next week to identify who will be positively or negatively affected. But until then, your guess is as good as anyone's.

To keep track of all the latest deals, make sure to check RotoWire for all the latest news and in-depth material.

Since the NHL can't provide us the necessary fantasy excitement, maybe you can find joy in one or more of the waiver candidates listed below:

(Rostered rates/stats as of March 17.)

Forwards

Ryan Johansen, NSH (Yahoo: 28%): It's perhaps puzzling why a center who's posted 35 points in 41 games, including 13 on the power play, and more than 500 faceoff wins this season is still available in about 70 percent of Yahoo leagues, but that's often the case within a loaded position. Johansen was already scoring at a decent rate, yet that's recently been enhanced since swapping spots with Mikael Granlund at five-on-five working with Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene. And it's not like we're recommending someone from a weak attack considering the Preds have averaged four goals a game the last month.

Dylan Strome, CHI (Yahoo: 23%): Since Strome was first mentioned in mid-January — when he was at 2 (!!) percent rostered — he's

The relative inactivity of trade activity leading up to Monday's deadline isn't exactly helping poolies in regard to player transactions. A couple players were moved Wednesday, though it's tough to envision what lineups will look like if most trades haven't occurred. Things will become much clearer by next week to identify who will be positively or negatively affected. But until then, your guess is as good as anyone's.

To keep track of all the latest deals, make sure to check RotoWire for all the latest news and in-depth material.

Since the NHL can't provide us the necessary fantasy excitement, maybe you can find joy in one or more of the waiver candidates listed below:

(Rostered rates/stats as of March 17.)

Forwards

Ryan Johansen, NSH (Yahoo: 28%): It's perhaps puzzling why a center who's posted 35 points in 41 games, including 13 on the power play, and more than 500 faceoff wins this season is still available in about 70 percent of Yahoo leagues, but that's often the case within a loaded position. Johansen was already scoring at a decent rate, yet that's recently been enhanced since swapping spots with Mikael Granlund at five-on-five working with Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene. And it's not like we're recommending someone from a weak attack considering the Preds have averaged four goals a game the last month.

Dylan Strome, CHI (Yahoo: 23%): Since Strome was first mentioned in mid-January — when he was at 2 (!!) percent rostered — he's gone off for 13 goals, nine assists, 54 shots and 177 FW. By no coincidence, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat have operated as his linemates during this entire stretch. Also not a surprise that Strome's up to 11 PPPs on the year. Doesn't seem like Chicago would want to move him considering he's on a reasonable contract and only 25. As long as Strome stays in this advantageous situation, he's a must-add.

Valeri Nichushkin, COL (Yahoo: 21%): On the subject of serendipitous placement, Nichushkin is living out every forward's dream joining Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen on the top line and lead man-advantage with Gabriel Landeskog (knee surgery) landing on IR. And it didn't take long for him to make his mark with a pair of PPPs on Tuesday. The added opportunities combined with major minutes and an existing shorthanded role puts Nichushkin's upside through the roof.

Lawson Crouse, ARI (Yahoo: 16%): Remember when everyone avoided Coyotes skaters because the team couldn't score? That perception has pretty much reversed lately with 35 goals in the last six games. One of the bigger beneficiaries of this boon has been Crouse, who's finally living up to the offensive portion of his first-round status with 32 points overall and eight in six, including a hat-trick Monday in Ottawa, to go with 11 shots and 19 hits. When it comes to complete players, Crouse is one to watch.

Adam Henrique, ANH (Yahoo: 12%): When healthy this season, Henrique has been a force. He missed seven weeks with a lower-body injury and has gone on to register 14 goals, 16 assists and 105 shots in only 41 games. Henrique has also found the scoresheet in 10 of the last 12 while firing 29 pucks on net. The former Devil is well-positioned as a member of the top power play and could reach an offensive peak in Anaheim over a full campaign.

Dylan Cozens, BUF (Yahoo: 4%): Cozens didn't get the most out of his debut as a teenager, though there's been significant improvement in his sophomore year. The WJC gold and silver medalist hasn't been consistent with points, but he notched three helpers against the Isles on Feb. 15 and goes into Thursday with back-to-back assist efforts. Cozens has even recorded a couple 10-minute misconducts in March while seeing his responsibilities expand within a core of young and talented skaters.

Derick Brassard, PHI (Yahoo: 1%): Just when it was thought Brassard would conclude his career due to another injury, he's roared back with points in four of five games. A hip injury kept the 34-year-old out for a sizable chunk of the season, and he's recently taken on more minutes with others sidelined. Brassard has inherited a larger man-advantage spot the last week or so, though he hasn't capitalized there yet. And even when he's not scoring, the 16 shots and 17 hits across seven will suffice.

Arthur Kaliyev, LA (Yahoo: 1%): Viktor Arvidsson's loss has been Kaliyev's gain with the latter taking over the former's second-line and first power-play duties. Only one assist spanning five outings, yet his ice time has significantly jumped — he clocking 20:27 on Sunday. Kaliyev has also been fairly active during this expanded duty with 14 shots, which is at least a positive sign. Arvidsson could be back as soon as Tuesday, so Kaliyev has two games to prove he's worthy of an advanced full-time gig.

Defensemen

Mattias Ekholm, NSH (Yahoo: 26%): When Ekholm was featured in this column at the end of December, he had only produced six points in 31 games. And since the Waiver Wire bump, he's managed 13 from 25 supplemented by 40 shots, 32 blocks, 28 hits and a plus-10. Ekholm's two PPPs is a bit low compared to recent years, though he's clearly the No. 2 blueliner in Nashville behind Roman Josi and skates more than 23 minutes a game.

Nick Leddy, DET (Yahoo: 2%): Leddy's minus-33 might be an eyesore, but that's only one category and a move to a contender would improve that number. He's been a useful contributor most of his career and can still do damage on the power play having accumulated five PPAs this season, including two in the last three outings. And for someone who seems like they've been in the league for like forever, Leddy is only 30 and logs plenty of ice time. Many NHL teams would be happy to acquire his services, so he should at least be on more fantasy players' radars.

Jacob Middleton, SJ (Yahoo: 1%): You may have never heard of Middleton, which is completely understandable with coverage of the Sharks D mainly focusing on Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson. He's only posted three goals and six helpers this campaign, but his main value lies in the physical areas and he's come through with 36 blocks, 28 hits and 16 PIM in the last 11 games. Middleton has seen a boost in responsibility following Mario Ferraro getting hurt and has taken over his roles on the second man-advantage and at even-strength alongside Burns.

Chris Wideman, MON (Yahoo: 0%): Let's get this straight right away: Wideman is only recommended for his power-play output. You'll see him offering 58 shots, 47 PIM, 35 hits and 29 blocks, but the eight PPAs — or half of his total scoring — as the Habs' first-unit quarterback is the reason you're adding him. Should Wideman be shipped elsewhere, his offense would most likely take a hit. If he stays, Montreal's a great system for him to keep doing what he does best.

Goaltenders

Spencer Knight, FLA (Yahoo: 40%): After coming out on the wrong end of a shootout, Knight was the surprise starter Tuesday as Sergei Bobrovsky had been hit in the face with a puck while sitting on the bench Sunday. The highly touted rookie received a bit of work earlier this season, but ultimately was demoted to get more playing time with Bob playing lights out. Since Jan. 21, Knight has appeared more than the veteran and has impressed with a 4-1-1 record and a 1.79/.939 line. Bobrovsky will ultimately retain the Panthers' top job, though Knight should be provided more opportunities down the stretch — starting with at least one of the struggling sides (Golden Knights, Ducks) the this week.

Antti Raanta, CAR (Yahoo: 31%): Raanta's case is similar to that of Knight as both play for strong clubs and have recently earned more chances behind an elite teammate. Frederik Andersen missed a couple games last week and returned Sunday to stymie the Flyers. He's going to be given the bulk of the starts from here on in, but Raanta has earned the right to get more looks as a result of four consecutive solid efforts where he notched three wins along with a 1.49 GAA and .945 save percentage.

(Players to consider from past columns: Nazem Kadri, Nick Schmaltz, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Tim Stutzle, Joel Eriksson Ek, Nico Hischier, Robert Thomas, Lucas Raymond, Michael Bunting, Ryan Hartman, Mikael Granlund, Tyler Toffoli, Nino Niederreiter, Brock Nelson, Jesper Bratt, Cole Caufield, Andrew Mangiapane, Jakub Voracek, Mason Marchment, Rickard Rakell, Anthony Cirelli, Matthew Boldy, Anthony Mantha, Trevor Zegras, Jack Roslovic, Tage Thompson, Ivan Barbashev, Alex Tuch, Jake DeBrusk, Boone Jenner, William Karlsson, Troy Terry, Matt Duchene, Yegor Sharangovich, Evan Bouchard, Jared Spurgeon, Damon Severson, Noah Hanifin, Noah Dobson, Shayne Gostisbehere, Nate Schmidt, Moritz Seider, Rasmus Andersson, Josh Morrissey, Ryan Pulock, Cam Fowler, Mikko Koskinen, Ville Husso, Nico Daws, Kaapo Kahkonen, Jeremy Swayman, Jake Oettinger, Anton Forsberg, Cal Petersen)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Evan Berofsky
Evan Berofsky enjoys writing. Seriously. When he’s not trying to shove hockey miscellany down your throat, he gets his kicks playing tournament Scrabble(TM). If you have anything to say about Evan’s work (or need any hot word tips), feel free to contact him at eberofsky@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter (@evanberofsky).
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