I lost!! I finally lost another week in the SGPN fantasy hockey league, as the evil* NHL editor Ryan Gilbert beat me, knocking me out of the top spot in the league. Time to dust myself off and patch up some holes in my roster with a shrewd pickup or two off of our fantasy hockey waiver wire. Maybe one of the guys on the following list.
*Editor’s note: Up for debate
(only includes players rostered in 50% or less of Yahoo Fantasy leagues; stats listed are after Tuesday’s games)
Best Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Forwards
Kevin Hayes – Philadelphia – C/LW – 47% Rostered
(15 G, 29 A, -9, 15 PPP, 141 SOG, 15 BLK)
Kevin Hayes‘s hot play has continued, as he picked up two goals and two assists since I wrote about him last week. The 30-year-old has been especially hot in January, with six goals and eight assists in only 12 games, despite playing a season-low 16:33 minutes per night. You never know what coach John Tortorella is going to do minute to minute, but Hayes should be a safe pickup. I hope.
Andrei Kuzmenko – Vancouver – LW/RW – 50% Rostered
(21 G, 22 A, +7, 11 PPP, 82 SOG, 11 BLK)
Along with Hayes, Andrei Kuzmenko also makes a return appearance to the fantasy hockey waiver wire column this week. He’s currently riding a five-game point streak, with four goals and three assists in that span. He’s having a superb rookie campaign in the NHL playing on Vancouver’s top line. His 21 goals are second-best on the team, and his 43 points are tied for third.
Best Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Defensemen
Esa Lindell – Dallas – D – 16% Rostered
(6 G, 9 A, +26, 0 PPP, 73 SOG, 93 BLK)
Dallas defenceman Esa Lindell continues to be barely rostered, which is strange to me. He picked up a goal and an assist over the past week, which is a bonus since he doesn’t contribute a huge amount in those categories. However, you should consider adding him to your roster if you need plus-minus help (tied for ninth-best in the NHL), blocked shots, and shots on goal.
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) January 20, 2023
Erik Gustafsson – Washington – D – 48% Rostered
(7 G, 20 A, +11, 6 PPP, 91 SOG, 46 BLK)
Erik Gustafsson, half of Washington’s top defensive pair, is having a rebirth of a season in his first year in D.C. His seven goals and 20 assists have him on pace for by far his best year since his breakout 2018/19, when he tallied 17 goals and 43 assists. And it’s not just the traditional stats where Gustafsson helps you – he’s a solid plus-minus, shots on goal, and blocked shots contributor as well.
Best Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Goalies
Karel Vejmelka – Arizona – G – 45% Rostered
(12 W, 111 GA, 1045 SV, 2 SHO)
Karel Vejmelka won a game! His eight-game losing skid is history now. And, despite playing for the Arizona State ‘Yotes, he’s still a top-12-ranked goalie in fantasy hockey this season. The one benefit for minding the net for the Coyotes is you get a chance to stop a lot of rubber, which Vejmelka has done – his 1045 saves are third best in the NHL this season, and his .904 save percentage is pretty solid.
Sam Montembeault – Montreal – G – 20% Rostered
(10 W, 65 GA, 658 SV, 0 SHO)
Montreal’s #1 goalie Jake Allen is expected to be healthy enough to play again soon, but backup Sam Montembeault has outplayed him this season and may deserve more playing time going forward. Montembeault has gone 4-4 in his last eight starts, with a sparkling .930 save percentage. On the season, his 3.14 goals against and .910 save percentage (20th best in the league) outstrips Allen’s.
Incredible save by Sam Montembeault on David Pastrnak after some slick passing from Patrice Bergeron and Taylor Hall pic.twitter.com/FOywR55IDf
— Bear With Me (@BearWithMe_Pod) January 25, 2023
Other fantasy hockey waiver wire players worth checking out: Matty Beniers, David Krejci, Brady Skjei, Sean Durzi