With only about a month to go before the fantasy hockey playoffs kick off, now is the time to make sure to plug any holes or weak spots your roster may have. And, lucky for you, I’ve got a list of ten players – four forwards, four defensemen, two goalies – who can do just that for you.
(only includes players rostered in 50% or less of Yahoo Fantasy leagues; stats listed are after Wednesday’s games)
Best Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Forwards
Kevin Hayes – Philadelphia – C – 49% Rostered
(17 G, 30 A, -9, 15 PPP, 155 SOG, 16 BLK)
Kevin Hayes continues to have a bounce-back year for the Flyers. His 17 goals already are his best mark since 2019/20, and his 47 points are his best since 2018/19. And there are still 28 more games to go. He was held off the scoresheet last game, but he had goals in both of the games before that. He has 17 points in 17 games since the calendar flipped to 2023.
Mikael Backlund – Calgary – C – 20% Rostered
(10 G, 23 A, +16, 2 PPP, 166 SOG, 17 BLK)
Mikael Backlund is a new name for our fantasy hockey waiver wire article. Always a strong late-season player, now might be the time to get him on board your squad. He was pointless last game, but going into it he had a four-game point streak (and six of seven games with points). He’s also a guy who is going to help you in the plus-minus department, as his +16 is tops on the Flames, and his 166 shots on goal are a healthy number as well.
Best Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Defensemen
Ryan Graves – New Jersey – D – 16% Rostered
(6 G, 12 A, +30, 0 PPP, 87 SOG, 98 BLK)
Ryan Graves says hold my beer to Mikael Backlund’s +16 rating. The New Jersey defender currently sits at +30, tied for fourth-best in the NHL. He also gets you really solid blocked shot numbers, and decent shots on goal for a defensive-minded player. While not known for his scoring, he put a goal and an assist on the board on Tuesday, putting him on pace to challenge his career highs in goals and points in his young career.
Sean Durzi – Los Angeles – D – 31% Rostered
(6 G, 21 A, -12, 13 PPP, 83 SOG, 98 BLK)
Los Angeles King Sean Durzi won’t be challenging Graves in the plus-minus department this season, but he’s not without his charm. The second-year player has already doubled last season’s goal total, and equaled the number of points he got in his rookie campaign. He’s also way up there in shots on goal and blocked shots, and his 13 power play points are a really nice touch.
Best Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Goalies
Jake Allen – Montreal – G – 26% Rostered
(12 W, 106 GA, 900 SV, 1 SHO)
Jake Allen has returned to the crease for the Habs, and he’s returned to our waiver wire list. It took him a couple of games to get his feet back under him, but he’s been pretty stellar overall since his return from injury. Since getting back on the ice, he’s gone 2-1-1 with a .911 save percentage. This includes winning his last two games, with the last win being his first shutout of the season.
Casey DeSmith – Pittsburgh – G – 28% Rostered
(10 W, 78 GA, 758 SV, 2 SHO)
Since stepping in as Pittsburgh’s #1 goalie, Casey DeSmith has gone 4-2-1, including winning three of his last four games. For the season he has an ok 3.21 goals against average and a solid .907 save percentage. But in February he has really shone, with those numbers being 2.34 goals against and a .937 save percentage.
Other fantasy hockey waiver wire players worth checking out: Logan Couture, Phillip Danault, Erik Gustafsson, Esa Lindell
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