Tom Wilson leads pickups to targetMarch 13th, 2023
Working the waiver wire is a crucial part of any championship fantasy hockey season. Finding players to work into your lineup every single week that can add points to your total is the No. 1 way you can control the outcome of your matchup.
In this article every week, I’ll be going over players at every position and at different levels of rostership so that you can fill out your fantasy squad with the best players available in your league. Let’s dig in:
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Rostered in 41-50% of leagues: Tom Wilson, RW – WSH (42% rostered)
It’s a tough week for finding waiver wire pickups who will actually crack your starting lineup, with Tuesday (12 games), Thursday (11 games), and Saturday (13 games) all very heavy nights. Enter Wilson, who plays three of his four games this week on off nights (Wednesday/Friday/Sunday) and has a well-established role on the Washington top line.
Those reasons are good enough to warrant picking up any player, but Wilson also provides an obvious floor to his production in leagues that track hits, as he’s averaging 3.3 per game. All told Wilson is an easy click if you’re looking to add some snarl while optimizing your starting lineups this week.
Honourable Mentions: Bryan Rust, RW – PIT (47%) & Brock Boeser, RW – VAN (41%)
Rostered in 31-40% of leagues: T.J. Oshie, C/RW – WSH (34% rostered)
After seeing the reasoning on Wilson above, you can probably guess what has me interested in Oshie this week. The schedule is a big factor to be sure, but Oshie has been on a goal-scoring bender since late February, to boot. Oshie has six goals and 10 points in his last eight games, and he’s also a significant contributor in hits if you’re looking for help in that category.
Oshie’s spot on the Capitals’ top power-play unit appears to be secure, lending a little more credence to his recent point pace even if his even-strength usage changes. Oshie represents the perfect convergence of individual hot streak and desirable streaming schedule this week.
Honourable Mentions: Boone Jenner, C – CBJ (36%) & J.T. Compher, C/RW – COL (35%)
Rostered in 21-30% of eagues: Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW – LAK (24% rostered)
Arvidsson has zero goals and three assists in his last six games, so you can be excused for wondering about his inclusion on this list. But digging a little deeper you can see he has taken four or more shots on goal in every one of those six games, averaging nearly six shots per game. While the results haven’t been there, it’s impossible to blame Arvidsson when he’s putting up shots at a rate superstars like Nathan Mackinnon would be proud of.
It’s a good bet that Arvidsson gets off the schneid this week and if the shots stay prolific, it could be a big week for the diminutive winger. Arvidsson won’t add any off-night games played to your lineup this week, but if you’re looking for a strong addition to hang onto beyond this week in this range, he’s my favorite.
Honourable Mentions: Mason McTavish, C/LW – ANA (21%) & Nino Niederreiter, LW – WPG (30%)
Rostered in 0-20% of leagues: Jakub Vrana, LW – STL (17% rostered)
I’m very interested in Vrana as a pickup that’s flying under the radar at the moment. He has two goals in four games since joining St. Louis at the trade deadline. Vrana has dealt with off-ice issues this season but appears to be highly motivated at the moment, firing 14 shots in his first four outings in a Blues uniform.
Vrana has historically scored goals at a very high rate on a per-minute basis, but has always seemed to find himself pushed down the lineup wherever he goes. The Blues have nothing better to do with the rest of their season than to see what they have in him, and I think there’s every chance he turns in a strong finish to the season as he seeks to make an impression on his new team.
Honourable Mentions: Dylan Strome, C/RW – WSH (19%) & Evan Rodrigues, C/LW/RW – COL (12%)
Rostered in 26-50% of leagues: Torey Krug, D – STL (46%)
Krug won’t be a popular addition this week, as the undersized defender has fallen down the rostership charts this season. But Krug has maintained a majority share of the Blues’ power play time and is averaging a respectable 2.2 shots per game over his last five. In points leagues, Krug is a fair play as a guy who can get you a couple points this week.
As with Vrana above, Krug has a three-game schedule this week but all three come on off nights. If you can find a Montreal or Dallas defender for their Monday/Tuesday back-to-back, you can flip over to Krug for his three games Wednesday/Friday/Sunday and turn your streaming spot into five total games played.
Honourable Mentions: Michael Matheson – MTL (31%) & Rasmus Sandin – WSH (46%)
Rostered in 0-25% of leagues: Cam Fowler – ANA (20% rostered)
Fowler has been on and off this list several times this year. Once again, Anaheim has one of the better streaming schedules this week with a Wednesday/Friday/Sunday three-game, three off-night schedule. Fowler has run hot and cold all season long, but he remains the No. 1 defenseman in Anaheim and the one running the top power play.
Fowler makes a decent points league play as a fifth defenseman you can fit into your starting lineup due to his off nights. I’m not expecting huge things from him but this could easily be another three-point week from him in a clutch spot.
Honourable Mentions: Juuso Valimaki – ARI (11%) & Adam Boqvist – CBJ (8%)
Rostered in 26-50% of leagues: John Gibson – ANA (50% rostered)
Gibson has been quietly terrific for some time now, registering a .929 save percentage since a February 23 win against Washington. He’ll still have some ups and downs, but Gibson is playing at a high level and the Ducks have a non-threatening schedule this week against the Islanders, Blue Jackets, and Canucks.
He is unlikely to get you many wins, but I’m firing him up this week with a surprising amount of confidence given the putrid season Anaheim is putting together. In any league with a high points weight for saves or counting saves as a category, Gibson is very attractive as he’s faced an average of 38 shots per game in this hot stretch.
Honourable Mentions: Pheonix Copley – LAK (50%) & Philipp Grubauer – SEA (38%)
Rostered in 0-25% of leagues: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen – BUF (17% rostered)
Eric Comrie’s recent injury all but assures UPL of a minimum 50/50 timeshare in the Buffalo net moving forward. Buffalo has fallen back in the wild-card race and could soon be looking forward to next season rather than pulling out all the stops on this year.
Either way, Luukkonen has been solid across his last couple of starts and should be the goaltender Buffalo brass is most interested in trying out this year. With a four-game, four off-night schedule this week, Luukkonen has the makings of a solid addition as a third goaltender on your roster.
Honourable Mentions: Akira Schmid – NJD (14%) & Mads Sogaard – OTT (14%)
Nate Groot Nibbelink is the creator of Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey and the originator of the #ZeroG draft strategy. You can find him pontificating about obscure fantasy hockey strategy topics in the Apples & Ginos Discord Server or on Twitter @applesginos.
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