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Fantasy Hockey: Jordan Staal highlights this week's must-add players

Steven Psihogios
·6-min read

Fantasy hockey managers have had to navigate through the NHL’s onslaught of postponed games, but there is some good news on the horizon. Teams that have faced extended layoffs like the Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche (played on Sunday), Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers are tentatively expected to return to action this week.

Obviously in a season like this no game is official until puck drop, but it’s nice to know there is some hope that all NHL teams will be able to play in the upcoming days. With a loaded calendar, including 16 teams scheduled to play four games, here are some of the best waiver wire additions to help you make up ground in a certain category.

Goals: LW/RW Andrew Mangiapane, Calgary Flames (5% rostered on Yahoo)

On a nightly basis, Andrew Mangiapane has been one of the most consistent players for the Calgary Flames. His five-on-five individual expected goals (iXG) mark of 2.77 leads Calgary and his 56.96% Corsi For percentage (CF%) is second best, according to Natural Stat Trick. Mangiapane has potted four goals this season and has been rewarded with more ice-time recently as a result.

In three of his last four contests, Mangiapane has played over 17 minutes of time on ice. This upcoming week, the Flames have a pair of matchups against the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers, two teams that rank in the bottom-10 of the league in goals and shots allowed per game. Even though the man who centres his line, Mikael Backlund, is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, Mangiapane is still someone worth adding if you need a goals boost this week.

Assists: C Jordan Staal, Carolina Hurricanes (34% rostered on Yahoo)

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 11: Jordan Staal #11 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on February 11, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal is a must-add in fantasy hockey. (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

Forget assists, Jordan Staal is the best pickup for pretty much all categories. Over the last 14 days, the veteran forward has scored four goals, six assists, four power play points, owns a plus-six rating, has won 104 faceoffs, thrown a respectable 13 body checks and has blocked five shots. This upcoming week, Staal and the Carolina Hurricanes have four games on the schedule which means there will be lots of opportunities to plug him into your lineup.

Plus-minus: C/LW Joe Thornton, Toronto Maple Leafs (10% rostered on Yahoo)

Joe Thornton is scheduled to make his return to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup on Monday and he’s been practicing on the team’s top line alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, according to TSN. With four games on the schedule this week, including three against the Ottawa Senators, Thornton will be in a prime position to bolster his plus-minus rating. The Senators have allowed the most goals-per-game in the NHL this season.

Power play points: C/RW Jack Roslovic, Columbus Blue Jackets (43% rostered on Yahoo)

In the nine games Jack Roslovic has played with the Columbus Blue Jackets since Jan. 28, the team owns a power-play percentage of 26.1%, the 11th-best mark in the league during that stretch. Prior to Roslovic’s arrival, Columbus’ power play was clicking at just 9.1% through eight games. He’s playing on the team’s top power-play unit and has recorded two power-play points over his last four games. Even though the Blue Jackets play just three games this week, he’s worth an add if your team is struggling to produce on the man-advantage.

Shots on goal: LW Tanner Pearson, Vancouver Canucks (18% rostered on Yahoo)

Tanner Pearson has been putting everything on net lately for the Vancouver Canucks, firing three shots or more on goal in five of his last six games. Pearson is slotted on the Canucks’ first line and he’s seen an uptick in ice-time, playing 16-minutes or more in each of his last three games. Pearson has also registered the third-most shot attempts by a forward on Vancouver this year (226), trailing linemates Nils Hoglander (237) and Bo Horvat (234). The 28-year-old has also been a decent source of hits, supplying 14 body checks over the last 14 days. The Canucks play four games this week, including two contests against the Winnipeg Jets who have allowed the third-highest total of shots against per-game amongst North Division teams.

Faceoff wins: C/LW Roope Hintz, Dallas Stars (43% rostered on Yahoo)

Over the last two weeks, Roope Hintz is tied for the 12th-most faceoff wins in the NHL with 51. In addition to being the middleman on the Dallas Stars’ top power play, he centres the team’s second line with Denis Gurianov and Jason Robertson, a unit that has had success finding the scoresheet lately. Over Dallas’ last five games, the trio has combined for a respectable 12 points. Hintz has also been putting a decent volume of shots on goal, directing 17 shots towards the net over the last 14 days. The Stars have four games this week which means Hintz will be visiting the faceoff dot frequently.

Hits: LW/RW Brandon Tanev, Pittsburgh Penguins (34% rostered on Yahoo)

Brandon Tanev has been a body checking machine for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2021 and his 64 hits are tied for the fourth-most in the league. Tanev has thrown so many checks that he has more than Jason Zucker (35) and Chad Ruhwedel (25) combined, who are second and third on the Penguins, respectively, in that category. I wouldn’t count on much offensive production, but the 29-year-old is on a two-game point-streak right now, so maybe he’s heating up.

Blocked shots: D Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg Jets (24% rostered on Yahoo)

I’m going to recycle the player I wrote about in this category last week. Josh Morrissey has blocked a respectable 12 shots over the last two weeks and he’s still quarterbacking the Winnipeg Jets’ top power-play unit. He’s starting to heat up offensively as he’s recorded two assists in his last two games, including one on the man-advantage. Morrissey’s also a solid source of hits, as he’s supplied six over the last five games. With four games on the schedule for the Jets this week, the blueliner will be a nice addition to your lineup.

Goaltending: G Kaapo Kahkonen, Minnesota Wild (14% rostered on Yahoo)

With the Minnesota Wild scheduled to return to action this week and Cam Talbot still sidelined on the COVID-19 protocol list, Kaapo Kahkonen will assume the team’s netminding duties. The intriguing Finnish goaltending prospect has seen mixed results thus far, owning a .903 save percentage and a -0.567% save percentage above expected through six games played. Kahkonen was stellar for the Iowa Wild in the AHL during the 2019-20 campaign, posting a .927 save percentage and seven shutouts across 34 games played. With three games this week, including two against the Anaheim Ducks who have scored the fewest goals-per-game in the NHL this season, hopefully the 24-year-old can find some success after the extended break.

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