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Fantasy hockey: Waiver wire options to target this week

A slew of veterans headline this week's slate of fantasy hockey waiver wire targets.

After firing at a point-per-game pace to start the season, Dominik Kubalik should be on your fantasy hockey radar as he looks to get back on track. (Getty Images)
After firing at a point-per-game pace to start the season, Dominik Kubalik should be on your fantasy hockey radar as he looks to get back on track. (Getty Images)

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 number one 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.

Forwards

Rostered in 41-50% of leagues: Dominik Kubalik, LW/RW - DET (47% rostered)

Kubalik has had an up and down season, scoring 25 points in his first 25 games and just three points in his last ten games. In a way, this roller coaster of a season has mirrored his career, where he scored 30 goals in 68 games as a rookie but failed to break 20 goals in each of the following two seasons. I think Kubalik’s most recent stretch, where he’s fired at least three shots in three of his last four games, is indicative of this roller coaster getting back on the track. Detroit has an interesting schedule this week with off-nights on Wednesday and Friday and a Saturday game to boot, and now feels like a very good time to fire Kubalik back up if he’s been dropped in your league and find out where the next stop on this ride is.

Honourable mentions: Andrei Kuzmenko, LW - VAN (43%) & Brock Boeser, RW - VAN (47%)

Rostered in 31-40% of leagues: Mason Marchment, LW/RW - DAL (31% rostered)

Marchment is a tough study at times, capable of 6- and 8-shot outbursts like he generated against the Minnesota Wild on Dec. 29 and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 19, respectively. In his other four most recent games, however, Marchment has just six shots in total, making him one of the harder players to accurately project for fantasy. The good news with Marchment is that he’s still hitting (averaging 1.34/game) and two of his last three games are above his season average for ice time. With that positive trend and a Tuesday/Wednesday back-to-back for Dallas to start this week, I’m willing to give Marchment those two games to show me if he’s going to become a more consistent producer for fantasy.

Honourable mentions: Phillip Danault, C - LAK (31%) & Ryan O’Reilly, C - STL (34%)

Rostered in 21-30% of leagues: David Krejci, C - BOS (24% rostered)

David Krejci’s return to the NHL has been a smashing success, centering Bruins’ superstar David Pastrnak for much of the season and pacing for 71 points through 31 games. Krejci’s ice time has nudged upwards of late as well, with his 19:28 against New Jersey on Dec. 28 the lowest mark of the past four games. Krejci feels like one of the safest points streamers available in a week where Boston plays four games including two off-nights. If you can find a player like Marchment above who plays two times in the first three nights of the week, you can then drop them and pick up Krejci for his Thursday/Saturday/Sunday games and turn one roster spot into five games played for your roster. There are lots of opportunities like that in this week’s schedule so take a look at your roster and figure out how you can maximize those all-important games played this week.

Honourable mentions: Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW - LAK (26%) & Dylan Strome, C/RW - WSH (24%)

Rostered in 0-20% of leagues: James van Riemsdyk, LW/RW - PHI (7% rostered)

James van Riemsdyk is one of fantasy’s best kept secrets currently with ten points in his last nine games and firing shots at an uncanny rate. van Riemsdyk is one of the few Flyers players who has not incurred head coach John Tortorella’s wrath this season and the result is nearly 18 minutes of ice time per game during this hot stretch. van Riemsdyk’s schedule is a little spread out this week with a Monday/Thursday/Sunday setup, but in deeper leagues, JVR is certainly a priority addition if you’re looking for someone with potential staying power in your lineup beyond just this week. Philadelphia has been better offensively than expected and JVR has been more than just a passenger in that arena, positioning himself as an attractive trade deadline target for a contending team with a hole on their power play and top-six.

Honourable mentions: Mason McTavish, C/LW - ANA (16%) & Adam Henrique, C/LW - ANA (8%)

Defensemen

Rostered in 26-50% of leagues: John Klingberg - ANA (42% rostered)

Klingberg has had a miserable season so far with just a 30-point pace while getting supplanted on Anaheim’s top power play by Cam Fowler. But Klingberg’s most recent effort was a 4-shot, 10-shot attempt game and he’s provided a surprising amount of peripherals lately with four hits and four blocks in his last four games. If Klingberg continues to improve his game he could unseat Fowler for that coveted PP1 role as Fowler has just a single assist and five shots to his name in his last five games. Anaheim has some intrinsic motivation to show Klingberg off to playoff contenders looking for a power play quarterback, as Klingberg’s contract expires after this season and Anaheim is unlikely to re-sign him. I expect Klingberg’s deployment to improve as a result and Anaheim is the only team to play four games with four off-nights this week, making him an easy fit for your lineup.

Honourable mentions: Dmitry Orlov - WSH (36%) & Brady Skjei - CAR (31%)

Rostered in 0-25% of leagues: Colton Parayko - STL (13% rostered)

Parayko is a great add at the moment, as his role has increased lately and St. Louis plays four games this week. Parayko is averaging 24:35 in his last six games with three points and 19 shots in that span. Combine that with Parayko’s consistent contributions in the hits and blocks categories and you have the makings of a great streaming option. Parayko has been seeing some power play work of late as well since Torey Krug went down to injury, giving us fantasy managers hope for even more counting stats. All things told, I think Parayko is one of the best adds you can make on defense this week and I’m inclined to think he could stick in your lineup beyond this week if you’re looking for something a little more long-term.

Honourable mentions: Adam Boqvist - CBJ (8%) & Cam Fowler - ANA (13%)

Goalies

Rostered in 26-50% of leagues: Filip Gustavsson - MIN (34% rostered)

Gustavsson has quietly become one of the better backup goalies in the league this season, sporting a 2.34 GAA and .920 SV% on the year with eight wins in thirteen starts. Gustavsson has split starts evenly with Marc-Andre Fleury since early December, and while I’m not sure Gustavsson ever completely overtakes Fleury and starts to command more volume in the Minnesota net, I do have to acknowledge that he’s currently getting exactly half of that opportunity with better numbers than the future Hall-of-Famer Fleury. I’d expect Gustavsson to get two starts this week if the recent trend continues and I’d be happy to get a piece of the Minnesota net as the Wild have won eight of their last ten.

Honourable mentions: Pheonix Copley - LAK (36%) & Antti Raanta - CAR (50%)

Rostered in 0-25% of leagues: Joonas Korpisalo - CBJ (7% rostered)

It’s always difficult to find a confidence-inspiring play down in this range at the goaltender position, but Korpisalo looks to be in line for some starts as he’s gotten the last two in a row and expected starter Elvis Merzlikins has posted truly atrocious numbers so far this season. You can’t expect Korpisalo to be a strong play in terms of his GAA or to put up a ton of wins, but he has a respectable .912 SV% on the season and will undoubtedly get peppered with shots in the Columbus goal. If you’re desperate for a volume play in a deeper league, you can do worse than Korpisalo for this week. The Blue Jackets play four games this week so you can confidently assume that Korpisalo will get two starts and potentially three.

Honourable mentions: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen - BUF (16%) & Samuel Ersson - PHI (2%)

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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