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Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups ahead of Week 6

·8-min read

By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Fantasy hockey has been thrown for a loop because of cancellations and late switches. Daily formats haven't been affected as much since substitutions or additions can be made as news comes in. But for weekly leagues where lineups are frozen on first puck drop or first player game, things have gotten a little hectic.

You're not just up battling an opponent, but you're also up against the unknown. And predicting when a team or set of players will return has become a pointless exercise due to all the unknown factors. Honestly, you'd be better off guessing lottery numbers (may I suggest 2, 7, and 10?) or the winner of the 2045-46 NHL scoring title (hint: his last name rhymes with McWavid).

With all this in mind, it's important to check the latest player news on RotoWire along with our hockey material to set your lineups and manage your rosters.

Here are more candidates for immediate recruitment. Like last week, we're trying to limit players from teams affected by protocol-related delays, although things may change by the time you read this.

Also, congrats to Jason Chen for winning 2021 FSWA Hockey Writer of the Year!

Yahoo! Rostered rates/stats as of Feb. 11

FORWARDS

Dustin Brown, LA (38 percent)

At 36, it would only be natural to damper expectations on Brown. After all, his points decreased from 61 to 51 to 35 heading into this season. But the veteran is leading the Kings in goals (six), power-play markers (five), hits (24), and plus-minus (plus-4). The forward lineup is mainly composed of youth, but old folks like Brown and Anze Kopitar keep proving how valuable they are both as mentors and as fantasy assets. (NOTE: LA's game against Minnesota on Saturday has been postponed.)

Jack Roslovic, CLS (33 percent)

Roslovic was mired in the bottom-six for most of his tenure in Winnipeg, so it must be exciting to start his Columbus career as the No. 1 center. The local kid went scoreless in his first two games but has since settled in with two goals and five assists in the last five. He had never really received much NHL power-play time, but is now part of the Blue Jackets' first group and has supplied two PPAs. There's a chance Roslovic doesn't remain the lead pivot and his output most likely will taper off, but he's a worthwhile add as long as he's sufficiently involved in scoring opportunities.

Jordan Staal, CAR (28 percent)

With how stacked the Canes are up front, many forget Staal's contributions. That's not surprising since he only accumulated 55 points the previous two years. But Staal is up to nine in eight games along with 23 hits while ranking among the league leaders with more than 13 faceoff wins per night (and is fourth overall with a 60.3 faceoff win percentage). He's already matched last season's PPP haul with three while adding a shorthanded helper. While many other centers would be regarded as better producers, few are as versatile as Staal.

Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (11)
Make some room on your fantasy lineup for Jordan Staal. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Tim Stutzle, OTT (27 percent)

For someone who dominated the German pro league at 17 and was then selected third overall in the most recent draft, you can imagine all the pressure Stutzle felt to succeed in North America. Maybe it hasn't gone as planned, but that was to be expected with the Sens carrying a relatively inexperienced forward core. The good news is Stutzle appears to be getting used to the faster pace and more physical style and has accrued more ice time as a result. Four goals and two assists qualify as a solid start, though his biggest draw to be added is his really high ceiling based on a ridiculous skill set.

Mikael Backlund, CGY (19 percent)

Backlund used to be a mainstay in the top-six, but now finds himself on the third line following a mass shuffle. That's not necessarily a negative, as he's seemed to thrive with less attention. The soon-to-be 32-year-old has partnered well with Andrew Mangiapane and has racked up some impressive performances, highlighted by a three-point, seven-shot effort last Sunday. There's a lot to like about the Flames' attack, with Backlund representing one of their better secondary options.

Jordan Eberle, NYI (16 percent)

The Isles have only counted 25 goals across 11 games, so that doesn't leave much offense to go around. Eberle apparently hasn't been affected by the drought though, having potted five times and fired 33 shots on net. He also logs 17:28 per outing, including 3:29 on the top man-advantage. Eberle's glory days with Edmonton may be long gone, but there's plenty left to include him as a mid-to-lower-roster forward.

Yanni Gourde, TB (10 percent)

Remember when Gourde racked up 64 in 2017-18 but only finished sixth in Calder Trophy voting? Even though that was only three seasons ago, it feels way longer considering he's never approached that number since. But that's OK as he's settled in as third-unit center and posted six points. And like Backlund, Gourde is surrounded by superb talent up front, so he isn't being pushed to drive production.

Cody Glass, VGK (6 percent)

Last week, we mentioned Chandler Stephenson as a possible placeholder for Glass on the top line while the latter established a consistent role. Well, that day may arrive sooner than expected since Glass has gone off for a goal and three assists in his last three appearances. That type of offense was to be expected as he totaled 265 points from his final 171 regular-season junior games, but some thought it would come quicker for a player selected sixth overall in 2017. Based on the massive projected fantasy boost of joining Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty alone, Glass should be rostered more in fantasy.

DEFENSEMEN

John Marino, PIT (6 percent)

Following a 26-point rookie campaign, Marino has only notched one point through his first 11 games. He's arguably Pittsburgh's second-best offensive D-man (though Marcus Pettersson — when healthy — might challenge him for that honor) and sees more than 23 minutes a game with a place on both special-teams units. The Pens' upcoming schedule isn't the greatest, but most of their March matchups are soft. Look for Marino to regain form and build up the stats.

Adam Boqvist, CHI (6 percent)

Boqvist has missed the last eight games and is scheduled to come back soon. While the ice time wasn't great early on, he quarterbacked Chicago's top power play where he picked up two assists (and three helpers overall). Duncan Keith has filled in for Boqvist on the 31.6 percent man-advantage but somehow hasn't recorded any PPPs in eight appearances since, leaving the job open for the 20-year-old upon his return.

Mario Ferraro, SJ (3 percent)

It's easy for Ferraro to get lost in the Sharks' blueline with legends like Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson taking most of the attention. The youngster skates with Burns on the lead even-strength pair and is averaging almost 23 minutes. He's produced four assists, including one PPA, which is actually one more than Karlsson. But you're really going to enjoy Ferraro from his 31 hits and 21 blocks, with 21 (!) and 10 of those coming in the last four games.

Dante Fabbro, NSH (1 percent)

Fabbro may not be a high-scoring top-four NHL defenseman yet, but he's only 22 and should receive added responsibility as the season progresses. He's finally getting shifts on the Preds' second power play and could one day move up to the first unit, which would only be natural for someone who excelled as a pointman in NCAA and for Canada at the WJC. Many might hesitate to pick up Fabbro now due to offensive underproduction, but the shots, hits, and blocks still make him a decent depth option.

GOALTENDERS

Mike Smith, EDM (25 percent)

While Smith's first appearance netted him a win, let's not get too carried away. After all, it was against Ottawa. And while Mikko Koskinen hasn't looked great in his 13 outings (3.43 GAA, .895 save percentage), he did rebound with a 40-save effort Tuesday. Still, Smith's debut is promising enough to allow him more action. Koskinen will continue to be provided the bulk of the opportunities in the short term, though Smith should gain on that gap down the road.

Jake Oettinger, DAL (21 percent)

There's no question as to Anton Khudobin's status as Dallas's top 'tender, but there will definitely be room for Oettinger to pick up more starts in a condensed schedule. The young Minnesotan isn't hurting his cause with a couple of Ws and two excellent showings versus Chicago where he stopped 60 of 64 shots while the Stars' offense only totaled two goals. Odds on Khudobin will soon be back between the pipes, but he's looked shaky lately (4.31/.864 from the last three). If Oettinger can compile more solid performances, he'll definitely be in the running for the No. 1 job.

(Players to consider from past columns: Conor Garland, Zach Hyman, Joshua Norris, Jordan Kyrou, Roope Hintz, Carter Verhaeghe, James van Riemsdyk, David Krejci, Alex Killorn, Alexandre Texier, Nick Ritchie, Chandler Stephenson, Rasmus Andersson, Josh Morrissey, Noah Dobson, Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Kevin Lankinen, James Reimer, Linus Ullmark)