Fantasy Hockey Focus: Mining the waiver wire on Week 17
We’ve got a fun one this week! With the NHL All-Star break quickly approaching, the vast majority of leagues will play a two-week-long matchup starting Monday. If you are in a league that is playing a regular match-up this week you need to carve your commissioner up.
With the extended duration, the potential for finding waiver wire options greatly increases. But it’s still going to be a grind. The wire doesn’t just gift wrap helping hands. This setup sees the Avalanche, Canucks, and Capitals with four games each. 18 more clubs have three games on tap – including the Bruins, Hurricanes, and Panthers who will be on homestands. The Blues have the easiest set of opponents with a combined winning percentage of just 0.462.
As always, the players chosen for this exercise are rostered in fewer than 60 percent of all Fantrax leagues and often rostered in even fewer ESPN or Yahoo setups.
Dylan Strome, C - Washington Capitals (56% Rostered)
I’ll be upfront here, I don’t like the Caps and I don’t love relying on Dylan Strome in my fantasy lineup. That said, the 26-year-old has the best possible deployment situation on a team like Washington. He starts 67 percent of his shifts in the offensive end. He sees 63 percent of the man-advantage ice. He plays alongside Alexander Ovechkin at even-strength and the power play (although that doesn’t hold the same weight as it once did).
Additionally, Strome has four points in his last two games and six in his last five. He’s been nearly a point-per-game player the past month.
With Washington being one of the few teams with four games this week, Strome is a viable option.
Pyotr Kochetkov, G - Carolina Hurricanes (52% Rostered)
Pyotr Kochetkov has been taken off of the IR after recovering from a concussion that’s kept him out of the lineup for the past three weeks.
Before the injury, the Russian netminder had been finding his groove. He was 7-2-1 with a 0.931 save percentage and nearly eight more goals saved above expected. Now, this one is dicey since we don’t know how Rod Brind’amour will deploy his netminder's post-All-Star break. The team has three games - against Vancouver, Colorado and New Jersey with no back-to-backs. Kochetkov may only see one start. Or he may see two or three.
But this is more of a grab for the long haul than just for the next matchup. We like Kochetkov to be the starter down the stretch for Carolina, and you’ll want to have a piece of that.
JJ Peterka, LW/RW - Buffalo Sabres (55% Rostered)
Don’t look now, but JJ Peterka has quietly amassed five goals and seven points in his last five games. The recently-turned 22-year-old is having a sneaky strong second season in the league. He’s up to 18 goals and 34 points in 49 games – good for a 30-goal, 57-point pace.
Peterka is the poster boy for the argument that teenagers should regularly compete in the AHL. He was excellent in a point-per-game 19-year-old campaign with Rochester and has parlayed into an impressive early NHL career. Now he’s finding a lot of chemistry alongside fellow youngers, Dylan Cozens and Jack Quinn.
The Sabres only skate twice in this matchup, but Peterka could be useful for more than just one round.
Colton Parayko, D - St. Louis Blues (42% Rostered)
Honestly, I just needed a defender here and Colton Parayko fills a bunch of peripheral categories and has the potential to chip in with a point or two. St. Louis has a friendly set of matches and the veteran defender is around on most waiver wires.
You could do worse.
Pius Suter, C - Vancouver Canucks (9% Rostered)
Pius Suter has never been featured in a waiver wire article, but he’s changing all that this week.
The Canucks have been running Suter out as the team’s second-line centre for some time now and it’s been going well. Now with the Lotta line being split up Suter will remain on the second line but has J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser to work with at even strength. #Upgrade! The 26-year-old has even been skating on the top power-play unit for the past few outings.
Suter has been doing his part with six points over his last three contests while throwing nearly four shots on goal per outing. This new elite deployment level seems to suit him.
With four games this week, this is a low-key target that could certainly chip in some points for you.
Ross Colton, LW/C - Colorado Avalanche (31% Rostered)
Similar to Suter, Ross Colton is receiving the juicy “second-line centre, top power-play” deployment model. The Avs are rolling and Colton is playing a nice role in that.
The 27-year-old also has six points in his last three games. He’ll chip in a few hits for those in peripheral category setups too.
Colorado has four big-time road games coming up against a who’s who of Cup contenders. Which can often bring out the best in a team as good as the Avs. Grabbing Colton now should be a nice short-term boost, but could provide longer dividends.
Shane Pinto, C - Ottawa Senators (44% Rostered)
Shane Pinto has been back for four games now and has grabbed a goal and an assist. He's working the middle of the ice on the Sens' third line but has the juicy spot on the top power-play unit. It usually takes some time to get back up to speed when a player jumps into the lineup mid-season, but with two pre-All-Star break games on light days, he's worth a pull now.
Dakota Joshua, C - Vancouver Canucks (35% Rostered)
One last option for those in deep-banger leagues. Dakota Joshua has been excellent in a bottom-six role for the Canucks once again this season. The 27-year-old has already surpassed last year's goal total as he hit No. 12 last week. His 23 points in 48 games also match a career-high.
But it's the side categories that we like.
Joshua has the goods to regularly drop five-plus hits in a game. He leads all forwards with 143 hits this season. With four games upcoming, you might be able to yank 15-20 hits just from Joshua.