The NHL's holiday roster freeze went into effect this past Thursday, but for fantasy owners there still could be plenty of tinkering to be done. When assessing who to pick up from the waiver wire a great deal of the time the players who are granted with the best opportunities to succeed, even if it's for a brief amount of time, are often the most attractive options. In the spirit of the holidays, most of this week's pickups have already be given gifts from their coaches in the form of elevated roles and these promotions could make them good additions to your lineups.
Jaden Schwartz (STL) - C/LW - Owned in 24% of Yahoo! leagues
David Backes returned to the lineup Saturday night, so Schwartz's shot at playing on the top line with Alexander Steen and T.J. Oshie was short lived. The 21-year-old scored his ninth goal of the year on Thursday when he skated with Steen and Oshie, but he'll likely return to playing with Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko. Schwartz averages 16:18 of ice time per game and he's already surpassed his rookie totals from last season's shortened schedule, with 23 points and a plus-14 rating through 32 games. Schwartz can play a responsible two-way game, which helps him fit nicely on any line. Playing on the first line would've given him a nice boost though and it might be something the Blues try again down the road if the team wants to rebalance their combinations.
Mark Scheifele (WPG) - C - Owned in 4% of Yahoo! leagues
The 20-year-old rookie has been playing with plenty of confidence of late. He has racked up three goals and four assists during his current five-game scoring streak. Scheifele had a difficult time producing points in the first two months of the season, but he's seemingly developed a rhythm now. Playing with a healthy Evander Kane and Michael Frolik gives him capable wingers to distribute the puck to as well. He's got 17 points in 37 games and could make up some ground in the scoring race among first-year players, especially with San Jose's Tomas Hertl injured.
Dwight King (LA) - LW - Owned in 3% of Yahoo! leagues
King has been taking advantage of his presence on Los Angeles' new top line. He has notched three goals and three helpers in his last four games, while skating alongside Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. King has 10 goals on 52 shots this campaign and he can piled up hits as well. King often ends up lining somewhere in the club's top-six group, but playing with Kopitar and Carter has given him a shot in the arm and it's made him worth rostering for however long that combination remains intact.
Antti Raanta (CHI) - G - Owned in 47% of Yahoo! leagues
Raanta has done an excellent job between the pipes for Chicago, while Corey Crawford and Nikolai Khabibulin recover from their respective lower-body injuries. He has posted a 7-1-2 record along with a .920 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average in 11 appearances this season. If he's available in your league and you could remotely use a goaltender then he's worth snatching up immediately. Crawford will probably be out for another week or two and even if Khabibulin returns before then it's unlikely that he'll wrestle the number one job away from Raanta.
Olli Maatta (PIT) - D - Owned in 6% of Yahoo! leagues
The Penguins have been decimated by injuries to their back end and Maatta has stepped up in a big way to help fill the void. With Kris Letang, Paul Martin Rob Scuderi and Brooks Orpik hurt, in addition to Deryk Engelland's suspension, Pittsburgh has leaned on their 19-year-old blueliner and he hasn't disappointed. Maatta has contributed two goals and five assists in his past 10 games. He's also played over 20 minutes in six of his last eight outings. Unfortunately, he isn't seeing any power-play action which would make him a must add. Still, he is worth looking into if the pickings are slim and you are in need of a defenseman.
Derek Roy (STL) - C - Owned in 28% of Yahoo! leagues
Roy has been a fairly consistent producer for the Blues since mid-November so it's surprising that he isn't on more fantasy rosters. He has compiled eight goals and 25 points in 34 games this campaign, including two markers and six assists in his last eight outings. Roy has finally started to click with rugged forward Chris Stewart, which has given St. Louis a dependable third line. He's on pace to register around 60 points, which is pretty much where we had him pegged at to start the year.
Michael Raffl (PHI) - LW - Owned in 2% of Yahoo! leagues
It took some time but the Flyers have finally been seeing the kind of production from Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek that was expected of them from the outset of the year. 25-year-old rookie Michael Raffl has been benefiting from flanking Philadelphia's dynamic duo, which makes him an appealing short-term option. He has recorded two goals and six assists in his last eight contests after earning just one point in his first 15 matches. If he gets overtaken by another forward on the top line then it's safe to drop him.
Colton Sceviour (DAL) - C - Owned in 0% of Yahoo! leagues
Sceviour is a gamble based on the fact that we don't know how long he will be up with the Dallas, but he has played well enough during his recent call-up to make the decision hard on the Stars. In NHL four games, he has tallied three goals and 15 shots. He has generated the game-winning goal in two of those contests and he's been seeing some power-play time as well. Sceviour was leading the AHL in goals, with 18 in 26 matches, prior to his recall so it's clear that he has a nose for the net. He might be worth monitoring or if you're feeling adventurous then he could be a player to roll the dice on now if you're in a deep league.
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