Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire: Adds to consider ahead of Week 18

By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

The razzle-dazzle of All-Star weekend is behind us. Back to the reality of pushing for the fantasy playoffs. Hope your leagues combined the last two weeks in head-to-head, as a number of NHL clubs have either crammed in the action or haven't played for a while. And an inconsistent schedule could initially result in decreased performances and/or increased injuries.

So if any of your players have lost a step or are now sidelined, may we suggest one of the following fill-ins:

(Rostered rates as of Feb. 10)


Bryan Rust, PIT (Yahoo: 52%)

Kinda cheating here by featuring a player slightly over the 50 percent mark. It wasn't long ago when Rust used to be up in the 80 to 90 range, though that's changed due to a slight offensive drop and, more importantly, a move down to the Pens' second power play. Everyone knows how elite their first unit is, and Rickard Rakell is currently preferred there. Rust may eventually retake that role, but even if that doesn't happen, there's no shame in maintaining an even-strength spot beside Evgeni Malkin while producing eight points and 30 shots over the last month. Go grab him if he's still available.

Logan Couture, SJ (Yahoo: 47%)

Couture originally got the nod in this space back in mid-November when he was riding a 10-in-10 scoring streak. Since then, he's expanded on that to post 29 points — including nine on the man-advantage — 89 shots, 53 hits and 36 blocks. Couture may not be the lead center at five-on-five, but he's a regular on the top PP and averages close to 19 minutes a night. And who wouldn't want someone who recently went off for two goals, three assists, and five shots at Pittsburgh?

Adam Henrique, ANH (Yahoo: 18%)

Henrique impressed early on after switching to the wing, and has continued that momentum most of the way. He's found the back of the net in seven of the last 10 contests, a stretch that's also included three helpers and 26 shots. Henrique's also a regular on the Ducks' lead power play, where he's tallied eight points. His 18.3 shooting percentage could regress and his time alongside Trevor Zegras could end at any time, but he's in a good place now and carries enough responsibilities to qualify as a solid fantasy addition.

Vasili Podkolzin, VAN (Yahoo: 15%)

While new arrival Anthony Beauvillier is being touted as someone who will benefit from the Bo Horvat deal, Podkolzin has also taken advantage. Despite a few healthy scratches and a demotion, he was recalled this week and potted a goal to go with seven shots and six hits across three games. Beauvillier may be on PP1 and boast Elias Pettersson as his center, but Podkolzin can't complain with the backup PP and J.T. Miller at five-on-five. The Russian could eventually get sent back to the AHL, so it's probably best to monitor the situation before picking him up.

Phil Kessel, VGK (Yahoo: 4%)

Kessel may not be producing the points like years past, but he's doing enough to keep himself fantasy relevant. Vegas has registered 36 goals from 13 matchups, and Kessel has been involved in nine of them (4G, 5A) along with 30 shots. The 35-year-old has primarily logged time on the third trio, though Chandler Stephenson recently moving down to 3C has provided the veteran with a solid linemate. Kessel doesn't contribute in the physical categories and his ice time is relatively low, but he's perfect if you need some lower-lineup points.

Barrett Hayton, ARI (Yahoo: 4%)

Arizona forwards tend to live in fantasy obscurity because the team regularly ranks near the bottom in offense and a few of them are on the younger side. But don't be hatin' on Hayton.

Barrett Hayton #29 of the Arizona Coyotes is gaining fantasy value
Consider Barrett Hayton in your fantasy waiver wire pickups. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Getty Images)

It may have taken the fifth overall selection from 2018 a couple of seasons to earn a full-time NHL job, yet he's now on the top line and power play. Hayton's scoring has been a bit erratic, but he's posted PPPs in three of the last four supplemented by 15 shots while impressively winning 50 of 76 faceoffs.

Jason Dickinson, CHI (Yahoo: 1%)

Like Hayton with the Coyotes, Dickinson isn't going to get a lot of love as part of a weak attack. But here he is, centering Patrick Kane at even-strength and netting goals in three consecutive outings that were preceded by a three-point performance. Dickinson offers additional value having accumulated 64 hits and 52 blocks on the campaign. With Kane and others possibly getting traded by the deadline, you might as well jump on Dickinson as soon as possible before he has to settle for scraps.

Mike Hoffman, MON (Yahoo: 1%)

The reports regarding Hoffman's fantasy demise have clearly been untrue as he's picked up a prominent place. He used to be reliable in Ottawa and then Florida, though the stats slipped into his 30s along with a couple injuries. Hoffman wasn't doing much when 2023 started and was then scratched for four of five but has been given another chance after Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky went down for the season. He's proceeded to provide six points and 20 shots across his last seven contests while averaging 18:50 — including a whopping 4:10 on the man-advantage.


Jeff Petry, PIT (Yahoo: 56%)

We're reaching over the 50 percent threshold again, and this one kind of depends on what stats your league counts. Since returning from a month-long stint on the sidelines, Petry has recorded four assists in six games — with two of those on the power play. During that same stretch, he's totaled 16 shots and 26 hits while averaging 25:05. Petry's point potential alone would suffice as an endorsement for higher coverage, but adding in significant output elsewhere — especially the hits — should clinch it.

Bowen Byram, COL (Yahoo: 55%)

Byram is set to get additional fantasy attention since he reappeared on Tuesday following three months on IR and promptly contributed a helper, three hits and three blocks while continuing on Colorado's second man-advantage. Some poolies may have dropped him or forgotten he existed during the long absence, so you may want to check if he remains available. And with Cale Makar set to miss Saturday and possibly more matchups, Byram could see an increase in offensive opportunities.

Sean Durzi, LA (Yahoo: 32%)

Durzi was hot for the first 25 outings as he racked up 18 points (nine of those PPPs), 33 shots, 36 hits and 44 blocks. The pucks directed on net (and at him) have remained steady in the 25s since, though the offense has significantly tailed off with only two goals and six assists. Durzi went into the break without a point in five, yet he's still being relied upon to lead PP2 and cover the penalty kill. The time off could be the perfect recharge that allows him to start scoring again.

Nick Perbix, TB (Yahoo: 1%)

If you're searching for a blueliner who skates in all situations and produces in a number of categories, Perbix isn't the one. He's more of the excels-on-even-strength-type defender. Despite the lack of any special-teams role, Perbix has already managed 15 points across 40 outings. The ice time's on the low end averaging around 15 minutes, but he's been known to score in bunches, having managed three multi-point efforts in January alone.


Anton Forsberg, OTT (Yahoo: 45%)

Forsberg was just discussed in this column last month and has earned a repeat based on recent achievements — more specifically, the three straight wins and last four appearances where he's posted a 1.98 GAA and .939 save percentage. Cam Talbot was forced out in the middle of Ottawa's win against the Islanders a couple weeks ago but could be back soon. With the Sens resuming their schedule on Saturday following an 11-day layoff, expect Forsberg to keep handling the bulk of the starts.

Adin Hill, VGK (Yahoo: 20%)

The Golden Knights may be offensively inconsistent of late, but both of their goalies have been stellar. Logan Thompson has stopped 131 of 142 shots since Jan. 21 but left Thursday's contest late with a leg injury. Hill can track his most recent success back to the start of last month with a 2.16/.928 line over seven games. Regardless of whether Thompson will be out for a while, Hill has earned the opportunity to get more action behind an attack that is back at full strength (with the exception of Mark Stone).

(Players to consider from past columns: Martin Necas, David Krejci, Dylan Cozens, Matty Beniers, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jeff Skinner, Andrei Kuzmenko, Phillip Danault, Dylan Strome, Kevin Hayes, Trevor Moore, Nick Schmaltz, Mason McTavish, Lucas Raymond, Brock Boeser, Filip Chytil, J.T. Compher, Owen Tippett, Jared McCann, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Conor Sheary, Boone Jenner, Cole Perfetti, Scott Laughton, Jack Roslovic, Brandon Hagel, Gabriel Vilardi, Max Domi, Sam Steel, Jordan Eberle, Evan Rodrigues, William Karlsson, Viktor Arvidsson, Eeli Tolvanen, Anton Lundell, Ondrej Palat, Jason Zucker, Nick Paul, Seth Jarvis, Tyler Bertuzzi, Taylor Raddysh, Kirill Marchenko, Seth Jones, Brandon Montour, Jake Sanderson, Cam Fowler, Brady Skjei, Noah Hanifin, Brett Pesce, Vince Dunn, Erik Gustafsson, Calen Addison, Adam Larsson, Samuel Girard, K'Andre Miller, Janis Moser, Mark Giordano, Sebastian Aho, Vitek Vanecek, Martin Jones, Karel Vejmelka, Pavel Francouz, Sam Montembeault, Dan Vladar, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Antti Raanta, Stuart Skinner, Pheonix Copley)