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 No. 1 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 you can fill out your fantasy squad with the best players available in your league.
Let’s dig in:
Rostered in 41-50% of Leagues: Nazem Kadri, C - Flames (46% rostered)
Unfortunately, this week’s NHL schedule is an oddball due to American Thanksgiving and there are no teams with truly terrific streaming schedules. That being said, Kadri’s Calgary Flames have a solid setup this week with four games (including the Monday and Saturday off nights).
If you happen to have an open lineup spot on either of the super-heavy Wednesday or Friday nights, you can squeeze three games out of Kadri, who has a goal, two assists, 12 shots, and five hits in his last three outings. On a team looking for some consistency, Kadri has been stepping up of late and that makes him pretty interesting in a tough week for effective streaming.
Ryan O’Reilly, C - Predators (43%)
Jonathan Huberdeau, C/LW - Flames (46%)
Rostered in 31-40% of Leagues: Quinton Byfield, C/LW - Kings (36% rostered)
In a week where effective streaming is difficult, it makes extra sense to focus on trying to find an add that could turn into a season-long hold for you. Byfield has been terrific of late, netting 13 points in his last 11 games despite averaging just 14:41 time on ice during that stretch.
But Byfield has replaced Pierre-Luc Dubois on the Kings’ top power-play unit in both of the last two games and netted a power-play goal in the Kings’ 5-1 win over St. Louis on Saturday. I’m super high on Byfield’s rest-of-season outlook with this deployment, his former second-overall pick pedigree, and how he’s taken a noticeable step in his development this season.
Peterka feels similar to Byfield in a lot of ways. He's a young player with a strong recent stretch of play (12 points in his last 11 games) who has recently gotten up on the top power-play unit. Peterka’s ice time has started to increase along with his recent production, and while Tage Thompson’s injury is bad news for the Sabres it could mean more opportunity for Peterka to establish himself as a legitimate top-six scorer for a team that could use some more firepower right now.
As long as Peterka is rolling on the top power play I’m going to be very interested in utilizing his services.
Rostered in 0-20% of Leagues: James van Riemsdyk, LW - Bruins (13% rostered)
It’s a little surprising JVR is just 13% rostered given he’s resided on Boston's top power-play unit all season long and has registered seven points in his last six games. Boston is another team that plays four games including the Monday and Saturday off nights, leaving you open to make a secondary move for the Sunday slate if you need to.
JVR should be picked up as a priority streamer in deeper leagues given his nightly proximity to stars David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand on the power play. His advanced stats have taken a step of late to boot. When all lights are green it’s usually best to just click add regardless of any preconceived notions about the player.
Rostered in 26-50% of Leagues: Owen Power - Sabres (48% rostered)
Power has trended up this season, taking steps to increase his production that have resulted in five straight games with two or more shots on goal. Power continues to play 22+ minutes a night and if he weren’t directly blocked by star defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, it’s easy to wonder what his fantasy ceiling could be.
Even with Dahlin in the fold, Power is a solid if unspectacular option as a fourth or fifth defenseman in a points league. Throw in the contingent upside as power-play quarterback if Dahlin ever gets banged up, and Power is a relatively easy player to roster any time the Sabres’ schedule is halfway decent.
Rostered in 0-25% of Leagues: Jared Spurgeon - Wild (19% rostered)
The Wild have a poor schedule this week, but they get back into the swing of things Friday and Sunday. You can bide your time until later in the week and then pick up Spurgeon, who cracked the Wild's top PP unit while the team was over in Sweden for the NHL Global Series.
I’ll be watching to see if Spurgeon can maintain that deployment. If he can, I think he could turn into a season-long hold as a 45-50 point pace defender with great blocks numbers for those who count that category.
Grab Spurgeon this week if you’re hurting on defense and need someone who has potential to stick in your lineup all year long.
Sean Walker - Flyers (13%)
Samuel Girard - Avalanche (4%)
It’s shocking to see on the stat line, but Mrazek has posted a .915 save percentage for Chicago this season despite the team’s brutal inability to play team defense. Mrazek has split time evenly with Arvid Soderblom so far but has vastly outplayed his counterpart, giving the Hawks a chance to win in nearly every outing.
If you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for a goalie with an assured role moving forward, Mrazek fits that bill. You won’t feel comfortable with Mrazek in the fold, but staying on your toes regarding goaltenders is never a bad idea.
Rostered in 0-25% of Leagues: Connor Ingram - Coyotes (22% rostered)
Ingram has won five straight starts while tandem partner Karel Vejmelka has lost six straight. One has to wonder at what point the Coyotes might start to feed Ingram more work than just an even 50% split.
I’m pretty interested in Ingram for this week, as he should get a couple of starts. In a best-case scenario, he could build enough of a case for himself this week that he turns into a longer-term hold on your team.
The .918 save percentage will play in any format and Ingram has made 35 or more saves in each of his last three starts — that’s both volume and results. It wouldn’t shock me if we look back at the end of the season and say Ingram was the biggest #ZeroG success story of the year.
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.