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Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: NHL adds to make this week

·8 min read
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By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

The divisional races are heating up. Four teams battling for the last playoff spot in the Central. St. Louis struggling out West and attracting California competition. Trying to figure out the elite of the Eastern changes every day. And everyone except for Ottawa remains in contention up North.

Stay on top of all the goings-on by checking the latest news on RotoWire and our related hockey content to set your lineups and manage your rosters.

(Yahoo! rostered rates/stats as of April 1.)

FORWARDS

Joonas Donskoi, COL (44 percent rostered)

The Avs are known for their first line, but Wednesday's 9-3 drubbing of the Coyotes proved other reliable forwards exist in their lineup. Donskoi has always been a decent-but-not-great scorer with the ability to deliver a clutch performance. He's recently raised his offensive reputation with nine goals and six assists in the last 10 games, including a hat trick and helper in the aforementioned Arizona annihilation. Despite a third-unit even-strength spot, Donskoi is also on Colorado's power play where he's managed a respectable six points.

Christian Dvorak, ARI (30 percent)

Dvorak operates as the Coyotes' lead center in all situations while producing 20 points. That may seem a little low based on his status, but he's actually on a similar scoring pace with previous seasons. Dvorak struggled during a nine-game March stretch where he failed to find the scoresheet but finished the month with two goals and an assist. On top of these achievements, he's even more valuable in leagues that count faceoff wins; he had a string of 25 consecutive appearances with at least seven wins snapped Wednesday.

Kirby Dach, CHI (25 percent)

Following two-plus months on the shelf, Dach debuted Saturday and skated more than 20 minutes. He continued the next day with 21:18, including 3:41 on the power play, but netted no points. Perhaps they were rushing Dach in too quickly as he logged a reduced role Tuesday while notching his first assist. The 2019 third-overall pick continues to work his way back into the flow. He remains a key piece for the future and in Chicago's effort to earn a postseason berth.

Phillip Danault, MON (14 percent)

Danault has generally been the Habs' most reliable center the last couple of years, though he's not considered a premier player at the position. While 100 combined points from the previous two campaigns is a nice start, he'll need a boost to reach the next level. While Danault counted a pair of assists in consecutive games, there's something else lately that could help his cause. Before 2021, his peak for PPPs was four. Danault has only averaged 21 seconds on the power play this season, but he was installed on Montreal's first group Tuesday. Nothing happened during that experiment, so it'll be interesting to see if he can potentially add a new dimension to his offensive repertoire.

Mikael Granlund, NSH (8 percent)

Granlund developed into a bonafide scorer with the Wild, and then things kind of went downhill after joining the Preds. The ice time was consistent and the opportunities looked similar, though something was missing. This season has alternated between hot runs and slumps, but fortunately, he appears to be on one of the former with three goals and a helper in five games. On a club that lacks an elite talent, Granlund is definitely among their most skilled forwards and should stay in the top-six (unless he's traded).

Nashville Predators center Mikael Granlund (64)
Mikael Granlund represents an underrated fantasy option on the Preds. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Robert Thomas, STL (4 percent)

One wouldn't generally recommend a player with no points, two shots, and a minus-4 in four games, but Thomas is one to watch for the rest of the campaign. The 2017 first-rounder performed admirably the first two years in St. Louis and continued his progress with six points in the opening 12 matchups until a broken thumb kept him out for six weeks. Thomas hasn't scored since coming back, but he offers enough potential as a second- or third-line center with man-advantage duty to find his way onto your roster.

Matt Martin, NYI (3 percent)

An NHLer whose career spans 11 seasons with 67 goals and 964 PIM isn't your typical fantasy suggestion. Then there's Martin, and his propensity for punishing opponents and consistently ranking in the top-10 in hits. His career high in points is 19 and is currently at 10 — with six of those being goals. Martin potted a PPG on Monday after recently being installed on the Isles' top power play as a big body in front of the net. And even if he loses that role, he'll still provide plenty of hits.

Owen Tippett, FLA (2 percent)

Anthony Duclair has gone down again, leaving Tippett to jump up the depth chart. Florida fans have been patiently waiting for the 10th selection of 2017 to break out and he's already showing signs of fulfilling their wishes. In the last three weeks, Tippett has racked up four goals, four assists, and 33 shots. Duclair is projected to miss at least a week, which should leave enough time for Tippett to stake his claim in the top-six.

DEFENSEMEN

Dmitry Orlov, WAS (9 percent)

Before March, Orlov's point production was pretty much nonexistent — well, 1, to be exact. In the last 12 games, he's compiled three goals and three assists. During that same stretch, Orlov has also fired 18 pucks on net, delivered 25 hits, and blocked 19 shots. He's not going to rack up the offense like John Carlson or even Justin Schultz, but the overall output should qualify as a lower-lineup addition.

Noah Hanifin, CGY (5 percent)

Searching for secondary power-play blueliners can be beneficial in deeper formats where most of the higher-level entries are taken. Hanifin used to be more prolific on the man-advantage as the numbers have dropped in recent years. He's only posted two PPAs this season, but that's likely because he didn't consistently participate in that situation until mid-March. Since then, Hanifin has totaled six points and 18 shots while averaging almost 22 minutes a game, including two on the PP.

Alex Goligoski, ARI (4 percent)

Similar to Hanifin, Goligoski was once a bigger deal on the power play — like 24 PPPs worth in 2010-11 between Pittsburgh and Dallas or even the 11 last season in Arizona. Jakob Chychrun has ascended to lead Desert Dog defender while up a man with Oliver Ekman-Larsson second in command. The third chair was once occupied by Jordan Oesterle, but Goligoski has stepped in with more than 11 minutes of action through four games. And while he hasn't registered a PPP over that span, the four points, nine shots, 12 blocks, and plus-6 look pretty solid.

Mike Reilly, OTT (1 percent)

Name another D-man besides Reilly who's posted at least 14 assists this season and is available in roughly 99 percent of leagues. Don't bother looking because that player doesn't exist. Reilly started his NHL career as a power-play specialist in Minnesota and eventually expanded that to a full-time gig in Montreal and now in Ottawa. The man-advantage minutes have mainly disappeared when compared to last season, but there's enough to like from someone who grabbed seven helpers, 10 PIM, 19 shots, 18 hits, and 10 blocks during March.

GOALTENDERS

Elvis Merzlikins, CLS (48 percent)

Betcha wouldn't have expected Merzlikins to appear in this column after losing both battles with the Red Wings last weekend. To be fair, he only allowed five goals combined and the rest of the Blue Jackets looked awful. The Latvian got back on the winning track Tuesday with an excellent effort, stopping 37 of 38 shots in Tampa. Whether it's Merzlikins or the injured Joonas Korpisalo (49 percent in Yahoo), both Columbus goalies should be more covered based on their history of outstanding performances.

Casey DeSmith, PIT (40 percent)

Tristan Jarry left Monday's matchup after the first period and could be out at least one game. That would leave DeSmith as the Pens' default starter, a job he's been more than capable of in this season. The New Hampshire native has made 13 appearances in 2021 and has posted a solid 8-3 record with a 1.91 GAA, .929 save percentage, and two shutouts. Jarry should resume his regular role after returning, but DeSmith has done well enough to keep receiving starts.

(Players to consider from past columns: Adrian Kempe, Jordan Staal, Clayton Keller, Roope Hintz, Ryan Johansen, Vincent Trocheck, Pavel Zacha, Clayton Keller, Eeli Tolvanen, Martin Necas, Jason Robertson, Carter Verhaeghe, Jesper Bratt, Zach Hyman, Paul Stastny, Alexander Wennberg, Alex Iafallo, Alex Killorn, Kasperi Kapanen, Tim Stutzle, Chandler Stephenson, Adam Henrique, Matt Grzelcyk, Mattias Ekholm, Josh Morrissey, Adam Boqvist, Devon Toews, Filip Hronek, Kevin Shattenkirk, Nick Leddy, Jake Bean, Thatcher Demko, Jake Oettinger, Kevin Lankinen, Mike Smith, Juuse Saros, Alex Nedeljkovic, Cam Talbot, Kaapo Kahkonen)