Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Take advantage of Penguins' productive fill-ins

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Another Penguin injury: Enter, <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/players/6481/" data-ylk="slk:Sam Lafferty">Sam Lafferty</a>. (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)
Another Penguin injury: Enter, Sam Lafferty. (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Evan BerofskyRotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

The Oilers and Ducks are rolling. The Lightning and Stars haven't started strong, but their fans are trying not to worry about it … yet. And after all the offseason hype, the Devils remain the NHL's only winless team.

Yup, everything's going as predicted. But it's still early and we all know things rarely remain static.

Hope your fantasy rosters are performing as they should. If not, then it's probably time to make some adjustments. Good thing this column specializes in recommending acquisitions that won't cost you anything. Here are a few more candidates, along with the standard reminder list at the bottom.

(Yahoo rostership rates/stats as of Oct. 17.)


Ryan Dzingel, Carolina Hurricanes (24 percent rostered)

Carolina looks to be continuing the momentum built up last season by starting 6-2 with 28 goals. Dzingel, the franchise's only significant offseason forward signing, has certainly helped the cause. The speedster is proving his career year of 56 points was no fluke by already racking up two goals and five assists as a member of the Canes' third line and second power play. Dzingel doesn't provide much in other categories, but his scoring/special-teams work should offer enough.

Brock Nelson, New York Islanders (20 percent)

Since being drafted in the 2010 first round, Nelson never really came through on his potential until last year when he finally broke the 50-point barrier. The Isles haven't looked particularly exciting in attack-mode, but the 6-foot-3 center has led the way with five points and 20 shots on goal. Mathew Barzal might be the club's prized pivot, but Nelson's put in the hours and retains his role as the second-in-command down the middle.

Andre Burakovsky, Colorado Avalanche (15%)

After the Avs were dispatched by the Sharks in the playoffs last season, management decided to address the team's lack of forward depth. Nazem Kadri arrived in a trade with Toronto to fill the second center hole, while Burakovsky and ex-Shark Joonas Donskoi were signed as complementary pieces. The Austrian-born Swede has seamlessly fit in on Kadri's right side and has notched a pair of goals with three assists. Add his point role on Colorado's second man-advantage and that's plenty to get him on your roster.

Marcus Johansson, Buffalo Sabres (12%)

If there's been one aspect of Johansson that has plagued his career, it would have to be all the injury issues. But he's been a steady source of offense when healthy, as the 58 points during a full final campaign in Washington will show. Casey Mittelstadt was assumed to take over the Sabres' No. 2 center job, but the coaches have opted for patience in his development. That's benefited Johansson, who inherits 40-goal scorer Jeff Skinner on one wing and a place with Mittelstadt and company on the second power play. And Johansson has taken advantage of the opportunities by posting five points.

Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning (9%)

With the premier talent Tampa boasts up front, it's easy to overlook others within the contingent. Thanks to a significant boost in minutes compared to previous years, the likes of Cirelli should receive more attention. He's up to four assists while supplementing his cause with 10 hits and five blocks. The two-way center barely receives any power play time, yet somehow registered two PPAs last Thursday. Based on the added responsibility and the Bolts' strength, Cirelli possesses the tools to build up his stats.

Sam Lafferty, Pittsburgh Penguins (9%)

Another column, another Pittsburgh pivot sidelined. This time it's Jared McCann, who was obviously cursed after I mentioned him last week. Lafferty was summoned from the AHL 10 days ago, but posted zeros in his first two NHL attempts. His fortunes quickly reversed for the next two with five points, seven shots, and a plus-5 in limited minutes. Lafferty moved up to the second unit for Wednesday's OT win and worked hard even though he was held off the scoresheet. Better get him before he fills in for Sidney Crosby on the top trio.

Adam Henrique, Anaheim Ducks (7%)

If you asked 100 people on the street who they consider the Ducks' best center, 99 would say Ryan Getzlaf. The 100th person would choose Henrique because they're probably related. Still, there's nothing wrong with the former Devil, especially now that he's swapped places with Getzlaf and centers Anaheim's first line. The switch has immediately helped Henrique, as he's tallied three goals and an assist in his last two with six shots and a plus-6 rating.

Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings (5%)

While teammate Dustin Brown qualifies as the hotter option based on what he's done, Carter should be more widely rostered based on what he hasn't — but should've — done. Ignore the one assist and the minus-6. Let's focus on the zero goals and the 22 pucks he's fired on net. He's even hit 75% of his shot attempts on net. Barring something weird or an injury, all signs point to Carter's luck improving soon.


Alexander Edler, Vancouver Canucks (51%)

Despite checking in at 33-years-old, Edler continues to average more than 25 minutes a night and just racked up three points on Tuesday — with all of those coming on the power play. Everyone knows Quinn Hughes represents the future of the franchise, but the here-and-now clearly belongs to the veteran blueliner.

Vince Dunn, St. Louis Blues (30%)

Anyone who lines up with Alex Pietrangelo on the Blues' top man-advantage should be earning more than one-third of fantasy gamers' appreciation. There's been a knock on Dunn's back-end issues, but he's obviously working to improve and is gaining ice time as a result. After failing to find the scoresheet in the first four games, he's picked up a pair of points — naturally, both coming on the power play — in his last two.

Vince Dunn deserves more fantasy attention. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Vince Dunn deserves more fantasy attention. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Neal Pionk, Winnipeg Jets (30%)

A couple bumps have appeared at the start of his Winnipeg career, but Pionk has produced adequately with two goals and three assists. With Dustin Byfuglien's status still in limbo, Josh Morrissey stands in as the Jets' de facto No. 1 D-man, but Pionk, at least in terms of offensive capabilities, doesn't rank too far behind Morrissey.

Sean Walker, Los Angeles Kings (8%)

Other writers have already expressed their appreciation for Walker, but he's listed again here because it appears many of you haven't been listening. After he recorded a modest 10 points in 39 appearances for the Kings last season, very little attention was given to the Keswick native. But here we are six games in and all Walker has achieved are two goals, two assists, 18 shots, nine hits, and 10 blocks. Someone on the LA bench obviously noticed his progress and recently rewarded him with a place on their second power play.


Jaroslav Halak, Boston Bruins (48%)

Being Boston's backup has its advantages. You get to be on a team that's regularly ranked as one of the league's best defensive achievers, and Tuukka Rask usually reserves his hot streak for later in the regular season and into the playoffs. Halak was more than ready to step in last season when the Finn stumbled by posting a 2.34 GAA and .922 save percentage in 40 appearances. And the two have so far split the starts this year, with the veteran Slovak earning a shutout among his three outings.

Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers (48%)

If the Oilers are to return to the postseason, they'll require solid goaltending (and others besides their top forwards scoring regularly, but that's another story). Mikko Koskinen may be a giant, but he hasn't been imposing between the pipes since returning to North America. Cam Talbot wasn't really doing it last year, so Edmonton signed Smith due to his wealth of experience. The 37 year old has paid off the team's trust early on with three wins, a 2.51 GAA, and .917 save percentage.

Players to consider from past columns: Victor Olofsson, Nazem Kadri, Roope Hintz, Tyler Bertuzzi, Paul Stastny, Jonathan Drouin, Travis Konecny, Jaden Schwartz, Erik Haula, Pavel Buchnevich, Nick Foligno, Oscar Klefbom, Devon Toews, Colin Miller, Kevin Shattenkirk, Justin Schultz, Jaccob Slavin, Samuel Girard, Carter Hutton, Craig Anderson

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