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Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire: Consider these players as the NHL season winds down

Ivan Barbashev #49 of the Vegas Golden Knights
Ivan Barbashev shouldn't be available in so many fantasy leagues. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

With just under two weeks left in the regular season, some fantasy leagues will soon be finishing, but others go right until the end.

Many NHL players are still looking to do well. Regardless of whether they're on teams jockeying for playoff position or already eliminated, they'll be looking to make their mark and/or possibly earn new contracts. And if they succeed, that often yields better fantasy results.

Here are a few motivated — and widely available — NHLers who may push you closer to a championship.

(Rostered rates as of Apr. 5)

Forwards

LAST CALL: Vladimir Tarasenko, FLA (Yahoo: 55%)

Vladimir Tarasenko headshot
Vladimir Tarasenko
RW - FLA - #10
2023 - 2024 season
76
GP
23
G
32
A
13
+/-
155
S

When Tarasenko was discussed at the start of 2024, he was doing decently in Ottawa. He was also strongly linked to a trade, which was carried out on Deadline Day. Upon arriving in Florida, Tarasenko immediately hit the jackpot by lining up with Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart. And that trio has been together ever since. After a scoreless debut, Tarasenko has totaled 11 points in 13 games supplemented by 20 shots and 21 hits — including five, eight and four of each from the last three. He eventually joined the Panthers' top power play, though only has one assist there so far. Go check if he's still available.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, LA (Yahoo: 40%)

Pierre-Luc Dubois headshot
Pierre-Luc Dubois
C - LA - #80
2023 - 2024 season
82
GP
16
G
24
A
-9
+/-
146
S

I've been tempted to include Dubois for many weeks, but ultimately went with other selections carrying superior stats and placement. Three assists on Wednesday helped to facilitate his inclusion, yet he was also busy during 11 days in the second half of March when he produced seven points, 12 hits and 33 faceoff wins. Dubois' multipoint outburst came as a result of moving up to the second center spot filling in for Phillip Danault. The latter could be back before the end of the regular season to reclaim top-six status. But even if that happens, Dubois should keep building on his momentum.

Ivan Barbashev, VGK (Yahoo: 36%)

Ivan Barbashev headshot
Ivan Barbashev
C - VGK - #49
2023 - 2024 season
82
GP
19
G
26
A
15
+/-
122
S

Barbashev has alternated between hot streaks and cold spells since December. And fortunately for poolies, he's currently on one of those surges with four goals and two assists across six outings in addition to 10 shots and 16 hits. Barbashev has usually skated at even-strength alongside Jack Eichel and has recently joined the elite center on the lead man-advantage. Averaging 16:50 on a strong Vegas attack while playing in all scoring situations and posting enough in other areas — sounds like someone who shouldn't be available in 65% of Yahoo leagues.

Dakota Joshua, VAN (Yahoo: 29%)

Dakota Joshua headshot
Dakota Joshua
C - VAN - #81
2023 - 2024 season
63
GP
18
G
14
A
19
+/-
84
S

After Joshua completed the Gordie Howe hat trick on Feb. 13, he was forced to miss the next 18 games due to an upper-body injury. Upon returning last week, he got paired with J.T. Miller and struck for two goals in his second appearance. Joshua has also gotten back on track when it comes to hits as he's already delivered 26 of them. He could eventually revert to the lower half of the depth chart, but may be too good to pass up at over 17 minutes with significant duties in all areas.

Eeli Tolvanen, SEA (Yahoo: 27%)

Eeli Tolvanen headshot
Eeli Tolvanen
RW - SEA - #20
2023 - 2024 season
81
GP
16
G
25
A
-15
+/-
153
S

It's nice to see Tolvanen thrive in Seattle after his time with the Preds. Not only has he finally broken the 40-point barrier, but he'll soon be surpassing 200 hits and 151 shots for the first time. Tolvanen continues to score in bunches, as evidenced by the goal and six assists spread out over three of his last nine matchups. He's also received a move up to the top trio with Matty Beniers while logging enough PP time. As the Kraken are officially eliminated and Tolvanen looks to be a big part of their future, his workload should increase.

Alex Killorn, ANH (Yahoo: 24%)

Alex Killorn headshot
Alex Killorn
LW - ANA - #17
2023 - 2024 season
63
GP
18
G
18
A
-15
+/-
145
S

Killorn's contributions have been extremely lopsided, in that 11 of his last 13 points were goals. Those stats — plus another assist — followed a four-week layoff in which he's also managed 44 shots and 35 hits on an average of 19:08. Not bad for a 34-year-old. The Ducks have been severely affected by injuries this season, though most of their players are healthy again. Killorn has generally been entrusted with a top-six assignment and currently joins forces alongside Leo Carlsson and Troy Terry. He may not be as prolific on the power play as his days in Tampa, yet seven PPPs will do.

Logan Cooley, ARI (Yahoo: 15%)

Logan Cooley headshot
Logan Cooley
C - ARI - #92
2023 - 2024 season
82
GP
20
G
24
A
-13
+/-
151
S

Cooley appeared in the opening column with the promise of potential and talent, which haven't entirely been fulfilled. While the 17 goals and 22 assists may be a letdown based on projections, he's at least stayed in the lineup for the whole campaign. And things have improved since Feb. 29 as Cooley has reeled off nine goals, three assists and 37 shots. He even struck for his first hat trick last week against Nashville (on only three shots!). And Cooley's 12 points while up a man are only a preview of what he'll probably repeat through the next decade.

Martin Pospisil, CGY (Yahoo: 5%)

Martin Pospisil headshot
Martin Pospisil
C - CGY - #76
2023 - 2024 season
63
GP
8
G
16
A
14
+/-
117
S

While Pospisil hasn't generally found the scoresheet, he more than makes up for it elsewhere. Five points from 11 outings is acceptable, though the 22 shots and 48 hits can only enhance his fantasy status. Apprehension to add Pospisil also comes from his ice time wildly fluctuating, yet he's regularly skated with Nazem Kadri the last couple months. There's also the matter of his third ejection of the season on Thursday in Winnipeg, so it would be best to monitor any possible suspension before taking a chance on him.

Defensemen

Brayden McNabb, VGK (Yahoo: 31%)

Brayden McNabb headshot
Brayden McNabb
D - VGK - #3
2023 - 2024 season
82
GP
4
G
22
A
18
+/-
86
S

McNabb won't net you a lot of scoring, which was probably evident from the fact his current haul of 24 points matches a career-high originally set nine seasons ago. The goal and four assists from the last 12 games are merely a bonus to the 19 shots, 32 hits and 28 blocks over the same stretch. McNabb did notch a PPA back on Mar. 21, but doesn't really have any man-advantage responsibility while leading the line on the penalty kill. An even-strength spot next to Shea Theodore helps, though he could produce plenty of secondary stats anywhere on the depth chart.

Dylan DeMelo, WPG (Yahoo: 17%)

Dylan DeMelo headshot
Dylan DeMelo
D - WPG - #2
2023 - 2024 season
82
GP
3
G
28
A
46
+/-
83
S

DeMelo has consistently come up for contention throughout the season, as he's recorded similarly steady output. Like the personal best of 28 points, with nine of those coming during the last month. Or other significant numbers, highlighted by 144 hits and 122 blocks on 21:43 a night. DeMelo's advanced ice time is locked in with him a member of Winnipeg's top-four. He may not do anything while up a man, but he'll keep receiving more overall work — which would only enhance his fantasy profile.

Simon Benoit, TOR (Yahoo: 6%)

Simon Benoit headshot
Simon Benoit
D - TOR - #2
2023 - 2024 season
64
GP
1
G
4
A
7
+/-
52
S

Leafs fans have always loved a hard-working player who can lay out opponents, so it's no surprise they've already fallen hard for Benoit. He's received more minutes as a result of Toronto's many blueline injuries and has responded with a whopping 48 hits across seven appearances. That's pretty much all Benoit is going to contribute, and the special-teams time is limited to the shorthanded side, yet he's the perfect fit for anyone looking to instantly boost that one category.

Olen Zellweger, ANH (Yahoo: 2%)

Olen Zellweger headshot
Olen Zellweger
D - ANA - #51
2023 - 2024 season
26
GP
2
G
7
A
-6
+/-
34
S

After three decidedly defensive entries, let's switch to someone who should supply some scoring. Zellweger immediately began his NHL career with a PPA back in late January and was around for a week before getting sent back to the minors, where he would tack on 12 points in 10 contests to earn another call-up. His totals the last month haven't been outstanding, but he's coming off back-to-back efforts where he potted a goal on four shots Sunday and accumulated three assists on Tuesday. Zellweger has also found himself back on Anaheim's lead PP while skating alongside Cam Fowler in most offensive areas.

Goaltenders

Alex Lyon, DET (Yahoo: 38%)

Alex Lyon headshot
Alex Lyon
G - DET - #34
2023 - 2024 season
21-18-5
Rec
2
SO
3.05
GAA
1,198
SV
.904
SV%

Streaky may be the best word to describe Lyon's first season in Detroit. His first 28 appearances yielded an 18-8-2 record, where he allowed three or more goals 13 times. Lyon would go on to lose the next 10, though looked solid in recent trips to Florida and Nashville. He finally broke the slump Monday as he stopped 34 of 36 shots in Tampa. With the Wings battling for a Wild Card spot and the rest of their schedule fairly favorable, Lyon should be provided the bulk of the opportunities like he did last season when he almost single-handedly pushed the Panthers into the playoffs.

Ivan Fedotov, PHI (Yahoo: 5%)

Ivan Fedotov headshot
Ivan Fedotov
G - PHI - #82
2023 - 2024 season
0-1-1
Rec
0
SO
4.95
GAA
43
SV
.811
SV%

You may have heard about Fedotov's NHL debut on Monday nine years after he was drafted. It was only a matter of time until the 6-foot-7 netminder got his chance as he had been excelling in the KHL, and the Flyers are a little light on dependable candidates between the pipes. Samuel Ersson has struggled since Mar. 9 with a 4.09 GAA and .848 save percentage, including getting pulled three times — with Monday the most recent example. Philly is trying to fend off a few teams for postseason positioning and will need all the help it can get from its goalies down the stretch. As Ersson isn't doing great of late, Fedotov should at least be given enough chances to see if he can hold down a substantial role.

Players to consider from past columns: Seth Jarvis, Juraj Slafkovsky, Ryan O'Reilly, Mason McTavish, William Karlsson, Jonathan Huberdeau, Dylan Cozens, Johnny Gaudreau, Wyatt Johnston, Quinton Byfield, Boone Jenner, Gustav Nyquist, Troy Terry, Robert Thomas, Sean Monahan, Anthony Duclair, Nazem Kadri, Shane Pinto, Lucas Raymond, John-Jason Peterka, Artturi Lehkonen, Nikolaj Ehlers, Brayden Schenn, Ivan Barbashev, Dylan Strome, Charlie Coyle, Alexis Lafreniere, Mason Marchment, Pavel Zacha, Adam Henrique, Morgan Geekie, Jake Neighbours, Bryan Rust, Jonathan Drouin, Jake DeBrusk, Anthony Mantha, Nino Niederreiter, Marco Rossi, Chandler Stephenson, Nick Foligno, Scott Laughton, Nick Schmaltz, Logan Stankoven, Nick Paul, Trevor Moore, Sam Bennett, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Casey Mittelstadt, Tyler Bertuzzi, Tyler Seguin, Mikael Granlund, Kyle Palmieri, Bobby McMann, Blake Coleman, Yegor Sharangovich, Philipp Kurashev, Ross Colton, David Perron, Matias Maccelli, Michael Bunting, Alex Killorn, Danton Heinen, Jake Sanderson, Mike Matheson, Seth Jones, Brock Faber, Bowen Byram, Noah Hanifin, Filip Hronek, Thomas Harley, Travis Sanheim, Owen Power, Torey Krug, Mattias Ekholm, Darren Raddysh, Cam Fowler, Neal Pionk, Pavel Mintyukov, Ivan Provorov, Justin Faulk, Cam York, Pyotr Kochetkov, Alex Nedeljkovic, Jake Allen, Anthony Stolarz, Joey Daccord, Ilya Samsonov, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Jonathan Quick, Philipp Grubauer, Laurent Brossoit, Casey DeSmith, Elvis Merzlikins, Devon Levi, Justus Annunen, Dustin Wolf