Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire: Brock Boeser leads pickups to target this week
Boeser should be a lock for consistent top-six and top power play minutes with Bo Horvat no longer in the mix in Vancouver.
Working the waiver wire is crucial to any championship fantasy hockey season. Finding players to work into your lineup every single week who 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 that 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: Brock Boeser, RW - VAN (43% rostered)
Boeser came into the All-Star break on a high with a two-assist game against Columbus on Jan. 27. Since then, the Canucks have announced that Ilya Mikheyev will miss the rest of the season due to injury and captain Bo Horvat has been traded. To me, that signals that, for as long as Brock Boeser is in Vancouver, he should be an absolute lock for top power play and top-six minutes. This week, the Canucks have a four-game, three-off night schedule that is very appealing to any manager trying to maximize their games played. One last tidbit on Boeser: Since new Canucks coach Rick Tocchet took over on Jan. 23, Boeser has averaged over 18 minutes of ice time. I’m back in on Boeser in a big way given the events of the past couple of weeks in Vancouver.
Honourable Mentions: Logan Couture, C - SJS (45%) & Andrei Kuzmenko, LW/RW - VAN (50%)
Rostered in 31-40% of Leagues: Andre Burakovsky, LW/RW - SEA (40% rostered)
There are two teams that play four games this week while avoiding Saturday’s mammoth 14-game slate. Those two teams are Anaheim and Seattle, making Burakovsky a prime target in leagues where he’s available. Burakovsky has quieted down after an extremely hot start but remains one of the top offensive options on a Seattle team that has learned to score in bunches of late. Burakovsky has maintained his spot on the top power play unit nearly the entire season, making him a very safe option to garner at least a couple of points this week. I’m very interested in firing up any of the top options on the Kraken, and Burakovsky represents the top tier of potential streamers there for me along with the next player on this list.
Honourable Mentions: Andrew Mangiapane, LW/RW - CGY (33%) & Boone Jenner, C - CBJ (33%)
Rostered in 21-30% of Leagues: Jared McCann, C/LW - SEA (30% rostered)
McCann is the other player I would place in the Burakovsky tier among the forwards commonly available from the Kraken. McCann was hot coming into the All-Star break with four points in his last three games to go with eleven shots on goal. His ice time increased in those three games as well, averaging nearly 19 minutes per game in that stretch. If I had assurances McCann would maintain that level of usage all week, I would place him in a tier of his own among streaming options for the week. As it stands, I’d still take McCann over Burakovsky straight up for this matchup if you’re making that choice this week. One little bonus for Seattle players: they also play three games next week, making them viable as more than just a one-week stream.
Honourable Mentions: Pavel Zacha, C/LW/RW - BOS (27%) & Filip Chytil, C/RW - NYR (29%)
Rostered in 0-20% of Leagues: Adam Henrique, C/LW - ANA (17% rostered)
Henrique might be one of the few players across the league who wasn’t ready for a break last week, as he was fresh off a seven-game point streak in which he scored six goals and nine points. Even though that streak was snapped in the final game before the break, Henrique still fired five shots, the fifth-straight game in which he recorded at least three shots on goal. It’s fair to say that Henrique is heating up in a big way and if there’s any lucrative spot to be had in the offensive wasteland that is the Ducks’ forward corps currently, it’s riding shotgun with Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry on the top line. Henrique is proving to be a perfect fit there and on the top power play unit, making him a top-tier streaming option for this week in which the Ducks have that coveted four game/four off-night schedule.
Honourable Mentions: Nick Schmaltz, C/RW - ARI (18%) & Mason McTavish, C/LW - ANA (16%)
Rostered in 26-50% of Leagues: Erik Gustafsson - WSH (42%)
Gustafsson recently went through a dry spell where he only recorded a pair of assists across nine games. But in the last game before the All-Star break Gustafsson equaled that production with two assists in a 4-3 win against Columbus. Gustafsson also fired five shots in that game, the second time in four games that he had managed that feat. John Carlson appears to still be weeks away from returning, meaning that Gustafsson’s hold on the top power play unit in Washington is still secure for the immediate future. The Capitals don’t play their first game of the week until Saturday, so try to find another player from one of the half-dozen teams that play three games in the first five days of the week and then get Gustafsson on your roster for Washington’s Saturday/Sunday back-to-back to close out your week.
Honourable Mentions: Radko Gudas - FLA (45%) & Sean Durzi - LAK (34%)
Rostered in 0-25% of Leagues: Alexander Romanov - NYI (18% rostered)
Romanov is exclusively a bangers categories play, as the hard-hitting defender is currently mired in a seven-game pointless streak. But Romanov is a premier play for anyone looking to take down those key hits and blocks categories this week for two primary reasons. The first is that Romanov is a very consistent and high-end producer in those categories, averaging 2.5 hits and 1.9 blocks per game on the season. The second is that prime schedule: the Islanders are one of nine teams to play four games this week, so you can get lots of volume out of a Romanov stream this week. As long as you’re not counting on him to ring up a bunch of points, Romanov can absolutely help you win those peripheral categories this week.
Honourable Mentions: Cam Fowler - ANA (17%) & Calen Addison - MIN (10%)
Rostered in 26-50% of Leagues: Anton Forsberg - OTT (49% rostered)
Ottawa only has a single game this week coming out of the All-Star break, but keep an eye out for Forsberg. The only word out of Ottawa regarding goaltending counterpart Cam Talbot so far is that he may not be ready to return from his injury just yet, so Forsberg could continue his recent run of games. Forsberg has struggled with consistency this year, but won three straight starts going into the break, including a shutout of Montreal back on Jan. 28. If he’s able to keep Ottawa in the win column, there’s every chance that they turn the keys over to him for the rest of the season. Keep in mind that Forsberg got red hot at about this point last year and his fantasy managers were able to ride that performance to plenty of championships.
Honourable Mentions: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen - BUF (40%) & Phoenix Copley - LAK (48%)
Rostered in 0-25% of Leagues: Jake Allen - MTL (21% rostered)
There aren’t a lot of stellar goaltending options in this range this week, but Allen is probably the surest bet here to provide volume moving forward. Sam Montembeault had a nice run in the Montreal goal, but with Allen back and healthy, he’s gotten two of the last three starts. It’s tough to project many wins in Allen’s future given Montreal’s status as a hopeful in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, but he’ll almost certainly see a ton of rubber in every start. Allen can be a viable option if your league counts saves as a category or assigns a heavy points weight to volume stats. The caveat here is that Montreal doesn’t play until Saturday so hold your add until then and use that roster spot elsewhere in the meantime.
Honourable Mentions: James Reimer - SJS (20%) & Joonas Korpisalo - CBJ (10%)
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.