Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Take a flier on Oliver Wahlstrom

·8-min read

By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

The Sens aren't completely terrible. Just ask every other team in the North Division. But don't ask the Oilers (10 goals for vs. 18 against in four games) or Canucks (3 vs. 16 — 16! — in three). After dropping 13 of 14, Ottawa has rebounded with six wins in 10, including recent 5-1 and 6-1 decisions over the "No-we-haven't-really-missed-Jacob Markstrom-but-OK-we-kinda-have" Flames.

It's true: Scoring more than your opponent sometimes works in your favor.

And just like the team from Canada's Capital, your struggling fantasy squad can also turn it around. There's still roughly 60 percent of the season remaining, which leaves lots of games to climb the standings. Don't try to do it all at once; one fix at a time is a more manageable solution.

Need help to make the jump? Check out the latest player news on RotoWire and our other hockey content to set your lineups and manage your rosters, like the following waiver wire article.

Step right up and pick a player. All of them are winners*! No protocol-related delays to mention as of this writing, though that could change.

(*Not a guarantee)

(Yahoo! rostered rates/stats as of March 4.)

Anthony Cirelli, TB (45 percent rostered)

The Lightning seem to find hidden gems, and Cirelli, a 2015 third-round draft pick, is no different. A decent but not eye-popping junior scorer immediately showed a knack for contributing at both ends of the ice. As a result, Cirelli comfortably sits among Tampa Bay's top-six and now lines up with Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn on even-strength. Combine that with decent power-play time and sufficient shorthanded responsibility and you have a solid fantasy commodity.

Martin Necas, CAR (28 percent)

This column has mentioned Vincent Trocheck and Jordan Staal, so it shouldn't be a surprise to see another Carolina forward make the cut. Necas followed a successful AHL effort by notching 36 points in 64 games with the Canes last season. The 12th overall pick in 2017 started 2021 decently, but he's really picked it up since coming back from a minor injury with two goals and eight assists. And even though Necas is on the second man-advantage, he's posted six PPPs, as both units have consistently clicked.

Boone Jenner, CLS (22 percent)

Jenner's offensive numbers significantly dipped in 2019-20, but he maintained sufficient stats across multiple categories. That jack-of-all-departments trend has continued this campaign with 50 shots, 42 hits, 28 blocks, and a top-20-in-NHL 55.2 faceoff winning percentage. Oh, and we didn't even mention the bonus, being Jenner is already up to 13 points — only 11 behind last year's total. The goals and assists probably will slow, but there's enough elsewhere to qualify him as a worthy addition.

Jordan Greenway, MIN (19 percent)

Many have been waiting for Greenway to translate his size and skill to the scoresheet and it's finally paying off. The 6-foot-6 winger has already dished 12 assists and directed 33 shots on net, though he's only potted three goals. Another possible downside is the fact Greenway has managed one power-play assist, but then you realize the Wild have only converted five of SIXTY-SIX attempts. With talented forwards like Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello, and Kevin Fiala, that PP success rate has to improve.

Kasperi Kapanen, PIT (16 percent)

When the Pens used a first-round pick to acquire Kapanen, some questioned the move. After all, he only amassed 80 points in two full seasons in Toronto. Kapanen's stock rose when it was implied he'd get a long look with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin before joining his new club. It took a few appearances to get used to everything, but he's produced five goals and seven assists from 18. And due to an absence, Kapanen is getting a look on the top power play, where he tallied one of his two markers Tuesday.

Frank Vatrano, FLA (7 percent)

Vatrano has never been a huge point achiever, but he's generally reliable when it comes to getting goals. He's keeping that habit going with seven so far in addition to 62 shots — or an average of three per game. Vatrano has scored in three straight and is being provided with additional minutes after being bumped up to the first line while sticking with the Panthers' second man-advantage group.

Oliver Wahlstrom, NYI (6 percent)

Wahlstrom went to Sweden last fall to prepare and posted eight points in 10 appearances, though he was immediately installed on the Isles' taxi squad out of training camp. He didn't appear in any of the opening six outings, finally netted a goal on his debut, and was promptly back as a DNP three days later. Wahlstrom's ice time has been rather low in the 13 since, but he's somehow accumulated three goals and four assists, with five of those counting as PPPs. He seems to have built a rapport with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, which can only help. And if Wahlstrom starts receiving more minutes — and he should, because the team lacks offense — then he can potentially end up with respectable scoring stats.

New York Islanders right wing Oliver Wahlstrom (26)
Consider adding Oliver Wahlstrom. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Carl Soderberg, CHI (5 percent)

At 35, Soderberg is on his third team in three seasons. For someone advanced in age and prone to travel, one might not have expected him to do well in Chicago. But with nine points across 18, he's merely prolonging his record from the last three years of averaging at least half-a-point per contest, including eight from the last eight. Soderberg rotates among the top three lines and has been known to show up on the Blackhawks' league-leading power play, or so his two PPGs would indicate.

Defensemen

Mattias Ekholm, NSH (21 percent)

Entering 2021, Ekholm averaged 34 points the previous five years. The run looked destined to stop after only producing three assists in the opening 12 games and then missing six with a lower-body injury, but he's come back to form with three goals and a helper from three supplemented by a hefty 14 shots. Ryan Ellis is out for up to six weeks, which should allow Ekholm to fill a prime vacancy and continue his recent success.

Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI (6 percent)

I may have discounted Gostisbehere back in January when discussing Erik Gustafsson, but it seems the two have swapped places in the Flyers lineup. After a few games for the Swede as the lead PP D, it's now Ghost Bear's job to reclaim. He's had to ease his way back into the lineup after missing the first six matchups but is starting to show signs of the guy who racked up 65 points in 2017-18, with a pair of performances last week totaling three points and 12 shots.

K'Andre Miller, NYR (3 percent)

For someone who hasn't played defense for that long, it's great to see what Miller has achieved so far. Two excellent seasons at the University of Wisconsin has vaulted him right into the Rangers' fold, where he's gradually become a regular. Miller has put up a modest five points and gathered some hits and blocks, but his power-play potential is something to monitor after recently receiving a boost in special-teams minutes.

Christian Djoos, DET (0 percent)

Maybe it's not the best idea to tout someone from the league's second-worst power play, but at least Djoos operates as the top unit QB and you won't find many others available in the same position. There are the obvious plus-minus risks and not much in the way of physical stats, but he's started to come through on his sufficient role with two PPPs from the last three games.

Goaltenders

Thatcher Demko, VAN (46 percent)

After Jacob Markstrom followed the money to Calgary, Braden Holtby was brought in as an experienced netminder who could provide serious competition for the top job. That hasn't necessarily gone as planned for the former Cup champ, as he's struggled to a 3.56 GAA and .893 save percentage. Demko endured a rocky start with 16 goals allowed in his first three outings and has turned it around with 2.46/.920 marks — including his first shutout — from the last 12. The Canucks might look shaky at times defensively, but Demko appears to be the one they're trusting to handle most of the goaltending.

Laurent Brossoit, WPG (9 percent)

Guessing when NHL backup goalies will start — or any goalies, for that matter — should be its own fantasy game. There's still enough relevant information announced right before puck drop. And even then, things could change again. There's enough merit to pick up a No. 2 as a short-team replacement/daily streaming option provided he's good and reliable. Connor Hellebuyck firmly stands as the Jets' lead with 17 starts, though he's lost seven. Brossoit may have only made five appearances this season, but he's done most with his work by posting a sparkling 4-1 record, 2.19 GAA and .936 save percentage.

(Players to consider from past columns: Jack Roslovic, Jordan Staal, Mats Zuccarello, Trevor Zegras, Vincent Trocheck, Pavel Zacha, Dustin Brown, Drake Batherson, William Karlsson, Eeli Tolvanen, Jordan Kyrou, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Kevin Labanc, Carter Verhaeghe, Alex Tuch, Paul Stastny, Alex Iafallo, Alex Killorn, Nick Ritchie, Tim Stutzle, Chandler Stephenson, Matt Dumba, Rasmus Andersson, Josh Morrissey, Adam Boqvist, Devon Toews, Nick Leddy, Cam Fowler, Jake Bean, Kevin Lankinen, Chris Driedger, Mike Smith, Matt Murray, Kaapo Kahkonen)