Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire: Priority pickups for playoffs
By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
It's the fantasy playoffs, so congrats to those who made it! And for everyone else, I'M VERY DISAPPOINTED IN YOU! (Just kidding. Now go outside and enjoy the less terrible weather.)
No matter if you're fighting for the next round or lucked out with a bye, there's always room to tune up your rosters. And as luck would have it, there are a few players listed below who may just help in some way:
Barrett Hayton, ARI (Yahoo: 46%)
Just six weeks ago, Hayton was available in 96 percent of Yahoo leagues. The huge jump in coverage can obviously be attributed to his 21 points in 21 games to go with 59 shots, 14 PIM and a plus-14. As Arizona's No. 1 center, Hayton logs close to 20 minutes a night and lines up with Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz both at even strength and on the power play. He's one of the Coyotes' cornerstones, so he'll keep getting enough responsibilities to boost his stats.
Dylan Strome, WAS (Yahoo: 34%)
The Capitals have been slipping, with only three wins from their last nine contests, but one can't blame Strome for their recent woes. After all, he's gone off for five goals, 12 assists and 26 shots across his last 13 outings. Strome still participates with the other big names — including the freshly-returned John Carlson — on the lead man-advantage, where he just established a new career-high in PPPs on Thursday with 18.
William Karlsson, VGK (Yahoo: 26%)
Karlsson's enjoying a solid season thanks in part to avoiding injury, something he hasn't achieved over a full campaign since 2018-19. Skating with skilled forwards hasn't hurt his cause, whether it be regulars Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault or newcomer Pavel Dorofeyev. Karlsson has been hot in March, having posted nine points and 26 shots while averaging 17:02. There's still room for improvement, as his shooting percentage the last month (5.9) was well below his career average (12.5).
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, NYI (Yahoo: 25%)
Pageau was sidelined for a month with an upper-body issue and only returned last week. He's been churning out his usual multi-category production in the four games since, with two goals, four assists, seven shots, 11 hits, seven blocks and 26 faceoff wins. He's also resumed his secondary power play and lead penalty kill places, where he's combined for 11 points. Even though Pageau sits within the lower-half of the Isles' depth chart at five-on-five, he generally handles a lot of ice time.
Denis Malgin, COL (Yahoo: 24%)
Evan Rodrigues left Monday's matchup with a concussion and it's unknown as to when he may be back. That opened a vacancy alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen on the first line, one that Malgin immediately capitalized on by recording two goals and an assist while firing three pucks on net — though only his latter tally was with the dynamic duo. He extended that role on Wednesday and didn't find the scoresheet, yet managed three shots, three hits and two blocks. Malgin should be in that prime position for at least a couple more appearances, so you may want to grab him before that opportunity closes.
Yanni Gourde, SEA (Yahoo: 12%)
I'm honestly surprised I hadn't previously talked about Gourde this season since I've already featured many of his teammates. He always seems to be more under-the-radar in fantasy despite a proven track record. Gourde's listed as a middle-six forward on the Kraken depth chart, though he could realistically play anywhere within that lineup. He's someone who can net 40-to-50 points, log a lot of minutes, and contribute decently in the faceoff circle and in the more physical areas. Looking for a lower-lineup addition to push you into the next round? Gourde may be that guy.
Quinton Byfield, LA (Yahoo: 3%)
Byfield proved he was too good for the minors across three seasons but never quite got settled in the NHL. That is, until the last couple months, as he's seamlessly fit beside Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe. During that stretch, the second overall selection from 2020 has accumulated 17 points, 43 shots, 29 hits and a plus-13 on only a 14:33 average. Byfield looks like he's taking that next step in his development on an upward-moving club, and that makes him someone to keep on your fantasy radar.
Luke Evangelista, NSH (Yahoo: 1%)
Unless you're a fan of Canadian junior hockey, you may have not heard of Evangelista before his four-point effort on Tuesday. The Toronto native led the London Knights in scoring last year with 111 points and followed that up by notching 41 over 49 AHL outings before getting his first taste of the bigs. Evangelista looks like he's going to stay in Nashville having already registered five goals and four assists so far, not to mention his 30 shots or his spot on the top power play.
K'Andre Miller, NYR (Yahoo: 50%)
Miller was first brought up here mid-December with the following disclaimer: "He's on pace to shatter his peak of 20 points, but don't expect anything past 30". Oops. The third-year blueliner is already up to 38, including eight from his last eight games, highlighted by four versus Nashville on Sunday. During that same stretch, Miller has also produced 13 shots, 16 hits, 14 blocks, and a plus-9. He's projected to continue that success based on a heavy workload and involvement in all situations.
Damon Severson, NJ (Yahoo: 21%)
Even though Severson's ice time has been significantly reduced since John Marino's reintroduction, he's been productive during March with two goals, seven assists, 16 shots and 21 blocks. He's also a regular on Jersey's backup power play, where he's notched four PPPs and operates as a secondary shorthanded participant. Severson may not be provide huge amounts of fantasy output, but there's enough of it spread across a few categories.
Travis Hamonic, OTT (Yahoo: 7%)
Hamonic has never really been known for his offensive numbers over his 13 years in the NHL, though he's compiled an impressive overall haul this month, tallying eight points supplemented by 26 shots, 21 hits and 25 blocks. This stretch also coincides with the arrival of Jakob Chychrun in Ottawa, a key blueline addition who's mainly paired with Hamonic at even-strength. As the Senators are technically still in the playoff race, this partnership will be called upon to do its part, and that means Hamonic should keep getting opportunities to add to his totals.
Cam York, PHI (Yahoo: 1%)
Endorsing someone on the league's worst power play who's managed two PPAs all season doesn't seem like a great idea. It gets even more far-fetched when you consider York has only picked up four helpers through 19 outings. At the same time, he sometimes joins Tony DeAngelo on the top man-advantage, and opportunity calls in the coming week as the Flyers face two of the worst penalty kills in the Habs and Sabres. Can York capitalize? Taking a flyer on him wouldn't hurt.
Joel Hofer, STL (Yahoo: 29%)
The Blues have struggled to keep pucks out of the net this season. Jordan Binnington has turned in another subpar year and is coming off another suspension, during which Hofer was promoted. The 2020 WJC top goalie was immediately installed as the starter and won his first two, including a shutout in his hometown of Winnipeg on Sunday. Hofer then struggled early both times against Detroit this week but allowed a combined one goal the rest of the way and suffered his only defeat in a shootout. With Binnington struggling and St. Louis looking to the future, expect Hofer to keep receiving more opportunities the rest of the way.
Alex Stalock, CHI (Yahoo: 9%)
Don't look now, but the Blackhawks have climbed up all the way up to 24th in goals against. A lot of that is thanks to Stalock. Since returning from a concussion, the veteran has posted a 3.10 GAA and .910 save percentage through seven appearances. That may not sound great until you compare those marks with the team's 3.56/.900 split. Even with Petr Mrazek set to rejoin soon following his third groin injury of the campaign, Stalock should handle the bulk of the action.