Fantasy hockey: One player to add for each stat category this week

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Here's who to grab on your fantasy hockey league's waiver wire while you still have the chance. (Getty)
Here's who to grab on your fantasy hockey league's waiver wire while you still have the chance. (Getty)

In Week 7 of the fantasy hockey season, 12 NHL teams will be playing four games.

With so many teams having loaded schedules, there are a number of options available on the waiver wire that fantasy managers can look to for some help.

Here are the best players to add for each category this upcoming week.

Goals: C/LW Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks (40 percent rostered on Yahoo)

It's time to get back on the Trevor Zegras bandwagon.

If you're looking for goals, that's exactly what the 20-year-old has been supplying of late. Over the last seven days, Zegras has potted four markers which tie him for fourth-most in the NHL over that span. I've written at length about the 2019 ninth-overall pick this season, including in my latest 10 takeaways column. He's a promising young player that should be added in any league where he's available. He and the Anaheim Ducks have four games scheduled this week, meaning he'll have lots of opportunities to stuff the stat sheet.

Assists: C/RW Mikael Granlund, Nashville Predators (36 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Mikael Granlund is the helping hand your fantasy hockey team needs if you're struggling to win the assists category.

Granlund has been a very effective player for the Nashville Predators this season, his 18 points are second on the Preds, while his 15 helpers are tops on the squad and tied for fifth across the NHL. His seven assists are tied for second-most in the league over the last 14 days, and his recent four-assist outing against the St. Louis Blues marked just the third time any player has hit the mark in a single game this year.

The 29-year-old is a great add in fantasy leagues given his role as the Predators first-line centre and middleman on the first man-advantage unit. He and the Preds play four games this week, so there'll be lots of opportunities to plug the centre into your lineup.

Plus-minus: D Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers (35 percent rostered on Yahoo)

The Edmonton Oilers only play three games this upcoming week, but given their schedule, you'll want to squeeze Evan Bouchard into your lineup if you need a plus-minus boost.

The 22-year-old's plus-two mark isn't anything to write home about, but it's his upcoming schedule that has me targeting him for this specific stat. Edmonton squares off against the Dallas Stars, Arizona Coyotes, and Vegas Golden Knights over the next seven days. The Yotes (-37) own the worst goal differential in the league while the Stars (-8) sit ninth-worst. Vegas owns a respectable plus-two mark, but this is a play against Arizona and Dallas more than anything else.

In addition to plus-minus, Bouchard can offer some decent category coverage. On the year, he has two goals, eight assists, 43 shots on goal, 16 hits, and 26 blocks.

Power-play points: C/LW Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets (28 percent rostered on Yahoo)

The Columbus Blue Jackets' power-play has actually been good during the 2021-22 campaign, and it's one I want to target for the upcoming week.

The Blue Jackets currently own the league's 14th-best man advantage, clicking at a solid 20.4 percent. Boone Jenner is a featured member of the unit, and after it went two-for-four against the Yotes and proved it can take advantage of a favourable matchup, I have faith that it can have success against its upcoming schedule.

Columbus draws the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets, ranking 32nd and 31st on the penalty kill, respectively. These should be prime opportunities for Jenner and the rest of the power play to have success.

Additionally, Jenner has been one of the best face-off men in the league, as he's won 172 draws, which sits eighth.

He and the rest of the Blue Jackets will suit up for four games this week.

Shots on goal: RW Reilly Smith, Vegas Golden Knights (35 percent rostered on Yahoo)

The Vegas Golden Knights only play three games this upcoming week, but Reilly Smith continues to pepper puck stoppers and remains a quality option for fantasy managers looking to bolster their performance in the shots on goal category.

Over his last seven games, Smith has fired three shots or more on net in five outings. Additionally, his 56 shots on the season sit 17th, which makes him one of the better players in the category overall.

Apart from shots, Smith has also been lighting the lamp pretty frequently, too. He's buried five goals over his last six contests.

Faceoff wins: C Josh Norris, Ottawa Senators (47 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Josh Norris' rostered percentage dropped dramatically on Yahoo last week as the Ottawa Senators had three games postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak. While the Norris manager in your league likely rid themselves of the forward to make some space, you should be looking to make room for him on your roster.

At the dot, specifically, Norris has been solid for fantasy. He's won an average of 7.53 draws per game, which sits tied for 40th in the league. In addition to faceoffs, he's also been a solid point producer. Through 15 contests, he's recorded six goals and 10 points, while picking up three on the power play.

Serving as the Sens' top centre, Norris should continue to be productive with four games in Week 7.

Hits: D Rasmus Ristolainen, Philadelphia Flyers (29 percent rostered on Yahoo)

There really aren't many great options available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues for hits, but Rasmus Ristolainen is the best of the bunch.

Unfortunately, most players who produce and can hit are already rostered in most leagues. Ristolainen has been kind of producing, as he's recorded three points in his last six games, so that's something.

But the main reason you're here is for hits. Risto can bang bodies, as evidenced by his 49 hits on the season which rank 21st in the NHL.

The Flyers play four games over the next seven days, meaning Ristolainen should finish right near the top of the league in the category.

Blocks: D Mario Ferraro, San Jose Sharks (18 percent rostered on Yahoo)

If you read my waiver wire column last week, you'd already have Mario Ferraro on your team. If you didn't and you're looking for some help in the blocks department, there's a decent chance he's still available in your league.

I know it's redundant, but I simply can't recommend anybody else for this category. His 50 blocks lead the entire NHL, and he's actually been finding the scoresheet lately, too. Over his last nine games, Ferraro has recorded six points.

The San Jose Sharks' blueliner can also rack up the hits, as his 35 body checks have been enough to help fantasy managers this year, too.

He and the Sharks play four games in Week 7, so he'll likely widen the blocks lead he already has.

Goaltending: G Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars (17 percent rostered on Yahoo)

I've been chasing the Dallas Stars' crease so much this season and I'm running low on patience.

Jake Oettinger has turned aside 63 of the 66 shots he’s faced since being called up to the NHL. His teammate, Anton Khudobin, was lit up for seven goals against the Minnesota Wild last week and hasn't been overly impressive on the season as a whole.

Oettinger's a risky proposition as Braden Holtby could return which could potentially send the youngster to the minors. The upside, however, is that Oettinger proves too good to send back down to the minors and seizes the starter's role.

Also, the other goaltending options available in 50 percent of leagues or more are pretty brutal. This is likely as good as it gets.

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