This article is part of our NHL Waiver Wire series.
We're one week in and everything is up in the air. The Sabres and Red Wings are young but may be ready to battle it out. No surprises with the Canes and Stars. And congrats to the one person who correctly predicted the Flyers would become a defensive juggernaut (Wednesday wasn't the best, but four goals in Florida isn't terrible) while the Wild would suddenly forget how to play D. (Did I mention I traded for Marc-Andre Fleury right before the season? Because that happened and I'm totally not worried about it. The win on Thursday is a good start.)
There's still so much left in the season that you don't need to panic after an early fantasy setback and/or a couple injuries. Just regroup, reassess, and refuel. A great way to add talent is to head over to the waiver wire, where all the players are free! That is, unless someone else gets to them first.
Grab a seat and check out these widely-available NHLers. They should be able to help in any format and skill level, though some may not be ideal for shallower/beginner leagues. Your kilometerage may vary.
(Rostered rates as of Oct. 21)
Travis Konecny, PHI (Yahoo: 47%): John Tortorella has installed a new system in Philly, and the players have responded. Konecny has shot out of the gate with four goals, two assists, 15 shots and five hits across the first four games. He's leading the way on the top even-strength and power-play units and is skating over 20 minutes a night with hefty helpings on both special-teams groups. Even if the Flyers eventually slip down the rankings, don't expect Konecny to do the same.
Gabriel Vilardi, LA (Yahoo: 43%): Following a goal and assist in the opener, Vilardi got the bump up to LA's lead man-advantage and opened his account there on Tuesday with a PPG. It's not often you see a third-liner among the NHL scoring leaders, though he's in there so far with seven points. Vilardi's ice time in previous years hovered in the 13-to-14 minute range, but now it's above 16 and still trending upwards.
Boone Jenner, CLS (Yahoo: 40%): Jenner has mostly been overlooked in standard scoring formats for years as a result of, well, not consistently scoring. It's when other categories are included that he become a star. Jenner fared well across the board last season with 44 points, 160 shots, 80 hits, 56 blocks and 649 faceoff wins in only 59 contests. As Columbus's top center, he has the advantage of lining up with newcomer Johnny Gaudreau and — before he got hurt — Patrik Laine. Jenner is once again racking up the numbers, with three assists, 20 shots, eight hits, 10 blocks and a league-leading 78 faceoff wins.
Jake DeBrusk, BOS (Yahoo: 38%): Speaking of forwards whose stock is rapidly rising, DeBrusk is loving life on the first line. He got hurt in Game 1 and was forced to miss the next outing, but he went on to produce two goals, three assists, nine shots and a plus-5 from the next two. DeBrusk is also on the No. 1 power play, though he's produced nothing there yet. There's a chance his prime placement will go away once Brad Marchand comes back, though that probably won't be for at least another month.
Oliver Bjorkstrand, SEA (Yahoo: 30%): It may have taken some time for Bjorkstrand to get the hang of the NHL, but he made up for it over the last three campaigns, totalling 137 points, 520 shots and 179 hits across 185 games. His horrendous plus-minus probably won't improve much in Seattle, though his other stats will tend to hide that. Bjorkstrand is technically on the Kraken's backup man-advantage, yet both units contain similar skill and output. Look for the Dane to be a workhorse up front and a steady contributor.
Ivan Barbashev, STL (Yahoo: 29%): Barbashev broke out last year with 60 points teaming up with Vladimir Tarasenko and Robert Thomas on what was essentially St. Louis's top trio. He's been moving between lines and occasionally operates as center, but he's better known as a winger (and qualifies at both C and LW in Yahoo). Barbashev is primed to do more with an expanded power-play role and should keep being serviceable when it comes to shots (111 in 2021-22) and hits (160).
Mikael Granlund, NSH (Yahoo: 23%): Granlund went off for 64 points last year, including 28 on the power play. He's registered an assist in four of six appearances while centering the top line and participating in all situations. Based on those credentials, it's baffling as to how Granlund can still be picked up in roughly three out of four leagues. Perhaps it's due to the fact he's only eligible as a C in Yahoo, a position that's considerably deep. At the same time, you're not going to find a comparable pivot in this coverage range.
Jason Zucker, PIT (Yahoo: 5%): With all of Pittsburgh's big guns healthy for the first time in a while, the team's forward skill can be spread further down the depth chart. As the groups currently shake out, Zucker is skating alongside Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust at five-on-five. He's also a part of the Pens' second power play, which was once considered an afterthought since the first unit used to almost take up the entire two minutes. But with the addition of Jeff Petry as a legit second QB and Rickard Rakell in his first full season with the club, that outlook has changed. Zucker's not going to be a major producer, but he's a nice flyer with moderate upside who's widely available.
Samuel Girard, COL (Yahoo: 25%): Girard has produced at least 23 points per season since debuting for the Preds as a 19-year-old. He accumulated 32 over 48 games in 2020, but his role has diminished with Cale Makar, Devon Toews, and Bowen Byram earning plenty of time on Colorado's back line. With Toews hurting on Wednesday, Girard assumed more ice time while continuing to cover the point of the Avs' second power play. Even if Toews can go tonight, Girard should get plenty of offensive opportunities on a lethal attack.
Calen Addison, MIN (Yahoo: 21%): Jared Spurgeon had operated as Minny's lead power play quarterback the last few years, but now it's Addison's turn. The 2018 second-rounder hasn't disappointed, recording six assists, including four while up a man. Addison's overall minutes aren't great, yet he's averaging 4:59 with the numerical advantage. He'll fire pucks on net and will get a nice point haul, but there won't be much in the physical defensive categories. As long as Addison maintains his premier position, he counts as an above-average commodity.
Filip Hronek, DET (Yahoo: 10%): While Moritz Seider set the fantasy world on fire last season, Hronek posted a very respectable 38 points and 133 shots. With the big German struggling a bit to start the year, Hronek has stepped back on the Wings' top power play, where he recorded an assist Tuesday. He's also accumulated seven shots, seven hits and three blocks across three games. Seider will undoubtedly recover and reclaim his rightful place atop Detroit's D hierarchy, but Hronek offers enough to make it onto your roster.
Janis Moser, ARI (Yahoo: 2%): Moser arrived in North America last year and quickly excelled, recording five goals and seven assists in 18 AHL matchups. He was subsequently promoted and ended up with four and 11 from 43 appearances at the highest level. Jakob Chychrun hasn't fully recovered from summer surgeries, which has allowed Moser a lot more responsibility. He's joined forces with Shayne Gostisbehere on Arizona's first man-advantage, where he's notched all three of his assists. Regardless when Chychrun returns — or gets traded — Moser should be set up to succeed.
Mackenzie Blackwood, NJ (Yahoo: 9%): Vitek Vanecek was acquired by the Devils during the offseason to provide a solid presence between the pipes. His debut versus Detroit didn't turn out so well, as he gave up five goals on 22 shots. Since his promising NHL start, Blackwood has suffered through injuries. His first start this season wasn't great either, but he turned it around with victories over the Ducks and Islanders. The duo may end up rotating, but it's Blackwood who currently holds the upper hand.
Petr Mrazek, CHI (Yahoo: 6%): The Blackhawks — like a few other clubs — decided to detonate their goaltending and start fresh this year. Mrazek hasn't had much luck staying healthy of late and has often been part of a tandem, but it looks like he's being tabbed as Chicago's No. 1. The organization is in the midst of a rebuild, though the blueline has held its own in three road contests. Alex Stalock turned back 37 of 38 shots in Vegas, but he spent a few seasons away from the game. Similar to Jake Allen last week, Mrazek could help in fantasy simply due to the fact he'll be receiving most of the starts.
(Players to consider from past columns: Andrei Kuzmenko, Mason McTavish, David Krejci, Ryan Strome, Max Domi, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Sean Durzi, Brandon Montour, Justin Schultz, James Reimer, Jake Allen)