NHL Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week

NHL Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our NHL Waiver Wire series.

It's a new month. The perfect time to start fresh after a tough start in fantasy. Or for those doing well, a reminder to keep things going while maintaining expectations.

Regardless which situation you're in, there's always room for recruits. Here are some NHLers who may be of service.

(Rostered rates as of Dec. 1)

Forwards

Matty Beniers, SEA (Yahoo: 39%): Beniers took home the Calder Trophy and looked to prolong that success into year two, but it didn't initially go off as planned with no points from his first four games and only three in his first 10. That lack of production resulted in a significant coverage decrease, which is starting to creep back up following his four goals and five assists since Nov. 4, supplemented by 22 shots. Beniers has also logged 18:36 over that span, including 3:06 on the power play where he's produced three points (and five overall).

Nick Schmaltz, ARI (Yahoo: 27%): There are currently 29 NHL forwards who boast an average ice time over 20 minutes. Most of them are household names with plenty of experience. Some are young stars — like Tim Stutzle and his league-leading 22:17 — looking to build their careers. And others would be best classified as hard workers who often get overlooked. Schmaltz fits into that last category and has racked up six goals, 11 assists and 48 shots so far. Not to mention, eight of those points have come while up a man. Getting to skate

It's a new month. The perfect time to start fresh after a tough start in fantasy. Or for those doing well, a reminder to keep things going while maintaining expectations.

Regardless which situation you're in, there's always room for recruits. Here are some NHLers who may be of service.

(Rostered rates as of Dec. 1)

Forwards

Matty Beniers, SEA (Yahoo: 39%): Beniers took home the Calder Trophy and looked to prolong that success into year two, but it didn't initially go off as planned with no points from his first four games and only three in his first 10. That lack of production resulted in a significant coverage decrease, which is starting to creep back up following his four goals and five assists since Nov. 4, supplemented by 22 shots. Beniers has also logged 18:36 over that span, including 3:06 on the power play where he's produced three points (and five overall).

Nick Schmaltz, ARI (Yahoo: 27%): There are currently 29 NHL forwards who boast an average ice time over 20 minutes. Most of them are household names with plenty of experience. Some are young stars — like Tim Stutzle and his league-leading 22:17 — looking to build their careers. And others would be best classified as hard workers who often get overlooked. Schmaltz fits into that last category and has racked up six goals, 11 assists and 48 shots so far. Not to mention, eight of those points have come while up a man. Getting to skate alongside Clayton Keller and Logan Cooley can't hurt either.

Nino Niederreiter, WPG (Yahoo: 25%): Niederreiter has found it difficult to live up to being a fifth-overall selection. He had some good years in Minnesota and Carolina, but nothing spectacular. Inconsistency with the Predators last season eventually landed Niederreiter in Winnipeg at the deadline, where he'd go on to post 17 points across the final 27 contests. The offensive dependability remains erratic, yet he's at six goals and eight assists while averaging 2.5 shots per game. Niederreiter's hit total is a bit low due to the fact linemates Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton are handling that area, though there's enough elsewhere to at least be worth an add.

Andrew Mangiapane, CGY (Yahoo: 18%): A recent move up the depth chart helped Mangiapane register eight points, 21 shots, 21 PIM, 19 hits and seven blocks during the month of November. And it wasn't like he was previously in inferior standing, since anywhere within the Flames' top-nine theoretically represents a favorable placement based on their first three centers. Mangiapane's attacking skills are well-established and he's receiving increased opportunities to score. As long as he can keep the stats flowing, there's no reason he should still be available in roughly 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Yakov Trenin, NSH (Yahoo: 5%): There are niche performers who can do one thing great. And then there are those who can extend their fantasy portfolio. Trenin has been known for being good at laying out opponents during his brief NHL tenure, but he probably wanted more. And now he's getting additional chances to do so with an increase in ice time that's been up around 17 minutes the last couple weeks, a stretch in which he's tallied four goals and an assist. Trenin probably won't be able to sustain this kind of offense, though a recent move to the second power play could create a previously missing form of production.

Adam Henrique, ANH (Yahoo: 5%): Henrique has been blessed with talented linemates all the way from junior to the present. He's experienced a few physical issues the last few years, but his numbers remain better than you'd expect and he's usually flanked up front by at least one above-average player. The problem is Henrique gets pushed down the order when management decides to insert Leo Carlsson back into the lineup. It may be difficult to predict when that would happen, yet Henrique somehow consistently logs sufficient minutes and finds his way on the scoresheet while shooting a few pucks and chipping in some supplementary stats. Low-risk, medium-at-worst reward.

Jonathan Drouin, COL (Yahoo: 4%): Drouin has endured his fair share of hardships, so it's nice that he landed in Colorado to team up with former QMJHL teammate Nathan MacKinnon. The two don't play together at five-on-five, though they're back at it on the first man-advantage that also features Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen. Drouin wasn't able to stay with the big guns early on, but he's getting another go and has posted a pair of PPPs in the last week. That's about as cushy a spot that one can have. Take a chance on Drouin and see how it goes. You can always throw him back if it doesn't work out.

Jason Dickinson, CHI (Yahoo: 4%): It's tough to endorse a Chicago forward who doesn't share any on-ice connection to Connor Bedard, yet here we are. Dickinson has quietly put up six goals — including a hat-trick last Friday — four assists, 21 shots, 11 hits, nine blocks and a plus-7 across 12 matchups. That's pretty solid for someone who centers the third line and gets scraps on the second power play. Don't expect Dickinson to keep it going on the points side, but he'll continue to get it done in other departments and on the penalty kill.

Defensemen

Torey Krug, STL (Yahoo: 28%): Injuries have hurt Krug's offensive totals in recent years, though a career-low of 32 points still qualifies as a decent haul. He began the current campaign scoreless in 10 games before notching a goal and five assists from the next four. The same pattern followed as Krug went 0-for-4 and then grabbed four assists over four matchups. The attacking stats may not come at a high rate, yet he quarterbacks the Blues' top power play and has been solid elsewhere having accumulated 47 shots, 36 blocks and 15 hits while averaging over 21 minutes of ice time — including 26:30 on Tuesday.

Sean Walker, PHI (Yahoo: 28%): Walker's coverage numbers have steadily climbed due to a role boost and subsequent production. During his time in LA, he never held much in the way of power-play responsibility. But Walker's been occasionally involved on both units and recorded his first PPP along with another four helpers and a goal over a four-game stretch earlier this month. He's also adept while shorthanded having already posted three points (two of those shorthanded goals). And when Walker's not scoring, there's enough shots (44), blocks (37), and hits (29) to compensate on a career-high 21:15 a night.

Jordan Spence, LA (Yahoo: 1%): Most blueliners who average around 15 minutes can generally be ignored in fantasy. The player would have to offer something useful to even come under consideration. Spence skates on the Kings' third duo at even strength yet maintains a place on their solid second man-advantage, where he's managed a pair of PPAs. He's not consistent at firing pucks on net and his physical categories are passable, though the nine overall assists — and 97 points over two AHL years — show his offensive potential.

Adam Boqvist, CLS (Yahoo: 1%): Boqvist has experienced issues staying in the lineup throughout his career, and that continued into this season as he was a healthy scratch for a number of outings. His services were once again required on a lengthier basis when Damon Severson went down last week. And as Severson was lining up on Columbus's backup power play alongside Ivan Provorov, that's where Boqvist now operates based on his previous success while up a man. The eighth pick from 2018 didn't take long to find the scoresheet with two assists in his second full-time appearance. Even though zeroes populate the rest of Boqvist's scoring column, his power play placement alone should get him on more rosters. Note that Severson is projected to be back by the end of the year, so Boqvist's enhanced situation may only be temporary. 

Goaltenders

Jonathan Quick, NYR (Yahoo: 43%): Following a few less-than-stellar seasons to close out his time in LA and a brief stay in Vegas to earn a third Cup (without participating during the 2023 playoffs), Quick wasn't considered fantasy-relevant upon his summer move to join the Rangers. After all, Igor Shesterkin was primed to take the majority of starts…until he missed a couple weeks in November due to injury. But even before that, Quick had established himself with significant road wins against Seattle and Edmonton. Shesterkin has looked decent across five appearances since returning while Quick has filled in the gaps by earning a second shutout last Wednesday in Pittsburgh and coming out on top versus Boston on Saturday. The veteran won't usurp Shesterkin for the No. 1 role, though he's earned more opportunities and will probably start the second half of a back-to-back Sunday against the Sharks.

Mackenzie Blackwood, SJ (Yahoo: 11%): Speaking of San Jose, their early — and totally expected — woes were well-documented as the club dropped their first 10 while giving up 10 goals in consecutive contests. Their fortunes have improved by going 5-6-1 with help from both netminders. Despite Kaapo Kahkonen's current two-game winning streak, Blackwood has taken most of the action and lists a 2.65 GAA and .923 save percentage from his last nine outings. The Sharks will continue to struggle, but sometimes volume means enough for fantasy consumption. If Blackwood can keep the lead spot, he'll be able to help your lineups by making a lot of saves while earning a few Ws.

Players to consider from past columns: Pavel Zacha, Seth Jarvis, Ryan O'Reilly, Logan Cooley, William Karlsson, Wyatt Johnston, Quinton Byfield, Sam Bennett, Jaden Schwartz, Josh Norris, Robert Thomas, Nazem Kadri, Cole Perfetti, Ryan Johansen, Adam Fantilli, J.T. Compher, Alex Iafallo, Dylan Strome, Brayden Schenn, Charlie Coyle, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Trevor Moore, Lawson Crouse, Ryan Strome, John-Jason Peterka, Tyler Seguin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Cam Atkinson, Sean Couturier, Eeli Tolvanen, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Kirill Marchenko, Matias Maccelli, Leo Carlsson, Matthew Knies, Alex Newhook, Jake Sanderson, Owen Power, Mike Matheson, Filip Hronek, Zach Werenski, Noah Hanifin, Erik Gustafsson, Bowen Byram, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Pavel Mintyukov, Neal Pionk, Travis Sanheim, Jared Spurgeon, Mattias Ekholm, Ivan Provorov, Janis Moser, Elvis Merzlikins, Connor Ingram, Pyotr Kochetkov, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Charlie Lindgren, Anton Forsberg, Sam Montembeault

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Evan Berofsky
Evan Berofsky enjoys writing. Seriously. When he’s not trying to shove hockey miscellany down your throat, he gets his kicks playing tournament Scrabble(TM). If you have anything to say about Evan’s work (or need any hot word tips), feel free to contact him at eberofsky@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter (@evanberofsky).
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