Fantasy Hockey: Waiver wire pickups ahead of Week 5

·8 min read

By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

The injury bug has spread throughout the league. NHLers dropping out of lineups faster than a vintage Zdeno Chara slapshot.

If this wave hasn't hit your team, it's sure to be coming soon. I was thinking the other day how fortunate my RotoWire Staff Keeper Hockey League has been to avoid any significant casualties and then William Karlsson (broken foot) goes down for six weeks. Karlsson isn't a superstar and I could sub him out before Vegas' weekly debut, but there's a feeling others from the squad will follow him to the training room. (Oh, hi, Jonathan Drouin!)

There's nothing you can do to prevent players from getting hurt, though there's plenty of merit in maintaining a solid bench. Depth is key for riding out a season, especially in today's fast and physical game. IR spots also help, but there's no substitute for a few sound substitutes.

Scroll through RotoWire's hockey content to find the latest news and in-depth material to prepare your lineups.

Should you be down a man or more, a player listed below can help.

(Rostered rates/stats as of Nov. 4.)

Forwards

Jonathan Toews, CHI (Yahoo: 51%)

After a year away from hockey, Toews didn't register a point in his first five games even while averaging more than four minutes of power-play duty. Fortunately, he's hit his stride with six assists from the last six. Lining up as the third-line center doesn't do much to help Toews' cause, though a place alongside Patrick Kane and Co. on Chicago's top man-advantage can't hurt. And there's always a chance the dynamic duo could reunite on a larger scale this season.

Troy Terry, ANH (Yahoo: 42%)

Riding a nine-game point streak is a really good way to get noticed. Just ask Terry, who's racked up seven goals and five assists following a sluggish opener. The Ducks are full of intriguing talent up front with the former NCAA and WJC champ leading the charge. On top of the scoring, Terry has fired 21 pucks on net. That 33.3 percent shooting percentage is bound to drastically decrease, but you can't say no to a top-six forward who's on fire and locked in on the lead power play.

Anaheim Ducks' Troy Terry
Ride the Troy Terry train as long as it lasts. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Matt Duchene, NAS (Yahoo: 34%)

Duchene's coverage has skyrocketed after consecutive two-point tallies, which includes an OT winner and a PPA. He's also impressed by dishing out three assists against Minnesota on Oct. 24. The veteran has moved around the depth chart but looks to have settled in on the first line. Duchene won't net you many faceoffs as a winger, though the 29 shots and prime positioning should at least draw interest.

Marcus Foligno, MIN (Yahoo: 30%)

It's been a while since Marcus could boast of being the more prominent fantasy Foligno, but four goals and four helpers from the first nine contests for someone generally known for his physicality will do that. He's never been much for power-play production throughout his career, yet is already at three PPPs on the Wild's backup unit. Foligno finds himself in the top-six, though that could change once Jordan Greenway returns. And even if he slips to the third trio, there's still the promise of a few points and a lot of hits.

Sean Monahan, CGY (Yahoo: 29%)

Once upon a time, Monahan notched 82 points in a season. I mean, I'm pretty sure he did since I remember seeing it online somewhere. The salad days may be a distant memory for Monahan, but there's always room for dessert. His ice time has reverted to rookie levels, yet he remains a fixture on Calgary's top man-advantage. In fact, all four of his points this season have come while up a man. Monahan appears to be mired lower down the pecking order at even-strength and should only be considered as a mid-roster addition.

Anthony Cirelli, TB (Yahoo: 27%)

Cirelli represents another mainstay in this space over his brief career as he often gets overlooked for Tampa Bay's top talent. But who's going to complain about two goals, five assists, and two-plus minutes a night on both special-teams groups? Throw in 69 faceoff wins and a cushy place in the upper half of the lineup and that sounds like someone who shouldn't be available in roughly three of every four leagues.

Rasmus Asplund, BUF (Yahoo: 13%)

Even though they've stumbled a bit, the Sabres continue to defy expectations. Like the club, not many envisioned Asplund doing much this season. The 2016 second-rounder has turned a few heads with four goals, three assists, 17 shots and a plus-5. One could see a letdown coming, however; Asplund kinda teased these abilities last year when he posted 11 points across 28 outings. Only one PPP, though he's looked solid on Buffalo's first unit.

Jonathan Dahlen, SJ (Yahoo: 8%)

Like Asplund, Dahlen was selected in the second round of 2016. But while the former starred in the AHL, the latter finally broke out in the Swedish Second Division, winning back-to-back league MVPs. That prompted the Sharks to re-sign Dahlen in June and he went on to earn an opening night roster spot. He collected a pair of goals in his second game and proceeded to point in four of the next six. San Jose seems to be playing without any pressure, so scorers such as Dahlen likely will be provided more leeway.

Defensemen

Nate Schmidt, WPG (Yahoo: 34%)

I was *this* close to featuring Schmidt last week, but opted to leave him out. And of course, his coverage continues to increase. Going into Wednesday, Schmidt was tied for third in the league among defenders with eight assists — with five on the power play, the same number as Adam Fox, Tony DeAngelo and Seth Jones. This point pace can't possibly be maintained for the long haul, though he's better positioned to pick up points in Winnipeg than previous stops and can block plenty of shots.

[So many reasons to play Yahoo DFS: Learn more now and get in on the fun]

Adam Larsson, SEA (Yahoo: 26%)

With more minutes comes more responsibility for Larsson in Seattle. There's also the fact the Kraken blueline doesn't contain a lot of established offense, which has led to added attacking opportunities for the former Oiler. Larsson's three helpers and 15 shots aren't anything to get excited about, but that's fine since he mainly earns his fantasy keep via loads of hits (33) and blocks (24).

Brett Pesce, CAR (Yahoo: 11%)

Pesce has hinted at decent scoring stats in the past, with 29 points his personal peak. He never logged much power-play time until now and it's paid off with three PPPs as part of the Canes' second unit. This new role will undoubtedly increase Pesce's shot totals while enhancing other areas as a featured member of the backline, including a nice amount of blocks.

He did leave last night's game with an injury, so keep an eye on his status before adding.

Kale Clague, LA (Yahoo: 1%)

The previous edition mentioned Matt Roy and his significant jump in ice time due to injuries to both Drew Doughty and Sean Walker. There was also a brief word about Clague, though nothing much could be predicted based on him just being called up. After three appearances, it's clear he's the defender the Kings trust to quarterback their first man-advantage with almost 15 minutes combined and a PPA in the first two. That won't last when Doughty returns around the end of the year, but Clague should stay within the attack, having excelled in the AHL for a few seasons.

Goaltenders

Alex Nedeljkovic, DET (Yahoo: 45%)

Nedeljkovic started his Detroit career by giving up seven goals to Tampa Bay, but he's since settled down with a 2.22 GAA and .930 save percentage. Meanwhile, Thomas Greiss has posted a 3.11/.905 line in his five appearances to go with a 3-2 record. Nedeljkovic is 1-2-2, but the team has only provided him 15 goals over six games — and 12 of those came in two games. As the Wings' promising core matures, expect the ex-Carolina freshman sensation's win totals to improve as he cements his place as their workhorse.

Karel Vejmelka, ARI (Yahoo: 4%)

It's no surprise to see the Coyotes at the bottom of the standings as they rank last in the league in both goals for and goals against. Those numbers don't bode well for any goalie, so you're probably wondering why I'm including one from Arizona. Simply put, Vejmelka's recent heroics have at least made his stats respectable. The Czech rookie has produced a 2.54 GAA and .922 save percentage overall, which seems like a miracle considering the situation. Vejmelka shouldn't be your top netminder, but he's a serviceable streaming option and works well in leagues that count saves.

(Players to consider from past columns: Joel Eriksson Ek, Andrew Mangiapane, Lucas Raymond, Andrew Copp, Boone Jenner, Yanni Gourde, Michael Bunting, Owen Tippett, Robert Thomas, Mikael Granlund, Rasmus Andersson, Jamie Drysdale, Moritz Seider, John Gibson, Craig Anderson, Adin Hill, Mikko Koskinen)

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