Fantasy Hockey Week 3: Top 10 Waiver Wire Pickups

With a busier schedule in the third week of the NHL, we look at players that are worth picking up, streaming, and who to avoid for your fantasy hockey teams.

Though the New York Islanders have found their game, avoid them this week, as they are the only team that plays one game. Teams to be wary of that only play twice are the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators, and Ottawa Senators. This doesn’t mean don’t consider picking up a player from the team, but there may be better options with more opportunities to get you points.

The Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, and Montreal Canadiens all play four games this week to maximize your points.

(Rostered as of Oct. 25)

Forwards

Lucas Raymond, Detroit Red Wings (19.9% rostered)

Raymond has shown that he is an early candidate for the Calder Trophy, recording four goals and seven points in his first six games in the NHL. He joins Steve Yzerman as the only teenagers to score a hat trick in Red Wings history. Raymond is also one of three teenagers to record four points in a game, joining Yzerman and Gordie Howe — some pretty good company. (“‘It was fun, for sure’: Lucas Raymond’s 3 goals power Red Wings past Blackhawks, The Detroit News, Oct. 24, 2021)

Lucas Raymond, Detroit Red Wings
Lucas Raymond, Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

With Jakub Vrana out to start the season, Raymond has assumed first-line duties beside Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi, forming instant chemistry and scoring at will. He’s also serving on the top power-play unit — pick him up while he’s hot, as he can easily play great all season.

Marcus Foligno, Minnesota Wild (14.6%)

Though Foligno is on the third line for the Wild, it’s been a very efficient unit thus far and challenges to be one of the best in the league. He has points in four of the five games and adds another element that many fantasy owners struggle with: penalty minutes. Just like his points, he has gotten penalty minutes in four of the five games as well. On a Minnesota team that spreads out the wealth more throughout the lineup, Foligno is a good addition to cover you in multiple categories.

Viktor Arvidsson, Los Angeles Kings (18.5%)

Arvidsson is a sneaky addition. Though the Kings haven’t gotten off to the greatest of starts, the offence hasn’t been an issue. He lines up beside Anze Kopitar on the left wing and will benefit from the ice time and skill he is playing with. Kopitar has been nothing short of spectacular. With the rate at which Arvidsson shoots the puck, more goals will start to go in. A bonus is that he also gets first power-play minutes on top of skating on the first line.

Mikael Granlund, Nashville Predators (13.6%)

In the past, Mikael Granlund has been known to start very slow and pick it up later in the season. That’s not the case this time, as he is off to a good start for the Predators. He has five points in the first six games of the season on a team that isn’t known to score the most. With added pressure on guys like Granlund, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Johansen to produce offensively this season, Granlund has answered the call. He is playing a ton as well, as he’s logged 21:51, 20:15, and 22:30 of ice time the last three games.

Jakub Voracek, Columbus Blue Jackets (25.9%)

The Columbus Blue Jackets have again been underestimated after losing more high-end pieces this offseason. Voracek was the return for Cam Atkinson from Philadelphia, and it looked like the Blue Jackets had lost that trade. He has produced thus far for his team and is skating on the first line beside Patrik Laine, who is showing signs of a bounce-back campaign. Voracek is playing at a point-per-game pace through five games and has recorded four of those points on the power play. He hasn’t been known to take a ton of penalties, but early on he has eight penalty minutes, which is something to watch for and can add value to him.

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Defence

Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers (11.4%)

The Oilers defence group has performed much better than anyone had predicted to this point, but maybe the most surprising is the level at which Evan Bouchard is playing. In only the fifth game of the season, he was elevated to the top pairing with Darnell Nurse for their game against the Vegas Golden Knights that had been their biggest test to that point in their schedule.

Evan Bouchard. Edmonton Oilers
Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

Not only that, but Bouchard plays in all situations and is on the top scoring team in the NHL behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Nate Schmidt, Winnipeg Jets (10.2%)

Nate Schmidt is a player that so many seem to pass on. With two other defencemen who can put up fantasy points on the team, he has been overlooked in most leagues. That is a mistake considering how he has played so far this season. At full strength, both power-play units are filled with talent and Schmidt slots in on the second. He also plays on the top pairing beside Josh Morrissey. I know it’s early, but Schmidt has six assists in five games, all coming in the past three games.

Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings (23.4%)

Seider, like teammate Raymond, has played himself into an early favourite for rookie of the year. Seider has really stepped up in his first season and is getting even more of an opportunity with Filip Hronek taking a step back and being scratched early on. Seider is playing top-line minutes and is the lone defenceman on the Red Wings’ top power play. With five assists in his first six games and almost 22 minutes a night, he is a player to definitely keep an eye on and target for your team, as solid defencemen on the waiver wire are few and far between.

Goalies

Braden Holtby, Dallas Stars (42.1%)

After being named the Stars’ No. 1 goalie ahead of the first game of the season, Holtby has certainly performed like one. He has started four of the first five games for the team and his numbers have been superb. Winning half of the games, he is sporting a 1.78 goals-against average (GAA) and a .950 save percentage (SV%).

Braden Holtby, Dallas Stars
Braden Holtby, Dallas Stars (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Stars really took a chance bringing in Holtby after they already had Anton Khudobin, Jake Oettinger, and Ben Bishop eventually, and it has paid off thus far. Pick him up immediately if you have the opportunity to do so — he won’t be on the waiver wire for long with many goalies underperforming.

John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks (42.9%)

There may actually be a solid team defensively in front of Gibson after a couple of seasons of no help whatsoever. Kevin Shattenkirk and Cam Fowler are playing well, Hampus Lidholm is solid as usual, and Jamie Drysdale has entered the fray. Gibson’s last two outings weren’t the best, but with one of the easiest schedules this coming week with four games on tap against struggling teams, he has a chance to bounce back and get the results he was getting to start the season.

There are lots of options for any position you need to fill on your fantasy hockey team this week. But act fast — you don’t want to miss out on valuable points and players being snatched up before you.


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