Fantasy Hockey Week 13: Top 10 Waiver Wire Pickups

This week we once again look at the top available players in fantasy hockey to add to your lineups for this coming week. The NHL is still affected by postponed games, but there is still a lot of action to watch and options to add to your fantasy hockey league. No team will play four games this week, while some teams have no games on the schedule.

The Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Vegas Golden Knights all play three games, while the Buffalo Sabres, Seattle Kraken, and Vancouver Canucks, play one game and the Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders don’t play at all.

(Rostered as of January 3, ESPN Fantasy Hockey)

Forwards

Tanner Pearson, Vancouver Canucks (rostered 27.2%)

Tanner Pearson has been much better under Vancouver Canucks new head coach Bruce Boudreau. He is playing on a line with Elias Pettersson and Conor Garland, which helps a lot. While he is technically on the second power play, that unit is just as dangerous as the first and can be interchanged.

Tanner Pearson Vancouver Canucks
Tanner Pearson, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Pearson has two goals and seven points in nine games under Boudreau and just eight in the first 25 games. He is also a plus-6 since the coaching change. His confidence seems to be back, he’s playing well, and he’s helping a Canucks team that’s on fire.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Carolina Hurricanes (5.7%)

After a slow start, a recent bump in the lineup — with players out — has given Jesperi Kotkaniemi the confidence to continue to play well. Over the past five games, he has a goal and six assists, and increased minutes. The Carolina Hurricanes are one of the best teams in the NHL and will continue to get production throughout their lineup. Kotkaniemi has been more efficient on the wing, but he still has the ability to play centre.

Corey Perry, Tampa Bay Lightning (5.8%)

Corey Perry has also picked up his play with several players in and out of the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup. He started on the fourth line but could easily be a 20-goal scorer by the end of the season, given his boost in production. The Bolts should look to keep Perry in an increased role while he continues to produce, even as players return. He has two goals and five points in his last five games and isn’t afraid to take penalties or shoot the puck.

Kailer Yamamoto, Edmonton Oilers (6.4%)

After struggling mightily to start the season — a lack of shots, goals, and points — playing in the Oilers’ top-6, Kailer Yamamoto finally broke through and has started adding to all three categories (from “Oilers’ Kailer Yamamoto: Three points in OT loss,” CBS Sports, Jan. 1, 2022).

Kailer Yamamoto Oilers
Kailer Yamamoto, Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It didn’t matter his production because Leon Draisaitl likes playing with him, and Yamamoto had yet to play himself off the second line. Now that he’s started to produce, he may return to the player who broke into the league on a line with Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins two seasons ago, finishing with close to a point per game.

Related: NHL Stat Corner: Capitals, Oilers, Panthers, Hurricanes, Flyers

Yamamoto has two goals, three assists, and six shots in the past four games after going pointless and shotless over seven games.

Kieffer Bellows, New York Islanders (0.3%)

Kieffer Bellows has only played 14 games with the New York Islanders this season, but he has been efficient in his time with the big club. With Kyle Palmieri out, Bellows has been playing on the second line and scoring, recording half of his points on the season (two goals, two assists) in the past three games. The Islanders have started to find their stride and are winning games, especially at home. If this trend continues, it will be because of contributions from players they didn’t know they needed.

Evan Rodrigues, Pittsburgh Penguins (23.9%)

Evan Rodrigues has been one of the biggest breakout stories of the season, and it keeps getting better. He just recorded the first hat trick of his career on Sunday and is up to 13 goals and 26 points in 31 games. It started with the depleted Pittsburgh Penguins lineup that gave him an opportunity, and he has blossomed into a stable role in the top-6 (from “Evan Rodrigues taking advantage of increased role with Penguins,” NBC Sports, Jan. 2, 2022).

Evan Rodrigues Pittsburgh Penguins
Evan Rodrigues, Pittsburgh Penguins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Rodrigues has played a lot lately, with over 22 minutes of ice time per game a few times. He rarely goes two consecutive games without scoring, and he’s been shooting at will with over 100 shots already on the season. He has five goals and seven points in his past four games.

Defencemen

Noah Dobson, New York Islanders (20.7%)

Noah Dobson is still benefiting from an increased role in the absence of Ryan Pulock. He is playing on the power play and has settled into the NHL, thriving offensively. He has four goals and eight points in his past seven games, scoring a goal and an assist in each of the past two. As the team continues to play well, his value will continue to increase.

Brady Skjei, Carolina Hurricanes (3.1%)

Brady Skjei may not be worth a look long-term, but he is in the short-term. He is playing on the back-end on an offensive powerhouse, scoring seven goals in the last half of their previous game. He has benefited from the exposure and recorded two goals, two assists, six penalty minutes, and 13 shots in the past three games. He is worth streaming.

Matt Roy, Los Angeles Kings (7.4%)

Matt Roy is looking to have an even better second half of the season as his team around him are also stepping up their games. He has 12 assist on the season in 31 games thus far, with three coming in the past four games. He is the go-to guy behind Drew Doughty on the back end and is a solid defenceman who shoots a lot. In deeper leagues, he would be a good addition.

Goaltenders

Stuart Skinner, Edmonton Oilers (1.5%)

If Mike Smith’s latest injury will keep him out for some time, you may want to look out for Stuart Skinner because he would be the recalled goalie and most likely start over 50 percent of the Oilers’ games. He would be a good streaming option; it worked out well for anyone who had him in the last go-around with his .916 save percentage on a team that desperately needs to keep the puck out of the net.

Related: Oilers Have 3 Good Options if They Want to Move Koskinen

It isn’t the most action-packed week ahead, but there are still weeks to be won and standings to keep an eye on in the thick of the season. All of these players are worth taking a chance on in the short term, and some might produce for your fantasy hockey team for longer. Come back next week to see who’s on the rise and who are the best options to add.


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