Cole Caufield Leading Our Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups This Week
Special for Yahoo Sports
Hope you have continued your studies because it is time for the finals! It doesn’t matter if you are fighting for the first or the second to last. You need to be ready throughout the week – or in some cases, two weeks – to win.
As we’re nearing the end of the fantasy game, it’s no surprise that this is the final Waiver Wire. But we’ll be back next season with more weeks (hopefully) and more fun (questionable). I would like to thank everyone who took the time to read the column and / or provide comments. Hope you enjoyed the material and that it has helped you in some way this year.
If you’re looking for that latest push, head to RotoWire for the latest news. For analysis, stats, and other helpful tips, check out our hockey gear to set your lineups and manage your lineups.
(Yahoo! Rate / Statistics As of April 29.)
Jakub Vrana, DET (50% enrolled)
I would like to start by apologizing for this entry, as Vrana may have over 50% coverage by the time this is published and that would violate the inclusion criteria. But honestly how can you do not go with him? Other than Filip Zadina, there aren’t any healthy Detroit forwards to consider. Having a Red Wing might not be the most tantalizing fancy proposition these days, but you could do a lot worse with other teams. And did you hear Vrana scored four home goals against Dallas last Thursday? Because he did.
This column featured frontline Sabers for the past two weeks, so let’s say it three in a row with Olofsson. The Swede enjoyed life alongside Jack Eichel until the star fell, earning him four points in the next 13 games. But like his teammates, Olofsson has recovered to the tune of four goals and four assists on the last 14. Top row, top power play, high volume shooter. What more could you ask for?
(A better team? Nice try.)
Schwartz has scored more than 50 points in three of the past four seasons, but a major injury and poor performance should leave him with the worst average offensive total of his career. The good news for the poolies is that the veteran has improved recently with five points and 19 shots in the last nine. Schwartz also enjoys plenty of minutes, including a top-six job and duplication of special teams.
Kudos to those who have been patient with Lafreniere after starting with eight goals in 31 appearances, even if honestly you would have been better off with decent performers during that time. Or maybe you landed the final No.1 overall pick a week ago because he thought he would be promoted to play with Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich on the front row. Kudos to those who are far-sighted, but there is still time for the others to add Lafrenière and see if he can build on the goal and two assists on the most recent two.
Cole Caufield, MON (14 percent)
Speaking of exceptional talent, there is one ready to grow in Montreal. Caufield ripped apart the NCAA last season en route to the Hobey Baker Award and scored four points in two games in the AHL before getting the call to join the Habs. A memorable first game on Monday did little to help Caufield’s cause, while the different positioning on Wednesday meant nothing. You may have to wait until the 20-year-old scores consistently, although the upcoming clashes this week against the Jets and Senators look set to unleash his potential.
Zucker is valuable as a one-time 64-point producer and someone who has generally been reliable in finding the scoresheet. The former Wild forward found success with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin after arriving in Pittsburgh, though a lower-body injury ultimately ruled him out for 18 games. Results have been mixed since Zucker’s return on March 29, but he has tallied three goals in nine games with 16 shots and 13 hits in a mid-six position and a supporting role in PP.
Miles Wood, NJ (7 percent)
He may not save tons of ice time, but Wood can get things done. In the last 11 games, he has accumulated six goals, three assists, 26 shots, 12 hits and nine blocks. It can be hard to notice Wood among Jersey’s exciting young forwards, but he performs as well – if not better – than most of his teammates. You could point out its shooting percentage of 14.3 and predict a regression there, although it does provide enough to meet your fantastic needs.
Luke Kunin, NSH (4 percent)
After three years in Minnesota, Kunin transferred to Nashville. He put a puck in each of the first two outings with his new club, but quickly hit a drought and endured a subsequent absence that left him out until the end of March. In 17 appearances, Kunin went on to score 12 points, 39 shots and 46 hits. He has also established a solid relationship with fellow Column Subject Mikael Granlund and Calle Jarnkrok on the second row of the Preds.
Travis Hamonic, VAN (12 percent)
It shouldn’t come as a shock to find out that Hamonic isn’t much of a goalscorer. Sure, there are the two assists from the last five games, but that’s half his total and probably went by osmosis with Quinn Hughes 5v5. What you get from Hamonic is stability. in other areas, as evidenced by 13 shots, 22 PIMs, nine shots and 17 blocks during that same period. Look elsewhere if points are your target.
Travis Sanheim, PHI (3 percent)
We continue our tour of Travises with a better offensive defender, although the totals have dropped considerably compared to previous years. In fact, Sanheim has only registered one goal and one assist in the last 10 games. But during that time, he also racked up 29 shots and 18 blocks. And with Shayne Gostisbehere, Sanheim saw his PP time skyrocket on Tuesday. Whether that role remains or not, it is still useful as a multi-category advocate.
Wyatt Kalynuk, CHI (0 percent)
Kalynuk made his Blackhawks debut in early March, then didn’t see Game 2 for another three weeks. He only scored one point in his first six but has since exploded for four goals and two assists in the last eight. Kalynuk spent three years at the University of Wisconsin (teammate Cole Caufield in 2019-20) and produced 78 points, so there is no doubt about his skills on offense. He also gets a boost as Chicago’s second advantage QB, although he has yet to count there.
Dennis Cholowski, DET (0 percent)
Some may remember Cholowski from his first explosion in 2018-19 when he scored 12 points – including seven PPPs – in the first two months. Unfortunately, the only offense he succeeded after came in the AHL. And after another successful stint at Grand Rapids, Cholowski is back with the Wings and has been reinstated on the power play. A single goal in 11 outings isn’t the best of restarts, although he does receive enough ice time to be considered an addition with an advantage.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, BUF (4 percent)
With the playoffs in sight, some NHL clubs will count on the best players while others will provide more opportunities for up-and-coming players. The Sabers are again in the latter description and have been keen to bring their youth into the roster. Luukkonen has been highly touted since leading Finland to WJC 2019, but his lower level stats have proven unspectacular. The 22-year-old made his debut against the Bruins on Friday, stopping 36 of 40 shots for his first league win and following Tuesday with 38 saves against the Rangers. One could argue that Dustin Tokarski would win most of the remaining starts based on recent efforts, but he’s 31 and Buffalo would be wise to take a deep look at his future at Luukkonen.
Marcus Hogberg, OTT (3 percent)
Like the Sabers, the Sens have nothing more to play this season. Matt Murray represents Ottawa’s long-term management option based on the multi-year deal he signed last year, although he didn’t do very well and is injured again. Hogberg is 4-7 this campaign with a 3.74 GAA and 0.876 save percentage, but has allowed just six combined goals in the last three games against Vancouver – with the last two wins. With Murray’s return unknown, expect Hogberg to continue making regular appearances.
(Players to consider in the previous columns: Jared McCann, Jordan Staal, Roope Hintz, Sam Reinhart, Vincent Trocheck, Nick Foligno, Chandler Stephenson, Viktor Arvidsson, Jack Hughes, Clayton Keller, Sam Bennett, Martin Necas, Jason Robertson, Alex Tuch, Tim Stutzle, Casey Mittelstadt, Josh Norris , Calle Jarnkrok, Mikael Granlund, Craig Smith, Kirby Dach, Josh Morrissey, Alex Goligoski, Nick Leddy, Brandon Montour, Ryan Ellis, K’Andre Miller, Jared Spurgeon, Erik Brannstrom, Jake Allen, Jake Oettinger, MacKenzie Blackwood, Juuse Saros , Alex Nedeljkovic, Cam Talbot, Kaapo Kahkonen)