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Fantasy buzz: Top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 4

Smith-Pelly, Montour, Theodore emerge as valuable additions based on upside

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

Every Monday during the season, NHL.com will provide the top 10 players to add off the fantasy waiver wire. Based on Yahoo transaction data and other factors including production, lineup and/or injury trends, we have identified appealing options at each position for fantasy owners in season-long leagues.

 

FORWARD

Vincent Trocheck, C, FLA (55 percent owned): It was uncertain whether Trocheck would continue his string of 50-point seasons after offseason departures of Florida Panthers' secondary scorers Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault and Jussi Jokinen. But he has remained productive alongside veteran Radim Vrbata (RW, 14 percent owned) and is worth owning in most formats. He has at least one point in eight of 10 games this season, totaling 11 points (four goals, seven assists), 32 shots on goal and three power-play points. He's been a fixture on Florida's first power-play unit with forwards Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Evgenii Dadonov and defenseman Keith Yandle.

Jonathan Marchessault, C/LW, VGK (28 percent owned): Since returning from a three-game injury absence, Marchessault has two goals, one assist, one power-play point and seven shots on goal over two games. He's playing on the second line with Smith and William Karlsson and on Vegas' first power-play unit with James Neal, giving him staying power for the rest of the season, even if the Vegas Golden Knights come back down to earth eventually. Marchessault's minus-21 last season overshadowed his NHL career highs in goals (30), assists (21), PPP (18) and SOG (193), but he's plus-3 this season and is likely to return value based on his average draft position (168.6).

Video: CHI@VGK: Marchessault goes top shelf for PPG

Adrian Kempe, C/LW, LAK (43 percent owned): He was held without a point in the Los Angeles Kings' 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins on Saturday, but has combined for nine points (six goals, three assists), a plus-10 and 12 shots on goal over his past six games. Prior to Jeff Carter's injury, Kempe was averaging 9:27 per game with no points through five games. Including the game when Carter was injured, Kempe is averaging 12:43 per game over his past six games, including at least 15:00 in two of his past three games. He earned a promotion to the Kings' second line with Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson on Saturday and also played on their second power-play unit.

Devante Smith-Pelly, RW, WSH (4 percent owned): With forward Andre Burakovsky (broken thumb) on injured reserve, the Capitals have turned to Smith-Pelly to fill a top-six void. Rookie Jakub Vrana is now playing alongside Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, so Smith-Pelly is lining up in the coveted spot next to Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Smith-Pelly has had one goal and five shots on goal in his first two games there, and is also averaging a hit per game (12 in 12 games) this season. He's playing for his fourth team in the past four seasons, but this is his best chance to stick in a top-six role.

Pavel Buchnevich, LW/RW, NYR (6 percent owned): The second-year forward has seized a first power-play role with the New York Rangers alongside center Mika Zibanejad, and that usage is beginning to pay fantasy dividends. Buchnevich scored his fourth power-play point of the season against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, and has four points (three goals, one assist), a plus-4 and 11 shots on goal during a three-game point streak. The Rangers have been a big disappointment in the NHL standings, but Buchnevich is quietly 109th overall in Yahoo's performance-based rankings. If he regains the top-six role he held earlier in the season, he could really be here to stay as a fantasy asset.

Josh Bailey, LW/RW, NYI (26 percent owned): He was bumped up to the New York Islanders' top line with John Tavares and Anders Lee against the Nashville Predators on Saturday, and had a power-play assist to extend his point streak to six games (total of two goals, seven assists). Bailey was fantasy-relevant last season (Yahoo rank: 143rd) alongside Tavares and Lee, but was moved down in the lineup this season after New York acquired right wing Jordan Eberle on Jun. 22. Eberle had his best game since joining the Islanders against the Predators with three points (two goals, one assist), a power-play goal and four shots on goal alongside Brock Nelson and rookie Mathew Barzal -- great news for owners of Eberle, as well as Bailey's potential fantasy suitors.

Video: SJS@NYI: Bailey uses nifty stick work for goal

Sven Baertschi, LW, VAN (6 percent owned): Most fantasy owners are aware that the Vancouver Canucks present and future are in the hands of forwards Bo Horvat (121st in Yahoo) and Brock Boeser (102nd), who have gotten off to strong starts. Their linemate, Baertschi, is beginning to warrant fantasy attention in deeper leagues. He has multiple goals in two of his past three games and exploded for three power-play points on the second unit with Boeser and Horvat in Vancouver's 6-2 win against the Capitals on Thursday. It's worth noting Boeser is day to day with a foot injury. If he's OK, he's worth adding in most formats at 23 percent owned.

 

DEFENSEMAN

Brandon Montour, ANA (47 percent owned): The Ducks defenseman is currently among the top 100 overall fantasy assets (94th in Yahoo) after being moved to the first power-play unit with Cam Fowler (knee) out. He had two power-play points and four shots on goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, giving him seven points (four goals, three assists), three PPP and 27 SOG in 11 games. In the four games Fowler has missed so far, Montour is averaging 23:49 per game (2:23 on power play). If you missed out on rookie defensemen Will Butcher and Mikhail Sergachev, young options like Montour or Theodore could be a nice consolation prize off the waiver wire.

Shea Theodore, VGK (18 percent owned): Theodore bounced back-and-forth from the American Hockey League to the NHL in two seasons with the Anaheim Ducks, but was productive in an expanded role during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (eight points in 14 games). After Vegas waived defensemen Jason Garrison and Griffin Reinhart and suspended forward Vadim Shipachyov, Theodore has been recalled after scoring 11 points (five goals, six assists) in eight AHL games with Chicago. He was on NHL.com's preseason fantasy sleeper list and should be on the radar of fantasy owners in all formats with a chance to usurp Colin Miller, Brad Hunt and Nate Schmidt in the power-play mix. The Golden Knights are tied for the most games on the NHL schedule this week (four; all on road).

Video: COL@VGK: Theodore buries long-range wrist shot

 

GOALTENDER

Oscar Dansk, VGK (35 percent owned): It's only fitting that the NHL's most surprising team accounts for one player at each position on this list of fantasy pickups. Dansk, Vegas' third-string goaltender who's stepping in for the injured Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) and Malcolm Subban (lower body), is worth adding in most formats after starting 3-0-0 with a .959 save percentage (71 saves on 74 shots faced) and one shutout. Vegas hits the road for a six-game trip after going 6-1-0 on a seven-game homestand. Dansk should get a stiff test this week, especially with back-to-back games against the New York Islanders on Monday and New York Rangers on Tuesday. 

Other notable goaltender option: Anders Nilsson, VAN (22 percent owned

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