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Fantasy: Top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 8

Smith valuable alongside Marchessault, Karlsson; Fiala, Vrana worth monitoring

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

Reilly Smith, LW/RW, VGK (23 percent owned; 4 games this week): The Vegas Golden Knights are leading the Pacific Division past the one-quarter mark and suddenly have four forwards ranked among Yahoo's top 100 overall based on performance: Jonathan Marchessault (40th), William Karlsson (72nd), James Neal (74th) and the unheralded Smith (89th). He's the lowest-ownership player of that bunch by a wide margin and is covering all six standard categories on a surging line with Marchessault and Karlsson. He has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) over his past 12 games, including a current five-game point streak.

Bryan Little, C, WPG (25 percent; 4 games this week): After a slow start to the season, Little has six points (two goals, four assists) with three power-play points over his past seven games. He had a three-point game against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday, and performances like that could start coming in droves on the second line alongside Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers. With Matthieu Perreault back from injury, Little has also gotten some help on the second power-play unit. He has averaged at least 0.74 points per game in each of his previous four seasons.

Kevin Fiala, LW/RW, NSH (7 percent; 3 games this week): The early fantasy returns have been impressive for Fiala since the Nashville Predators acquired center Kyle Turris; Fiala has seven points (two goals, five assists), a plus-2, two PPP and 21 shots on goal in eight games since the Turris trade. The uptick in SOG for Fiala (1.1 before trade; 2.6 after) is significant, and could lead to a sizable fantasy value spike in the near future, especially in goals (two in 22 games; 5.6 percent shooting). Fiala has been on the second line and power-play unit with Turris, so grab the former while his ownership is low.

Video: WSH@NSH: Fiala deflects a shot home from in front

Jakub Vrana, LW/RW, WSH (8 percent; 2 games this week): The Capitals may have a light week, but Vrana's lineup placement should still grab the attention of fantasy owners. With the Capitals reuniting Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom three games ago, Vrana is on the second line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie. He has totaled three goals, a plus-2 and eight shots on goal over the three-game span and now has at least one point in three of his past four games. Vrana is quietly tied for third among rookies in goals (seven) behind Brock Boeser and Clayton Keller (11 each).

Michael Cammalleri, C/LW, EDM (14 percent; 3 games this week): The Edmonton Oilers have had a revolving door of linemates for Connor McDavid lately, and the latest change has Cammalleri on the right side of McDavid and Milan Lucic. Cammalleri has assists in two of his past three games, one against the Boston Bruins on Sunday. He played 16:28 in the game, 1:38 on the power play, and is being utilized in a greater offensive capacity compared to with the Los Angeles Kings prior to the Nov. 14 trade. Exposure to McDavid has led to a 10 percent spike in Yahoo ownership for Cammalleri, so hop aboard the bandwagon in deep leagues before it's too late.

Dylan Strome, C, ARI (4 percent; 4 games this week): The Arizona Coyotes recalled Strome from Tucson of the American Hockey League on Sunday, presenting an opportunity for the rookie to finally stick at the NHL level. He has no goals and one assist on nine SOG in nine career NHL games, but now has plenty of confidence after leading the AHL in points per game (1.73; minimum five games). He had strong peripherals of 50 SOG, three power-play goals and a plus-13 to go along with 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) in 15 games and should join the Coyotes' top six forward group immediately.

Others to consider: Kyle Connor, LW, WPG (8 percent; 4 games); Tomas Hertl, C/LW, SJS (22 percent; 3 games); Mikael Backlund, C, CGY (19 percent; 3 games); Thomas Vanek, LW/RW, VAN (7 percent; 3 games); For hits leagues: Jordan Staal, C, CAR (29 percent; 3 games); Justin Abdelkader, LW/RW, DET (16 percent; 3 games); Josh Anderson, RW, CBJ (10 percent; 4 games)

 

DEFENSEMAN

Shea Theodore, VGK (17 percent; 4 games this week): We're finally seeing Theodore's fantasy sleeper potential materialize; he has a three-game point streak totaling one goal, three assists, two power-play points, a plus-1 and seven SOG. He started the season in the AHL and has been a healthy scratch at times, but is playing a top-four (21:29 per game), first power-play (3:19) role over that three-game span. He's been playing on a power-play unit with Marchessault and Neal and is worth considering again in all fantasy formats.

Cody Franson, CHI (3 percent; 5 games this week): The most-frequent power-play unit for the Chicago Blackhawks over their past 10 games does not include defensemen Duncan Keith or Brent Seabrook, but rather Franson alongside Patrick Kane, Nick Schmaltz, Artem Anisimov and Brandon Saad. Franson has three power-play assists in the span. Four of his six assists this season have come with the man-advantage, and his peripherals are respectable with 12 hits, 12 blocks and 27 SOG through 12 games. Add him to your watch list to see if this sticks much longer.

Others to consider: Tyler Myers, WPG (19 percent - 4 games); Noah Hanifin, CAR (11 percent; 3 games); Darnell Nurse, EDM (14 percent; 3 games)

 

GOALTENDER

Malcolm Subban, VGK (33 percent; 4 games this week): No one could have expected this degree of success from the Golden Knights, and Subban needs to be recognized as a must-add fantasy goalie after a 4-0-0 start with a .935 save percentage. The 23-year-old goaltender missed more than one month because of a lower-body injury but is 2-0-0 since returning, earning a win in relief against the San Jose Sharks on Friday and stopping 24 of 26 shots faced against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

Video: VGK@ARI: Subban dives to make great series of stops

Ryan Miller, ANA (18 percent; 4 games this week): Another goalie who recently returned from injury, Miller stopped 33 of 34 shots faced against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday to boost his season SV% to .950 as John Gibson's backup for the Anaheim Ducks. Miller's .949 even-strength SV% is tied with Subban for second-best in the NHL behind St. Louis Blues backup Carter Hutton (.956) among goalies with at least four starts. Miller is likely to get at least one start this week, either on the road against either the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday or Nashville Predators on Saturday. If Gibson deals with injury at any point, the Ducks would be in good hands with Miller.

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