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Fantasy: Top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 5

Barzal emerging for Islanders; Anderson providing strong coverage for Blue Jackets

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

Brock Boeser, RW, VAN (43 percent owned): He's an early Calder Trophy candidate with 13 points (five goals, eight assists), five power-play points and 34 shots on goal after a four-point, seven-SOG game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. He has been thriving alongside Bo Horvat (C, 35 percent owned) and Sven Baertschi (LW, 9 percent) at even strength and on the power play, and each player is currently among the top 100 in Yahoo's performance-based rankings (Boeser: 72nd; Baertschi: 96th; Horvat: 99th). After missing one game because of injury, Boeser has quickly reminded fantasy owners he's a must-own player in all formats. Vancouver has four games this week, tied for most in the League.

Video: PIT@VAN: Boeser buries wrister to complete hat trick

Mathew Barzal, C, NYI (21 percent owned): After a rough start, the New York Islanders power play has bounced back in a big way. The Islanders are 9-for-16 with the man-advantage over their past four games (56.3 percent, leading NHL in span), and the integration of Barzal and Josh Bailey onto the first unit has made all the difference. Defenseman Nick Leddy (54 percent owned) has re-emerged as a hot commodity in shallow leagues, and 20-year-old Barzal became the first NHL rookie since 2011 with five assists in a game (two on power play). He now has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists), four PPP and 31 shots on goal in 14 games (79th in Yahoo) and has seized the No. 2 center job behind John Tavares.

Alex Galchenyuk, C/LW, MTL (41 percent owned): If Boeser and Barzal are not available, tap into Galchenyuk, the long-awaited breakout candidate who's been picking up steam of late. The Montreal Canadiens have rebounded from their early-season struggles with five wins in their past seven games, and their improved stretch has correlated with Galchenyuk's surge. He has five points (three goals, two assists), three power-play points and 16 shots on goal over the seven-game span, and has been moved into a top-six role with forwards Jonathan Drouin and Artturi Lehkonen.

Josh Anderson, RW, CBJ (13 percent owned): With right wing Cam Atkinson (lower body) injured, the Columbus Blue Jackets' top line has been comprised of left wing Artemi Panarin, center Nick Foligno and Anderson, who's providing excellent category coverage. He has eight points (five goals, three assists), a plus-5, seven penalty minutes, 34 SOG and 27 hits in 12 games, putting him just outside the top 150 overall in Yahoo. He had two goals against the Florida Panthers on Thursday and has combined for 10 SOG over his past two games. Columbus has four games this week, tied for most in the League.

Yanni Gourde, C/RW, TBL (6 percent owned): Frequent exposure to top offensive players in all situations can lead to fantasy relevance, and that's certainly become the case with Gourde. The 25-year-old forward has nine points (four goals, five assists), 29 SOG and is plus-7 after scoring goals in three straight games on a line with Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat and power-play unit with Point, Palat, Tyler Johnson and rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev. Gourde is scratching the surface in a standard league, but is certainly worth considering in deeper formats. 

Alex Tuch, RW, VGK (4 percent owned): Since being recalled by the Vegas Golden Knights on Oct. 15, Tuch has made an immediate impact with seven points (four goals, three assists), a plus-4, three PPP and 24 SOG over his first nine games in a third-line, second power-play role. He's averaging 4:01 per game with the man-advantage and has four points, three on the power play, over his past four games.

Other forwards worth considering: Pavel Buchnevich, LW/RW, NYR (23 percent owned), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, EDM (24 percent owned), Vladimir Sobotka, LW, STL (11 percent), Alexander Kerfoot, C/RW, COL (1 percent)

 

DEFENSEMAN

Tim Heed, SJS (11 percent owned): The San Jose Sharks have been utilizing Heed on their first power-play unit with top skaters Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, and he still has low fantasy ownership despite combining for three points (one goal, two assists), one PPP and nine SOG in three games last week. He has seven points (two goals, five assists), a plus-2, three PPP and 24 SOG in 11 games this season, and is worth adding in many formats with the defenseman waiver wire so thin.

Video: TOR@SJS: Heed takes the lead with power-play goal

Tyler Myers, WPG (6 percent owned): The defenseman was limited to 11 games last season because of a lower-body injury, but has been productive when healthy since joining the Jets in 2014-15 (0.43 points per game, plus-26 in 121 games). He has five points (two goals, three assists), a plus-6 and 16 SOG in 13 games and a four-game point streak. He plays on the second power-play unit with talented forwards Nikolaj Ehlers and Bryan Little and defenseman Jacob Trouba and has PPP in consecutive games.

 

GOALTENDER

Jacob Markstrom, VAN (39 percent owned): The Canucks have been a huge surprise early on, and the goalie tandem of Markstrom and Anders Nilsson has quietly been one of the best in the League. Vancouver's team save percentage is .922, fourth in the NHL behind the Los Angeles Kings (.931), Chicago Blackhawks (.929) and St. Louis Blues (.924), and Markstrom has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his past six games. Markstrom has the clear edge in start volume so far (nine; Nilsson: four) and is the highest-quality starter available on the waiver wire in most standard leagues.

Video: PIT@VAN: Markstrom sprawls to deny Kessel on doorstep

Antti Raanta, ARI (26 percent owned): The Arizona Coyotes have a talented young group, and Raanta being healthy helps their chances of improving in the near future. He had a rough outing against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday (five goals allowed on 31 shots faced) in his return from injury, but responded with a 2-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, stopping 36 of 37 shots faced. Raanta has been a quality backup for years and could eventually take advantage of this starting job. For what it's worth, he hasn't allowed a goal on 10 power-play shots faced this season. The Coyotes have four games this week against difficult opponents, but Raanta can provide a heavy start volume moving forward and rack up saves for fantasy owners in such leagues.

Others to consider: Jacob Markstrom, VAN (38 percent owned), Tristan Jarry, PIT (2 percent owned), Charlie Lindgren, MTL (6 percent)

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