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Fantasy: Top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 18

Brassard rejoins Stone after returning for Senators; Kuemper, Lehtonen backup goalies to watch

by James Harding / NHL.com Fantasy Correspondent

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.

 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Impact of Eichel injury on Sabres | Projected lineups

 

FORWARD

Brendan Gallagher, RW, MTL (48 percent): The Montreal Canadiens right wing reached the 20-goal mark for the second time of his NHL career in their 3-2 shootout loss against the Nashville Predators on Saturday. Gallagher has goals in back-to-back games and nine points (four goals, five assists), four power-play points and 34 shots on goal in his past 10 games. He is skating on the Canadiens third line but is on their first power-play unit with forwards Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman Jeff Petry (32 percent).

 

Henrik Zetterberg, C/LW, DET (44 percent): The Detroit Red Wings forward had four points (one goal, three assists) and four SOG in their 7-6 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Friday. Then, he had one assist in a 5-4 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Sunday to extend his point streak to three games. Zetterberg has eight points (one goal, seven assists) and three PPP in his past seven games on the first line and power-play unit with forwards Anthony Mantha (LW/RW, 38 percent) and Gustav Nyquist (C/LW/RW, 14 percent).

 

Derek Stepan, C, ARI (26 percent): The Arizona Coyotes center is thriving playing with rookie forward Clayton Keller (C/LW/RW, 41 percent) and wing Brendan Perlini (LW/RW, 1 percent) on their first line. Stepan has two multipoint games during his three-game point streak (one goal, four assists) and leads Arizona in assists (25), PPP (12) and SOG (147). The Coyotes have a home-heavy schedule down the stretch, making Stepan an intriguing add, especially in leagues that count face-off wins (527, T-14th in NHL).

Video: ARI@WPG: Stepan scores early in the 3rd

 

Derick Brassard, C, OTT (24 percent): The Ottawa Senators center returned to the lineup Saturday after missing two games with an undisclosed injury. Brassard (170th in Yahoo) centered the second line with wings Mark Stone (84 percent) and Zack Smith (C/LW, 2 percent), and scored his 14th goal on four SOG. Brassard has points in two of his past three games, and his exposure to Stone (46 points in 45 games) makes him a fantasy waiver wire target and replacement option for injured Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel

 

Brock Nelson, C/LW, NYI (7 percent): The Islanders forward has seven points (four goals, three assists), one PPP and seven SOG in his past five games. Nelson is centering the Islanders third line between left wing Andrew Ladd (LW, 8 percent) and right wing Cal Clutterbuck (RW, 3 percent), and is on the second power-play unit with Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier (C/LW, 15 percent), Jordan Eberle (C/RW, 75 percent) and defenseman Sebastian Aho (D, fewer than 1 percent). New York ranks third in goals per game (3.33) and has three Metropolitan Division games this week, two at home.


 
Michael Cammalleri, C/LW, EDM (2 percent): The Edmonton Oilers forward, acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 14, is heating up with five assists and a plus-6 over his past four games. Cammalleri had two assists in their 6-4 loss against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday playing on the second line with mostly Leon Draisaitl (89th in Yahoo) and Milan Lucic (62 percent, 131st). He is worth monitoring in deep leagues to see if he sticks in this top-six role for the rest of the season.
 
Others to consider: Yanni Gourde, C/RW, TBL (50 percent); Alexander Steen, C/LW/RW, STL (47 percent); Sam Reinhart, C/LW/RW, BUF (33 percent); Elias Lindholm, C/RW, CAR (11 percent); Nick Bonino, C, NSH (1 percent)

 

DEFENSE

Alex Goligoski, ARI (13 percent): He leads Coyotes defensemen with 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) in 54 games after scoring four points (one goal, three assists) over his past three games. Goligoski has added value in leagues that count hits (90 in 54 games) and blocked shots (89) and is playing on their second power-play unit. Arizona has four games this week, three at home, against the Chicago Blackhawks, Sharks, Canadiens and Oilers.

Video: PHI@ARI: Goligoski finds twine through traffic in 2nd

 

Gustav Olofsson, MIN (fewer than 1 percent): The Minnesota Wild's young defenseman is thriving on their second pairing with Matt Dumba (63 percent) in place of injured defenseman Jonas Brodin (hand). Olofsson had one assist and one SOG in their 3-0 win against the Blackhawks on Saturday, extending his point streak to three games. He is averaging 20:08 in the span, nearly eight minutes more than his season average (12:36). Deep-league owners looking to stay ahead of the curve should monitor Olofsson.
 
Others to consider: Matt Niskanen, WSH (38 percent); Brady Skjei, NYR (16 percent); Thomas Chabot, OTT (3 percent); Vince Dunn, STL (1 percent)

 

GOALTENDER

Darcy Kuemper, LAK (28 percent): The Los Angeles Kings backup is beginning to carve out a larger role in their goaltending rotation with the inconsistent play of starter Jonathan Quick. Kuemper stopped 11 of 14 shots faced before being pulled against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, but had won each of his prior four starts before that. Quick has a .960 save percentage over his past two games, but Kuemper should still factor into the Stanley Cup Playoff push for Los Angeles. He's been one of the best backups in the League at 9-1-3 with a 1.93 goals-against average, .937 save percentage and three shutouts, and the Kings have three games this week, one at the Sabres on Saturday.

 

Kari Lehtonen, DAL (11 percent): The Dallas Stars backup relieved starter Ben Bishop in their 6-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, allowing two goals on 21 shots faced. Lehtonen (151st in Yahoo) is 5-0-0 with a .945 SV% in his past five starts. The Stars have a four-day break this week but play Friday (vs. St. Louis Blues) and Sunday (at Sharks), meaning Lehtonen could get a spot start and potentially help you win your head-to-head matchup.
 
Others to consider: Robin Lehner, BUF (53 percent); Jacob Markstrom, VAN (35 percent), Cam Ward, CAR (37 percent), David Rittich, CGY (9 percent)

 

GAMES THIS WEEK:

MOST: ARI, CAR, CBJ, CHI, DET, EDM, FLA, NJD, NYR, PIT, TBL, TOR (4 each)
FEWEST: BOS, DAL, STL (2 each)

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