In order to maximize your return on the waiver wire, you're going to have to get creative. Instead of looking at only statistics to determine who to pick up, try looking deeper into a player's effectiveness or how the schedule will effect a certain team. With the condensed schedule which features long breaks for each team, the Carolina Hurricanes present some added value off the wire.
The Hurricanes already have taken their break in the schedule and after facing the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday, will have the most games remaining (27) of any team. Carolina plays 15 of those 27 games at home, where it is averaging 2.96 goals per game; the Hurricanes average 2.24 goals per game on the road. The Hurricanes also have plenty of favorable matchups, with 18 of their final 27 opponents ranking in the bottom half in the NHL in goals allowed per game.
Only two players on the Hurricanes are over 70 percent owned in Yahoo (Justin Faulk, D, 79 percent; Jeff Skinner, LW, 74 percent). The rest of Carolina's players, particularly its forward contingent, are available in the majority of leagues and have good home splits.
Jordan Staal (C/LW, 20 percent) has six goals, 13 assists and is plus-9 with 62 shots on goal in 24 home games. Teuvo Teravainen, who has tri-position eligibility, is right behind Staal with six goals, 12 assists (six power-play points) and is plus-4 in 25 games at PNC Arena. Sebastian Aho (LW/RW, 32 percent) and Victor Rask (C, 17 percent) are also worth targeting down the stretch.
Video: CAR@NYI: Teravainen nets goal before intermission
On the other hand, the New York Islanders may be a team to avoid during the final months of the season. Following a home game against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, the Islanders begin a nine-game road trip. New York plays 17 of its final 24 games away from Barclays Center; the Islanders are 29th in the League with 61 road goals (2.54 per game). Now may be the time to dump Anders Lee (LW, 41 percent) and Andrew Ladd (LW, 40 percent).
The Dallas Stars, who began a five-day break after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in overtime on Friday, only have 22 games remaining but have few appealing waiver wire options. Following their game against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, the Winnipeg Jets have the fewest games remaining (20) this season. Players from each team should be avoided if you're in the playoff hunt.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Oscar Klefbom, D, EDM (26 percent owned)
Don't look now, but Klefbom is a top 40 defenseman in Yahoo. The 23-year-old is finally beginning to look like the top-pairing defenseman the Edmonton Oilers envisioned when they drafted him in the first round in 2011. Klefbom is seventh in the NHL among defensemen with 149 SOG in 59 games. After the Oilers six-game road trip ends Feb. 28, Edmonton plays 13 of its final 18 games at home. Klefbom has five goals, eight assists and is plus-8 with 59 SOG in 28 games at Rogers Place.
Tanner Pearson, LW, LAK (15 percent owned)
The Los Angeles Kings have a favorable schedule and Pearson is firmly planted in the top six. The Kings play the Calgary Flames four times, the Arizona Coyotes twice and the Colorado Avalanche once before the end of the season. Pearson has been skating at left wing on the second line with Jeff Carter, who ranks second in the NHL with 29 goals. He has four goals, three assists and 14 SOG in his past four games and is fourth among Kings forwards in average ice time (16:02) the past 12 games.
Video: FLA@LAK: Pearson stickhandles and slides puck home
Leo Komarov, C/LW/RW, TOR (14 percent owned)
It's unclear how much time rookie forward Mitchell Marner will miss for the Maple Leafs, but as long as he's out Komarov should be in. Komorov is skating on the first line with Nazem Kadri and Josh Leivo (2 percent), who has a goal and five assists in his past three games entering Sunday. Komarov hasn't been as productive as Leivo but has tri-eligibility and likely won't get a huge demotion once Marner is healthy. Komarov and Leivo each are seeing time on the power play; the Maple Leafs have the top ranked PP in the NHL (23.3 percent). Komarov also has added value in a league that counts hits (175 in 57 games).
Aaron Dell, G, SJS (6 percent owned)
San Jose Sharks No. 1 goalie Martin Jones played his 50th game of the season Sunday against the Boston Bruins. The Sharks will need Jones fresh for another deep playoff run, so this could force coach Pete DeBoer to use Dell more often down the stretch. Dell has made that decision easy on DeBoer, going 7-3-1 with a 1.95 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in 12 games. San Jose has five back-to-back sets in its final 22 games of the season. Dell is an appealing add in Rotisserie style leagues if you're trying to lower your GAA and boost your SV% in limited games.
Christian Dvorak, C/LW, ARI (2 percent owned)
The NHL Trade Deadline is fast approaching on March 1 at 3 p.m. ET. The Coyotes figure to be big sellers, with Martin Hanzal (C, 8 percent) and Radim Vrbata (RW, 12 percent) likely to be traded. This would free up a lot of ice time for Dvorak, who is already seeing plenty of playing time as it is. He is third among Coyotes forwards in average ice time (16:51) in the past 12 games. Dvorak has five goals, three assists and is plus-5 in his past 11 games. He's on the second line with Brendan Perlini and Shane Doan, so if Hanzal and Vrbata are traded, it shouldn't affect his linemates, and could see him moved to the top line with Max Domi.
Video: ARI@CGY: Dvorak smacks in own rebound for second goal
Other candidates: Derick Brassard, C, OTT (29 percent); Richard Panik, LW/RW, CHI (19 percent); Alex Goligoski, D, ARI (15 percent); Travis Zajac, C, NJD (12 percent); Calvin Pickard, G, COL (12 percent)