Waiver watch: Where to find some steady fantasy hockey scorers

Kevin Fiala of the Minnesota Wild has proven to be a consistent contributor. David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

Every week, we'll mine the waiver wire for lesser-owned assets to help your squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft format, and we'll also toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who may be overvalued - in the short- or long-term - for one reason or another.


Patric Hornqvist, RW, Pittsburgh Penguins (34.9 percent): The veteran forward is currently worth his fantasy weight in shots alone, amassing 24(!) in his past four games. Consider the added three goals and two assists as bonus. Fact is, the banged-up Penguins need all they can get out of Hornqvist production-wise, whether centered by Jared McCann (now) or Sidney Crosby (soon). A staple on Pittsburgh's No. 1 power play, with an affinity for throwing his body around, the 33-year-old could be in for a blustery (in a good way) second semester to 2019-20.

Roope Hintz, C/LW, Dallas Stars (30.4 percent): If not fully back on the Hintz fantasy bandwagon, don't hesitate long. Post-injury, followed by a minor slump, the Sophomore is sizzling once more with two goals and three power-play assists in four contests. It doesn't hurt that the Stars are clearly altogether stoked after their Winter Classic win. If available, grab the club's second-line center ASAP.

Craig Smith, RW/C, Nashville Predators (24.3 percent): The gifted - if utterly erratic - veteran goal scorer is in one of his grooves with eight goals (and three assists) in nine games. Exploit Smith at will in your fantasy format of choice - I like him a lot in DFS play right now - before the inevitable cooling off period.

Kevin Fiala, C/LW/RW, Minnesota Wild (9.7 percent): Underrated as a asset in Minnesota, Fiala has contributed, at a steady clip, 24 points in his past 30 games. He competes on a scoring line with Zach Parise, plays a respectable number of minutes, and shoots the puck often enough. If needing a warm, reliable fantasy body, you could do much worse.

Jake Virtanen, RW, Vancouver Canucks (6.2 percent): While the third-line role doesn't thrill me, his consistent production is becoming difficult to ignore. Fifteen points in a span of 17 games is no fluke. And remember how high the Canucks were on Virtanen when they drafted him sixth-overall in 2014? I wonder if the (still only) 23-year-old is long for joining Vancouver's top-six, perhaps in place of veteran Loui Eriksson. As it stands - at this scoring clip - he already merits rostering in deeper leagues.

Alex Iafallo, LW/C, Los Angeles Kings (1.4 percent): Skating on the Kings' top line and power play, Iafallo is riding a six-game point streak, including three power-play goals and four even-strength assists. He's also averaged well more than 19 minutes per game since the start of December. Utilize the 26-year-old as an injury plug or DFS asset before he calms down.

Kailer Yamamoto, RW/C, Edmonton Oilers (0.8 percent): Three games in after a late-December call-up, Yamamoto has one goal, one assist, and is competing on a scoring line with Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. But perhaps above all else, coach Dave Tippett likes him. The 22th overall draft selection (2017) merits monitoring at minimum, assuming he's already spoken for in deep dynasty leagues.


Samuel Girard, Colorado Avalanche (11.6 percent): Skating on Colorado's top pair and secondary power play - a unit that also includes Gabriel Landeskog and Nazem Kadri - Girard has eight assists in three contests. While clearly irregular, an impressive burst that also (maybe) offers promise of what's to come. We've been waiting for this talented youngster, all of 21 years old, to bring more to the table from an offensive view. Perhaps this is the start.

Sami Vatanen, New Jersey Devils (19.7 percent): Consider this your kindly reminder that this Waiver Watch regular remains widely available in conventional ESPN.com leagues despite potting 13 points in 16 games, including seven on the power play. The pending-UFA also skated more than half an hour the other day against Colorado, which is fun.


Ilya Samsonov, Washington Capitals (15.4 percent): Rocking a .927 SV% since November, Samsonov has only two losses to show for 15 appearances altogether (he's been perfect on the road). The better of Washington's two netminders - particularly of late - the 22-year-old rookie presents as a heavy threat to steal starts from Braden Holtby down the stretch. Especially if it tightens up more a-top the Metropolitan Division. For now, Samsonov is no less than a top-notch streaming option and Daily Fantasy gem.

Elvis Merzlikins, Columbus Blue Jackets (5.3 percent): Straight up, as strikingly as John Tortorella's decimated gang has persevered, I still think the wheels fall off in Columbus before too long. And I'm far from convinced Merzlikins has what it takes to meet the daily challenge of successfully backstopping this injury-riddled team in place of Joonas Korpisalo. However, if in dire need of fantasy goaltending, there are worse options out there. He has looked good in three straight, including Sunday's loss to San Jose. Just, please, maintain the most modest of expectations.

Lowered expectations

Josh Morrissey, D, Winnipeg Jets (83.0 percent): Bumped from the top Jets' No. 1 power play by Neil Pionk, Morrissey is mired in a six-game scoreless skid - his longest of the season. There's also the threat of Winnipeg trading for another defender of some prominence before the February deadline. Following an impressive start to 2019-20, the 24-year-old could be in for a much quieter second half. We'll see.