This is it! The last of the season. As discussed in my recent article about fantasy hockey playoff strategy, the playoffs are a time to be ruthless in terms of adding and dropping players. That’s never been truer in the final week of the regular season. If you still have moves to make in your league’s final, be strategic and make waiver wire adds that can be the difference between winning and losing.
Start by looking ahead. There are 13 games on Tuesday and 15 on Friday meaning most teams are in action. If you have a fringe player from one of the five teams that only play on those nights next week and they will be sitting on your bench anyway, it’s time to cut them. They have zero value to you moving forward. Those five teams are the Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs.
On the flip side, there are some teams that may still play on either Tuesday or Friday but play on at least two other nights. As you will see as you continue below, these players should be targeted. Teams that will have their players plucked are the Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Seattle Kraken and Winnipeg Jets.
Kraken and Jets
The postponement of the originally scheduled game between the Kraken and Jets on April 13th could potentially make your fantasy hockey playoff final very exciting. With the announcement that the game would be played on May 1st (two days after the season was supposed to end) Yahoo! Sports and other pool hosts automatically extended the final matchup to conclude after the game. This means that some managers could possibly dump all their players (or at least some depending on your move allotment) for players from that final game. This wrinkle in the schedule makes Kraken and Jets players a little more valuable.
Waiver Wire Adds
Dylan Strome had a terrible start to the season until he established a connection with linemate Patrick Kane. Since the turn of the calendar, Strome has 40 points in 46 games. Not bad for someone who is just 25% owned in Yahoo leagues. The Blackhawks play in the only game on Monday night before playing on Wednesday and then Friday. Since he’s unlikely to get into your lineup Friday, Strome could be one of the better waiver wire adds this week because he affords you the opportunity to make another move after his game Wednesday night.
Phillip Danualt, Viktor Arvidsson, Trevor Moore
The Kings second line of Phillip Danault, Viktor Arvidsson and Trevor Moore deserve a little more love than they’ve received this fantasy season. All three players have combined for 145 points this season and yet, only have a collective ownership of 72%. Each have been surging lately as the Kings fight to keep their place in the standings. The Kings play in Seattle on Wednesday and wrap up their season in Vancouver on Thursday. Given that they are only one of two teams to conclude their schedule earlier than the rest of the league, all Kings players can be dropped in favour of someone else for Friday’s slate or Sunday’s lone matchup.
Travis Konecny leads the Flyers with 50 points and is only 24% owned in Yahoo leagues. As evidenced by his last 16 games where he’s picked up 14 points, Konecny has managed to produce despite being on the losing side of the equation. With three games against teams outside of the playoff picture this week, Konecny could prove to be a great addition to your squad as he tries to finish off the season on a high note.
The injury to Mark Scheifele has arguably made Paul Stastny the Winnipeg Jets number one centre. He’s skating between Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers at even strength and occupies a spot on the top powerplay unit. Stastny has 10 points in his last 12 games and could fit nicely in your lineup when they play the Flyers on Wednesday and Kraken on the all-important final night of the season – both on home ice.
Jared McCann, Matty Beniers
The Seattle Kraken are the only team that play four times in the final week. Both Jared McCann and rookie Matty Beniers are two players worth adding. McCann may have not lived up to his William Karlsson-esque sleeper expectations this season, but he still has reached career highs in goals and points. Beniers, the second overall pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, has five points in six games since joining the Kraken. Either player could prove to be one of the better waiver wire adds this week.
Over the last 17 games since Mark Giordano was traded to the Maple Leafs, Vince Dunn has accumulated 12 points. He’s the top defensive powerplay option on the Kraken as they approach a busy week ahead. With games against four teams that currently sit outside of a playoff spot, Dunn has the potential to contribute to your point totals. Of course, Seattle plays on the all-important final night of the season where Dunn could perhaps provide just what you need to win the championship.
Sean Durzi has had a great rookie season for the Kings. He was called up early in the year and played so well that he couldn’t be sent down. With Drew Doughty out of the lineup since March 7th, Durzi is averaging half a point a game. He also is a good source of hits and blocks, giving you full category coverage when you need it most.
Scott Wedgewood has been a solid addition to the Stars since being acquired at the trade deadline. He owns a 3-1-2 record with a 2.91 GAA and a .917 SV% since joining his new team. Dallas has a few teams nipping at their heels for the final playoff spot, so wins are critical at this point. Looking ahead, the Stars play three home games this week. They play an extremely important game against Vegas on Tuesday before playing Arizona on Wednesday and Anaheim for the final game of the season. It’s likely that Wedgewood will get the game against the Coyotes, who will also be coming off a back-to-back. That start could potentially help you flip your goaltending categories if need be, making him one of the best goalie waiver wire adds this week.
The New York Rangers are playing for first place in the Metropolitan division. Like Dallas, they also play three home games this week. Game two on the docket is against the Montreal Canadiens and will likely belong to Alexandar Georgiev. After a shaky start to the season, Georgiev has been brilliant of late, winning each of his last seven starts – two of which were shutouts. If you miss out on grabbing Wedgewood, Georgiev is a solid consolation for a spot start.
The unpredictability of the Golden Knights crease gives Logan Thompson fantasy hockey appeal. Vegas needs to win games. They may be running out of time but owning a goalie on a desperate team is never a bad idea. If Thompson gets tasked to lead Vegas to the playoffs, he’s worth looking at. The Golden Knights play the Stars, Blackhawks, and Blues this week. All games are on the road.