The 2022 NHL Trade Deadline is quickly approaching, but in most fantasy leagues, the deadline has already passed. As the playoffs inch closer, adding the right players to secure your playoff spot is crucial in these next few weeks.
Week 21 offers a varying number of games for each team, with eight teams playing four games and six teams playing just two games. It’s crunch time.
Here are our top adds for Week 21.
1. Brock Nelson – C – New York Islanders
The Islanders have not been a very good team this year, much to the surprise of most people, and that has significantly reduced the fantasy value of their players. The Isles used to be a goldmine for late-round safe picks, but that hasn’t been the case for the most part this season.
However, Brock Nelson is our top pickup for Week 21. The Islanders play four games this week, and Nelson is on a tear. With 23 goals on the season, he leads the team in goals and is second in points with 34, all in 46 games. Nelson is riding a four-game goal streak and five-game point streak while centring the top line (yes, ahead of Mat Barzal in the rotation) and the point on the first power play unit.
Ride the hot streak with Nelson this week. He’s just 21% rostered in Yahoo! leagues.
2. Lawson Crouse – LW – Arizona Coyotes
He isn’t the most talented or even the hottest Arizona Coyotes player, but Lawson Crouse is a category coverer that could help anyone’s fantasy roster. If you’re able to add Nick Schmaltz you should do it immediately, but he’s probably gone (40% rostered now) and its likely that Clayton Keller (55% rostered) is already owned too. Crouse is currently getting a very nice boost from playing on the Coyotes’ first power play unit, and chips in all over the stat sheet.
So far this season, Crouse averages two shots, three hits, and half a block per game. He also has 15 goals and 27 points, and will never post zeroes across the board in any game. He’s a nice addition for a week that sees the rolling Coyotes play four times. Crouse is 10% rostered in Yahoo! leagues right now.
3. Esa Lindell – D – Dallas Stars
With Miro Heiskanen out with mononucleosis, the makeup of the Dallas Stars’ blueline has completely changed. It looks like they’ve changed their tune on trading John Klingberg, the most obvious winner of Heiskanen being out of the lineup, but Esa Lindell has benefited greatly as well.
Lindell was already fantasy relevant, but now he’s being used on the Stars’ top power play that features three of the hottest players in the league in Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, and Joe Pavelski. Klingberg is playing the other point, but this is a massive opportunity for Lindell to pad his stats and provide high-end fantasy value. He also chips in on peripherals averaging almost two shots, two blocks, and 1.5 hits per game.
It won’t last long because Heiskanen will be back at some point, but with the Stars playing four games including one against the Montreal Canadians and one against the Islanders, this is an easy play. Lindell is 17% rostered in Yahoo! leagues.
4. Jeff Skinner – LW – Buffalo Sabres
We’ve been beating the Jeff Skinner drum for a while now, and his ownership is still below what it should be. The Sabres have new life and their top line of Skinner, Alex Tuch, and Tage Thompson is doing wonders for them in the second half of the season.
Skinner is a volume shooter and a goal scorer, showcased by his 23 goals and 182 shots through 56 games this season. Buffalo plays three times next week through Western Canada to play the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames. He’s a solid option this week and going forward; it’s hard to find guys who play on the top line and top power play on the waiver wire.
Skinner is 22% owned in Yahoo! leagues.
5. Brandon Hagel – LW/RW – Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Hagel wraps up our list. He scored his 20th goal of the season the other day and has been a really nice story this year. Hagel is currently playing on the wing next to Jonathan Toews, and is getting regular time on the second power play unit.
In 53 games, Hagel has 20 goals, 35 points, 89 shots, 38 hits, and 24 blocks; a very consistent and balanced stat line that can really help out in fantasy. The worst thing you can have in the homestretch of the fantasy season is players who can put up straight zeroes on their worst nights. Hagel won’t do that. He’ll chip in even if he isn’t scoring, though he’s been doing a lot of scoring lately anyway.
He’s no high end option, but to fill that bottom forward slot, you could do a lot worse than Hagel. Hagel is 4% rostered in Yahoo! leagues.
Making a push for the playoffs
As fantasy playoffs draw nearer, rostering impactful players that are overlooked in your leagues will make a huge difference. Finding these diamonds in the rough can pay big dividends for weeks to come.