As we close out 2022, the NHL fantasy season is still just getting started. Once we enter 2023 the playoff push begins as teams start to divide themselves from the pack at both ends of the standings. Scouring the waiver wire for some extra boosts to your category coverage can be a great way to gain the upper hand down the stretch.
If you’re in need of some help in one of the major stat categories, consider adding one of the below players to ensure your team is at its best in every category.
Goals – Daniel Sprong, RW, SEA
When you’re hot, you’re hot and Daniel Sprong is red-hot right now. The 25-year-old has bounced around the league thus far in his career but he may have finally found a landing spot with the Seattle Kraken. Sprong is currently on pace to shatter his career best for goals due to a recent hot stretch. Over his past six games dating back to December 11, Sprong has scored five goals. That’s half of his full season total of 10.
His five goals since December 1 are tied for second most in the entire NHL, with names like Connor McDavid, Tage Thompson, and Mark Stone to name a few. What’s even more impressive is he’s doing all this while averaging around 11 minutes a game and skating on the fourth line. If he keeps this up he’ll no doubt be in line for more minutes. He’s already seeing time on the top power play unit. At just 1% owned in Yahoo! leagues Sprong is an easy pick up to boost your goal totals.
Assists – Matias Maccelli, LW, ARI
Matias Maccelli has rose from obscurity to legit fantasy asset this season. He’s been one of the best rookies in the NHL for the Coyotes yet is still available in almost every fantasy league. Maccelli has particularly been racking up assists. A total of 19 of his 22 points this season have come via assists. Despite this he’s currently just 4% owned in Yahoo! leagues.
In his last 13 games, he’s posted 10 assists which leads the Coyotes during that span. His 10 assists dating back to November 21 are also tied for eighth league wide. Overall this season he ranks tied for 13th in the NHL for assists among forwards. He’s currently logging over 15 minutes a game playing on the team’s second line and top power play unit so there’s no reason the production will stop while getting ample opportunity on a young Coyotes roster.
However, he did leave the last game before Christmas with an injury, so keep an eye on that.
Hits – Tanner Jeannot, LW, NSH
After a breakout 2021–22 campaign, there was a lot expected of Tanner Jeannot this season. Unfortunately he has failed to live up to the hype as he’s posted just six points this season. The good news for fantasy managers is he’s still racking up a crazy amount of hits this season.
Jeannot currently has 119 hits in just 31 games, good for an average of 3.8 hits per game. His 119 hits are third in the entire NHL, behind only Nicolas Deslaurier and Luke Schenn. What makes Jeannot more appealing is the fact he also sprinkles in some offensive upside compared to the other two. He’s shown he can produce more than just hits in the past and is still playing top-six minutes on the Predators. At 33% owned he’s available in most leagues and will guarantee you a lot of hits.
Shots – Frank Vatrano, LW, ANA
Frank Vatrano has taken full advantage of his top six role with the Anaheim Ducks. If you’re in need of some extra shot totals on your team, he’s the perfect target as he’s been racking up the shots recently. Vatrano currently sits with 104 shots on the year in 34 games, good for right around three shots per game. His 104 shots are currently first on the Ducks. Apart from Troy Terry who has 103, the next closest name is Trevor Zegras with only 76.
Vatrano has only gone without a shot two times this season, on November 21and 25. He’s posted at least four shots in 11 games this season. He’s currently lining up on the second line as well as on the second power play unit so there’s no reason the shots won’t keep coming. At 8% owned in Yahoo! right now, he’s an easy add to boost your shot totals.
Blocks – Alec Martinez, D, VGK
Alec Martinez is a blocks machine this season. He currently has 126 blocks on the year in 35 games, equaling right around 3.6 blocks per game. His 126 blocks are first in the entire NHL, and 40 more than anyone else in the league. He’s in a league of his own when it comes to blocks right now. In the month of December, he’s only gone one game without a block. He’s had at least two blocks in eight of his 11 games in December.
He also sprinkles in the occasional shot and hit as well, although he doesn’t bring a lot of offensive production with just five points this season. Even if he isn’t contributing in many other ways right now, he’s a great add to plug into your lineup to rack up blocks. At 21% owned, he’s a worthwhile add if you need blocks.
Covering the categories
With the NHL heading into the Christmas break, playoff pictures for the league are becoming clearer and clearer. The same cannot be said about fantasy hockey as most leagues are likely still wide open. There are a bunch of players available to lock in categories right now and they can be difference makers with each passing week.