Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Pickups: Last call for red-hot Dawson Mercer
By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
All these trades may be eliciting excitement in the real and fantasy worlds, but they've also created headaches for fantasy hockey writers — especially those who submit columns at specific dates and times — because there's been a lot of activity of late, and that could end up altering a lot of details.
And of course, Friday just happens to be Deadline Day. As this piece has been completed and checked early on, some of the info listed below may turn out to be completely different by the time you read this. Apologies in advance for anything else those wacky NHL GMs get themselves into by 3 p.m. EST!
But after all is said and done, this is still a waiver wire column and players need to be provided. Here are a few whose roles may change based on recent transactions and others who probably won't be affected.
(Rostered rates as of Mar. 3)
Dawson Mercer, NJ (Yahoo: 52%)
There aren't many players in the league who are as hot as Mercer. Like 14-points-in-seven-games hot. And he's scored a goal in seven straight! Mercer's also logging 17:25 per contest during this streak while firing 22 pucks on net. New Jersey's acquisition of Timo Meier could eventually put a dent into Mercer's opportunities and output, but he should remain within the upper half of the depth chart and do enough overall to maintain his status as a solid fantasy forward.
Tom Wilson, WAS (Yahoo: 44%)
ACL surgery in May kept Wilson out until early January, and it only took him eight outings to end up back on the injured list. Since returning on Feb. 18, he's registered five goals, one assist, 18 PIM, 17 shots and 17 hits. Wilson also tallied on the Caps' first power play last Tuesday, but he was only on that unit because Alex Ovechkin was unavailable. He still teams up with the captain and Evgeny Kuznetsov at even-strength, however, and can contribute across the board.
Nino Niederreiter, WPG (Yahoo: 20%)
Niederreiter has been able to combine offensive talent with physicality for a fairly successful career, though perhaps less successful than was expected for a fifth-overall selection who came into the league having already impressed internationally. He began the campaign with a nice run for the Predators, his fourth career franchise, but never really recaptured that until notching four goals across three matchups right before being traded to the Jets. Niederreiter didn't record a point from his Winnipeg debut but skated over 18 minutes — including almost four on the lead man-advantage — while dishing out five hits and earning a double minor.
Thomas Novak, NSH (Yahoo: 10%)
By the time Novak was promoted in mid-December, he had accumulated 11 goals and 15 assists in 25 AHL games. He didn't waste any time helping the Preds with 11 points and 37 shots through his first 19 games while only averaging 11:18. Thanks to a couple of injuries and departures, Novak's load has significantly increased. That extra responsibility has translated into five goals and six helpers over the last seven games, including three PPPs.
Jack Quinn, BUF (Yahoo: 7%)
Alex Tuch left last Friday's contest and is out indefinitely with a lower-body issue. While it was originally assumed Victor Olofsson or Kyle Okposo would take the coveted spot beside Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner, Quinn was selected to fill in at five-on-five and has already impressed with back-to-back two-point efforts. Tuch is projected to return in the next week or so, but until then, Quinn represents a great short-term add and one to watch for the future.
Ryan Strome, ANH (Yahoo: 5%)
Strome may be experiencing a few bumps during his first year in Anaheim, but he's back to skating with the big boys. Joining forces with Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry hasn't necessarily resulted in great fantasy results, though Strome has managed a goal and three assists through eight games to go with 12 shots and 20 PIM. Best to monitor his situation before picking him up in case he cools off or the Ducks continue to switch around lines.
Evgenii Dadonov, DAL (Yahoo: 3%)
This marks the fourth time in his career that Dadonov has been dealt. Or five, if you count Vegas botching last year's arrangement with Anaheim after somehow forgetting about a no-trade clause. Dadonov never really clicked in Montreal, though there was a smattering of scoring toward the end. He's started well with Dallas by contributing in each of the first three, including a PPA on the second unit. Dadonov may not be the most attractive fantasy player, but he's upgraded his location and offers the pedigree of someone who once notched 65 and 70 points in consecutive seasons.
Tyler Johnson, CHI (Yahoo: 1%)
The Blackhawks have basically given up on hiding the fact they're tanking, as their active roster — other than Seth Jones — resembles the dollar DVD bin at your local convenience store. Patrick Kane got his wish and is set to star on Broadway. Max Domi was held out to facilitate a trade. And if Jonathan Toews wasn't on IR, he'd also be packing his bags. So what's left?
Johnson may be the best of the rest unless you want to make a case for Andreas Athanasiou, Taylor Raddysh or Philipp Kurashev. But seriously, Johnson has posted three PPPs in his last six and is logging major minutes. Take him as a flyer.
Evan Bouchard, EDM (Yahoo: 56%)
Tyson Barrie certainly took advantage of quarterbacking Edmonton's top power play, recording 28 of his 43 points there. Now that he's gone to Nashville, someone else will be enjoying their time on the league's best unit. That lucky person, at least for now, is Bouchard. His profile is enhanced by the fact he's decent offensively (yet has failed to find the scoresheet in 17 of the last 19 games), averages almost two pucks on net and supplies enough hits and blocks.
Dmitry Orlov, BOS (Yahoo: 45%)
Raise your hand if you knew Orlov was going to go off for three goals and five assists after coming over from Washington — and that none of those would come against Vancouver. He's fit in perfectly alongside Hampus Lindholm, whose own achievements in his first year with the Bruins have been nothing short of outstanding. Orlov also maintains a spot on the second power-play unit and has already delivered six shots, eight hits and five blocks across four contests. Expect a healthy supply of stats the rest of the way.
Radko Gudas, FLA (Yahoo: 44%)
Goals and assists may be nice in fantasy, but sometimes you're just looking for that defender who will fill in the physical categories. Gudas has been the benchmark in picking up secondary stats throughout his career, and that trend has continued this campaign with 83 shots, 59 PIM, 210 hits and 95 blocks. He also has a lead short-handed spot with 11 points to boot, though the latter is more of a bonus considering his personal peak for a season is just 23.
Shayne Gostisbehere, CAR (Yahoo: 41%)
Beyond Brent Burns, the Canes haven't really offered much offensive potential from the back line. That's probably why they went out and got Gostisbehere on Wednesday. After a couple shaky years with Philly, he was rejuvenated in Arizona and racked up 82 points over 134 outings. We don't know how Carolina's lineup will look until Gostisbehere suits up, though it's likely he'll participate on one of the man-advantage groups. His ice time may take a hit, but there's the opportunity to produce on a much better lineup and keep that plus-minus in check.
Antti Raanta, CAR (Yahoo: 45%)
When Frederik Andersen returned from a two-month layoff in January, he found immediate success, posting wins in each of his first four appearances. But his form has since dipped, with a 2.64 GAA and .892 save percentage over the next nine. Even though Raanta has recently received far fewer starts than Andersen, he's been outstanding when called upon, going 5-0 with a 1.28/.953 line that includes a shutout last Friday. Andersen will probably continue his role as Carolina's No. 1, though Raanta's latest run should get him more game time behind the league's second-best D.
Joonas Korpisalo, LA (Yahoo: 31%)
The Kings are hovering around the top of the Pacific Division and have been intent on bolstering their lineup. Pheonix Copley has been winning more often than not, yet his 2.79 GAA and .903 save percentage since Jan. 24 is less than encouraging. And as Jonathan Quick has been struggling all season, Korpisalo was acquired from Columbus with Quick going the other way (and then moving on again to Vegas). The former Blue Jacket's career numbers may be underwhelming, but he still somehow produced a .911 SV% this year and has proven in the past he can carry a club — like that time he made 85 saves against Tampa during the 2020 playoffs.
Players to consider from past columns: Martin Necas, David Krejci, Dylan Cozens, Matty Beniers, Robert Thomas, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jeff Skinner, Andrei Kuzmenko, Dylan Strome, Nick Schmaltz, Logan Couture, Kevin Hayes, Ryan O'Reilly, Mason McTavish, Lucas Raymond, Brock Boeser, Filip Chytil, Bryan Rust, Owen Tippett, Jared McCann, J.T. Compher, Conor Sheary, Anthony Beauvillier, Seth Jarvis, Boone Jenner, Cole Perfetti, Scott Laughton, Jack Roslovic, Brandon Hagel, Gabriel Vilardi, Phillip Danault, Sam Steel, Jordan Eberle, Evan Rodrigues, Robby Fabbri, William Karlsson, Viktor Arvidsson, Eeli Tolvanen, Anton Lundell, Ondrej Palat, Jason Zucker, Nick Paul, Tyler Bertuzzi, Kirill Marchenko, Seth Jones, Brandon Montour, Cam Fowler, Brady Skjei, Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Ristolainen, Vince Dunn, Bowen Byram, Juuso Valimaki, Calen Addison, Adam Larsson, Jeff Petry, Samuel Girard, K'Andre Miller, Sean Durzi, Sebastian Aho, Mike Matheson, Janis Moser, Vitek Vanecek, Martin Jones, Karel Vejmelka, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Stuart Skinner, Pheonix Copley, Semyon Varlamov, Mads Sogaard, Philipp Grubauer