Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire: Go get Juraj Slafkovsky now!

Juraj Slafkovsky #20 of the Montreal Canadiens

Do not let Juraj Slafkovsky go unrostered in your fantasy hockey leagues. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Trade deadlines are quickly approaching in real life and fantasy. Most NHL clubs will want to make deals in the coming weeks, and you should be considering the same for your lineups regardless of how your teams are doing.

If you’re projected to be a contender, search the league for available upgrades and try to plan reasonable offers. And should you be looking toward next year, see what future considerations and talent can be acquired for players holding current value.

That said, the trade options may not work out, so here are a few players who are available for free in most leagues.

(Rostered rates as of Feb. 16)


Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets (Yahoo: 40%)

Jenner has generally proven to be a solid fantasy performer over the years in formats counting a wide variety of stats. He may have only peaked at 49 points way back in 2015-16, but his other contributions more than make up for that with consistent career averages of around three shots, two hits, and a block per game while holding down a regular power-play role. That’s continued into this season, while Jenner’s scoring has heavily leaned in a certain direction, with 16 of his 21 points being goals. If we focus on his last two outings, he’s found the back of the net three times on 13 shots while adding 12 hits and combining for over 48 minutes. As Columbus’ current top center in all scoring situations, Jenner can help in any league.

Juraj Slafkovsky, Montreal Canadiens (Yahoo: 40%)

Slafkovsky saw his coverage more than double the last couple of days, which isn’t surprising considering he’s been on fire in 2024 with eight goals, eight assists, 34 shots, 29 hits and 11 blocks while averaging 18:46. And seven of those 16 points were PPPs. First line, first man-advantage. Don’t think anything else needs to be said. Wait, here’s three more words: Get Slafkovsky now.

Pavel Zacha, Boston Bruins (Yahoo: 37%)

It may not seem like Zacha has been as prominent offensively as he was earlier on, yet 12 points from his last 16 contests still represents a decent haul. He may not always be centering the likes of David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand at five-on-five, though he’s still in the top six and teams up with that duo on Boston’s top PP. And Zacha isn’t all about the scoring, having already collected 93 shots and 62 hits. He may not break his personal best of 57 points set last year, but regular output and advanced placement on a potent attack should get him back on more rosters.

Artturi Lehkonen, Colorado Avalanche (Yahoo: 36%)

A few poolies shed Lehkonen while he was out with a neck injury that caused him to miss over three months. He wasn’t immediately installed on the top trio or power play upon returning, though he eventually regained his power-play spot during the last week. Lehkonen started off slowly, with only one assist from his first six games, before going off for four points on Tuesday (including his first PPP since Oct. 21) followed by a PPG and a helper Thursday while skating 20:17. Based on who else is involved on Colorado’s lead power play, that should be enough of a reason to pick up Lehkonen.

Kyle Palmieri, New York Islanders (Yahoo: 12%)

Unless you watch a lot of hockey or are an Isles fan, then Palmieri’s recent exploits probably haven’t found your fantasy radar. The club has produced a few notable scorers in the last few years, yet his name often gets lost. But more people may start noticing Palmieri as he’s racked up four goals, five assists, 39 shots and 17 hits across nine appearances. The points are the main attraction, yet his volume of pucks on net over that span is astounding — most notably, the 11 in Montreal on Jan. 25. Palmieri will draw you in with his scoring while the rest of the numbers offer further incentive.

Erik Haula, New Jersey Devils (Yahoo: 9%)

Haula has frequently moved during his NHL career, with Jersey marking his seventh stop. And he’s proven valuable in almost every location, though he usually doesn’t get enough credit. In his second season with the Devils, Haula has maintained adequate totals and currently has the pleasure of centering two gifted forwards in Jack Hughes and Tyler Toffoli — and recently joined forces with Timo Meier and Dawson Mercer. That level of company has led to four points in six outings on top of 11 shots, seven hits and 47 faceoff wins. Jersey’s depth up front is strong enough that Haula provides plenty of value anywhere within the top nine.

Jack McBain, Arizona Coyotes (Yahoo: 5%)

You may remember McBain as the player who finished last year fourth overall in hits with 304. He’s still laying out opponents, but that’s not the only reason we’re recommending him. McBain just happens to be the regular center on Arizona’s first even-strength unit between Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz. And with that type of talent comes the possibility of scoring. The six assists from 12 contests may not look great, yet that along with the prime positioning allows McBain more opportunities. Give him a chance, unless your league doesn’t use hits.

Mathieu Joseph, Ottawa Senators (Yahoo: 3%)

Joseph has been decent when available this season. Of course, the key phrase is “when available,” as he was out for over two weeks surrounded by 24 points through 40 matchups. Ottawa’s latest alignment has Joseph on a trio beside Tim Stutzle and Claude Giroux, where he’s registered two goals, three assists, 21 shots and 21 hits over the last 11. With that kind of cross-category production and a history of proficient scoring while in the lineup, there’s little risk in adding him.


Torey Krug, St. Louis Blues (Yahoo: 24%)

It only took a career-high five assists on Sunday for Krug to earn a boost in coverage. He only managed one helper the preceding four weeks, so there may be concern regarding future consistency despite solid contributions in other departments. Scott Perunovich had been quarterbacking the Blues’ first PP until getting sidelined right before the All-Star break. Colton Parayko initially received a chance to cover that role, though Krug has since operated as the lead. Even when Perunovich returns, Krug should continue that primary placement or at least participate on an above-average second unit.

Rasmus Sandin, Washington Capitals (Yahoo: 14%)

After Sandin was first featured here in mid-November, he went on a prolonged offensive slump, producing just two assists across 17 games. He got back on track with points in four of the next five before missing some time due to an upper-body injury. The first two outings upon Sandin’s return wouldn’t yield any scoring, but he’s since notched two goals and two assists over the last six. And he’s remained active in other areas during that run, posting nine shots, nine blocks and seven hits while leading the line on the Caps’ other man-advantage.

Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild (Yahoo: 5%)

The Wild have been decimated on D, losing a couple key players for significant stretches. Jared Spurgeon was shelved for the season soon after New Year’s and Brodin sat for over a month with an undisclosed injury. Brock Faber has emerged as Minnesota’s big-minute blueliner who’s involved in all scoring situations. And since Brodin reappeared on Jan. 15, he’s assumed the second slot on the depth chart via seven points, 23 shots and 25 blocks on 23:12 a night. He’s also recently moved into a spot on the backup power play while maintaining a prominent short-handed role.

Ryan Pulock, New York Islanders (Yahoo: 3%)

Pulock may have lost fantasy appeal the last few years based on declining offensive totals, yet he’s still a solid real-life defender. He was also absent for seven weeks before coming back last Monday. In the four matchups since his return, Pulock has potted a PPG supplemented by six shots, 13 hits and six blocks. Don’t expect him to keep finding the back of the net, though he qualifies as a decent add for those looking to improve in secondary stats. And never discount the importance of power-play involvement.


Marc-Andre Fleury , Minnesota Wild (Yahoo: 56%)

At 39, Fleury clearly isn’t the workhorse he used to be since Filip Gustavsson took over the No. 1 job in Minnesota last year. But that doesn’t mean he should be avoided in fantasy. After all, Fleury has posted wins in his last two starts following a brief injury break — including one against his former club (Pittsburgh) that also marked his 1,000th NHL appearance. With the Wild doing great of late and a couple upcoming back-to-backs, expect the veteran to be a key part of their playoff push. Check if he’s still available.

Philipp Grubauer, Seattle Kraken (Yahoo: 13%)

Grubauer didn’t fare particularly well earlier this season, to the point where Joey Daccord eventually cemented his place as the Kraken’s top goalie. And then he missed two months of action with a lower-body issue. Grubauer’s return Tuesday proved impressive, as he stopped 26 of 27 shots on the road against the Islanders. Daccord’s stats have slightly slipped, though he’s still the lead netminder in Seattle. At the same time, he never logged more than eight games in a season heading into the current campaign and has accumulated 37 so far. Now healthy, Grubauer offers the experience to help fill in when Daccord needs a rest or increase his workload with more excellent performances.

Players to consider from past columns: Seth Jarvis, Ryan O’Reilly, William Karlsson, Wyatt Johnston, Jonathan Huberdeau, Dylan Cozens, Johnny Gaudreau, Quinton Byfield, Cam Atkinson, Gustav Nyquist, Troy Terry, Josh Norris, Robert Thomas, Nazem Kadri, Andrei Kuzmenko, Mason Raymond, Cole Perfetti, Nikolaj Ehlers, Chandler Stephenson, Mason McTavish, Dylan Strome, Brayden Schenn, Ivan Barbashev, Charlie Coyle, Mason Marchment, Jordan Eberle, Shane Pinto, Jonathan Drouin, Marco Rossi, Nicolas Roy, Trevor Moore, Sam Bennett, John-Jason Peterka, James van Riemsdyk, Blake Coleman, Morgan Geekie, Yegor Sharangovich, Sean Couturier, Eeli Tolvanen, Ross Colton, David Perron, Dakota Joshua, Matias Maccelli, Alex Killorn, Daniel Sprong, Jake Sanderson, Mike Matheson, Brock Faber, Noah Hanifin, Filip Hronek, Thomas Harley, Jamie Drysdale, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Cam Fowler, Neal Pionk, Simon Nemec, Ivan Provorov, Darren Raddysh, Colton Parayko, Connor Ingram, Alex Lyon, Joey Daccord, Ilya Samsonov, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Jonathan Quick, Anthony Stolarz, Laurent Brossoit, Joel Hofer, Elvis Merzlikins, Petr Mrazek