NHL Fantasy Waiver Wire: Who to add in the absence of Letang

Watch as Vancouver Canucks' Troy Stecher scores his first career NHL goal.

Last week we recommended Antti Raanta because of his strong numbers from when he received a chance to start. What we didn’t expect was that Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault would grant Raanta four consecutive starts, earning wins in three of them and shutouts in two of them. Not with a veteran as established as Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes.

Many waiver-wire grabs may turn out to be just short-term opportunities. But in the case of Raanta, he was named one of the NHL’s three stars this past week. One of the other stars, Sam Gagner, was listed here as a waiver-wire pick earlier this season. So never underestimate the possibility that you may strike gold off the waiver wire – even if it’s only for a brief stretch.

Viktor Arvidsson, LW, NSH

Arvidsson is quietly making a name for himself. With an assist on Thursday against Minnesota, he now has points in five consecutive games. Throughout the season, he has also been lining up with Ryan Johansen (see more line combinations here). With a career-high of 20 points, Arvidsson is also near the top of the Predators’ team lead in scoring, just one point behind Johansen. Arvidsson has been helping his cause by taking 95 shots, which leads the team.

Jason Zucker, LW/RW, MIN

If you need help with both scoring and plus/minus, you might want to look toward Zucker. The Wild forward currently has 10 points over his last 11 games while also leading current Wild roster players with 2.7 points per 60 minutes. Zucker is also tied for fifth in the NHL (second on the Wild) with a +16 ranking. One downside: Zucker’s power-play time is minimal, so you may want to look elsewhere if that is a key stat in your league. But remember that sustained production should eventually land him there.

Derek Ryan, C, CAR

Ryan has travelled the long path to reach the NHL. If you’ve never heard of him, he’s a first-year NHLer who is about to turn 30 later this month. But, his recent numbers should prove that he’ll be in the show for more than just a cup of coffee. Ryan has 11 points in 16 games this season, including seven points in his last four games and nine points in his last seven games. In Tuesday’s scoring derby with Vancouver, Ryan recorded three assists (two on the power play) playing on a line with Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask. Since Carolina is thin up front, Ryan could stick with the Hurricanes’ better scorers for a while.

Trevor Daley, D, PIT

Daley has points in three consecutive games and is also spending time on the Penguins’ first power-play unit. But Kris Letang’s latest injury – one that will keep him out at least two weeks – is the main reason that you should consider adding Daley. He has proven that he can handle a large workload in the past, regularly averaging over 20 minutes per game throughout his career. Speaking of Letang’s injury, keep an eye on Derrick Pouliot, who was recently called up and offers significant offensive upside.

Brad Hunt, D, STL

You probably didn’t add Hunt to your team when he was recalled by the Blues from the AHL recently. Yet four games later, Hunt has a point in each game – a goal and three assists. Already 28 years old and having bounced around the Oilers’ system the previous few seasons, Hunt was deserving of a callup after tearing up the AHL this season (29 points in 23 games). Hunt may not be able to stick around when he cools off, but smaller, mobile defensemen are as hot a commodity as they’ve ever been. Hunt’s overall icetime is limited (just 12 minutes in his last game), but the Blues have found a place for him on the power play, where he has recorded two of his points.

Troy Stecher, D, VAN

Speaking of small, mobile defensemen who log power-play minutes, Stecher has been doing that since being recalled by the Canucks. Currently logging first-unit power-play minutes and over 20 minutes per game consistently, Stecher is a top-10 defenseman in shots taken over the past month and is third on the Canucks with 63 shots on goal. That total is even more impressive if you consider that he has missed nine games because he started the season in the AHL (which has more to do with his contract than his play). With his shooting percentage at a super low 1.6 percent, Stecher should improve on his offensive output (7 points in 21 games).

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