Injuries are starting to pile up among fantasy stars, so fantasy owners will move their draft picks to IR and open up spots on their roster. Finding an undrafted gem to start the season can go a long way toward building a championship team.
Fantasy Editor Brock Seguin and Fantasy Analyst Michael Bondy give you their favorite post-draft mics that are available in at least 65% of Yahoo leagues.
Logan Couture (SJS – C) – 34% owned
It’s rare to come out of a draft and be able to add a center that’s consistently put up 60-70 points and 200 shots, but you can do it with Couture this season. With San Jose having their first two games in Europe on Oct. 7 and 8, he’s making a sneaky preseason scoop as he contributes across the board in every fantasy category and could give teams a nice early lead. Additionally, Couture is one streak away from returning to the 30-goal, 70-point form fans saw in 2018-19, making him a great trade play if he can get going from the start. – Michael Bondy
Andrei Kuzmenko (VAN – LW) – 31% owned
Kuzmenko is one of my favorite last-round picks this year, and he’s still available in 69% of the leagues. The 26-year-old Russian winger was highly sought after after a 53-point (20G/33A) season with St. Petersburg SKA (KHL). Kuzmenko opted to sign a one-year contract with the Canucks and was hip-stapled by Elias Pettersson during the preseason. Also, with Brock Boeser injured, Kuzmenko replaces the Canucks’ top power-play unit. A skilful and very talented skating winger should excel in this type of use.
Make no mistake about it; he’s no Artemi Panarin, but he should make an immediate fantastic impact and has plenty of upside for a player that you can find on the waiver wire. – Brock Seguin
Rickard Rakell (PIT – LW / RW) – 27% held
Rakell found success after changing scenery and moving from the Anaheim Ducks to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the trade deadline in 2021-22. Scoring four goals and 13 points on 48 shooting in 19 games, Rakell has become an integral part of the Penguins’ top 6. Over a full season, his Pittsburgh production would have been good for 56 points and 207 shots in 82 games, strong production for a waiver wire target. The 29-year-old may not find himself in the Penguins’ best power-play unit just yet, but being the third cog on their front line alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel isn’t a bad place to be. find on the fantasy plane. during this time. Rakell has already had a season of 34 goals and 35 assists, and if he can get back to even three-quarters of that production, he’ll make great roster filler as he finds himself in the ever-lethal top 6 of Penguins. – Michael Bondy
Phil Kessel (VGK – RW) – 23% owned
After three years in Arizona, Kessel signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Golden Knights in August. He spent pre-season on Jack Eichel’s wing, and the duo played hugely in an admittedly small sample. Eichel has three goals and Kessel has picked up assists on all of them.
Kessel’s sniper volume also returned (11.4 SOG/60), and both are averaging 3.5 xGF/60. Sure, it would be foolish to buy into such a small sample, especially in the preseason, but these are two players with outstanding track records and seeing early chemistry is an indicator that Kessel could start in Vegas. – Brock Seguin
Nick Schmaltz (ARI – C/RW) – 11% owned
Much like Couture, Schmaltz is a rare free agent who is a lock to occupy both his team’s top power play and front row heading into the 2022-23 season. Besides hurting your plus/minus, Schmaltz is solid in almost every other statistical category as he finished 2021-22 just under one point per game with 59 points (23G/36A) in 63 games played. His numbers were boosted by his elite second half of the season, which saw him bag 18 goals and 26 assists in 39 games to close the year. The 26-year-old finds himself leading the Coyotes in seemingly the same situation as a season ago alongside the talented Clayton Keller. You can rarely catch a player with points-per-game potential immediately after your draft ends, which makes Schmaltz a diamond in the Arizona desert. Look for the eligible C/RW asset to populate your list after the draft. – Michael Bondy
Alex Newhook (COL – C/LW) – 9% ownership
If you’re lucky enough to field a top 6 Avalanche player in fantasy, it’s usually a good idea. Nazem Kadri proved just how effective the Avalanche’s second-line center spot could be in fantasy as he had a career-high 87 points in 2021-22. Kadri left town for Calgary, leaving a glaring hole that the 21-year-old first-round pick will try to fill. In his first full NHL season, Newhook scored double-digit goals (13) and assists (20) while consistently landing in the bottom 6. If he can lock down the coveted center second row spot, he should make a fantastic leap forward. Newhook has 58 points in 46 college games for Boston College, so there’s definitely an offense to unlock. Newhook is a low-risk, super-high cap free agent scoop that could potentially keep your fantasy roster busy all season. His C/LW eligibility also makes him an easy target to fit into your lineup. – Michael Bondy
Jack Quinn (BUF – RW) – 8% owned
Quinn had 61 points (26 G/35 A) in 45 games in the 2021-22 AHL season, and it looks like he could find himself on the Sabers’ first line to start the 2022-23 season. This earns him more attention than most other players on the waiver wire at the start of the season.
The 2020 No. 8 overall pick has enjoyed success early this preseason, picking up two goals and an assist in his first three preseason games. If similar products can be had while playing at the top of the Sabers roster, it could make for a great scoop as the 21-year-old has one of the highest offensive ceilings of any rookie entering 2022-23. – Michael Bondy
Frank Vatrano (ANA – LW/RW) – 8% owned
Vatrano has been a consistent producer over the past four years, averaging 23 goals and 16 assists per 82 games while playing just 14:20 ATOI. We finally got to see what he might be capable of in a high role after a mid-season trade to the New York Rangers. Vatrano spent time in the top 6, scoring eight goals with five assists (13 points) in 22 games while playing 15:18 ATOI. He turned that into a three-year contract with the Ducks in the offseason, and he should be Trevor Zegras’ linemate to open the season if Zegras is 100 percent. We saw Zegras help turn Troy Terry into a 37-goal scorer last year, so it’s easy to connect the dots and expect a breakout campaign from Vatrano. – Brock Seguin
Calen Addison (MIN – D) – 7% owned
Addison was originally a second-round pick (#53 overall in 2018) of the Penguins and was traded to the Wild as part of Jason Zucker’s trade in 2020. Addison has recorded exceptional numbers in the Iowa (AHL) since and appears expected to become a full-time NHL player in 2022-23. Addison may not play meaningful minutes at 5-on-5, but he was the No. 1 power play unit quarterback in the preseason, so he’s considered a great source of PPP. If you’ve been waiting to sign a No. 4 defender or Charlie McAvoy to go to the IR, Addison is the perfect free agent pick. – Brock Seguin
Dylan Holloway (EDM – C) – 4% owned
Holloway was the 14th overall pick in 2020 and turned pro last season, scoring eight goals and 14 assists (22 points) in 33 AHL games with Bakersfield. He made his NHL debut in the playoffs. He entered the preseason as a roster prospect, but quickly climbed the Oilers depth chart and pleaded for the first 6 minutes. In four preseason games, Holloway has scored four goals and two assists, including a hat-trick on Monday.
Holloway skated with Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman in this game, and although Ty Rattie taught us that pre-season means nothing, it’s exciting to think of Holloway’s upside if he plays in the top 6 from the Oilers. He is worth picking up to start the season, and if all goes well, he will be a very promising winger for the rest of the season. Conversely, you can knock it down if it lands at the bottom of the depth chart. – Brock Seguin