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NHL Waiver Wire: Picks of the Week

Neil Parker

A loyal Leafs, Cubs and Cowboys fan for decades, Neil has contributed to RotoWire since 2014. He previously worked for USA Today Fantasy Sports and founded

Most teams have three games coming out of the All-Star break with Edmonton, Los Angeles, Montreal and Washington playing four times, and the Panthers only have two contests. With that in mind, please note the potential grabs with an extra game next week.

There aren't many must-add targets to grab leading into next week, but if Bryan Little is on your waiver wire, he's scorching hot and a solid secondary contributor in all seasonal settings. Similarly, Radim Vrbata has caught fire of late and could land on a contender before the end of the season. In most competitive circles both are likely unavailable, though.

Remember to double-check the availability of players previously covered in this space and keep tabs on the recommended adds in our Daily Puck articles throughout the week. 

Bryan Little, F, WPG (Yahoo: 36%, ESPN: 55%, CBS: 69%):With four multi-point showings during his five-game point streak, Little is bordering on must-own territory. He's not going to maintain his current 20.3 shooting percentage, but he's also locked into a top-six role with power-play time, and Winnipeg has a number of game-breaking talents. There aren't fantasy formats where he's not a serviceable contributor.

Andre Burakovsky, F, WAS (Yahoo: 32%, ESPN: 23%, CBS: 48%): In the midst of an offensive binge (five goals, 12 points and 16 shots through his past eight games), Burakovsky is making a midseason charge similar to last season's outburst. The 21-year-old winger owns high-end skill and offers significant offensive potential, but just be wary of his third-line role capping some of his fantasy upside. However, he's combined with Lars Eller and Brett Connolly for an impressive 59.75 Corsi For percentage and 5.01 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five, so there is room for negative regression before the bottom falls out.

Radim Vrbata, F, ARI (Yahoo: 11%, ESPN: 26%, CBS: 36%): Among all skaters with at least 800 minutes this season, Vrbata's 10.7 shots per 60 minutes rank seventh in the league. His 2.42 points per 60 minutes is also an admirable mark, and he's picking up the pace lately with two goals, 10 points and 30 shots over his past eight games. With just a one-year, $1 million contract on the books, Vrabata is also a prime candidate to be traded to a contender. A strong finish could be ahead.

Andrew Copp, F, WPG (Yahoo: 0%, ESPN: 0%, CBS: 1%): Playing in a top-six role of late, Copp has four goals, five points and seven shots with a plus-6 rating over his past five games. He's not a point-per-game scorer, but in deep seasonal leagues, Copp is a player on the rise. The 22-year-old forward showed respectable offensive promise in the NCAA ranks, too.

Dmitry Orlov, D, WAS (Yahoo: 41%, ESPN: 36%, CBS: 68%): Two multi-point outings and a spike in ice time (21:53 with 2:37 on the power play) warrant another recommendation for Orlov. His 1.57 points per 60 minutes rank 10th among all defensemen with at least 750 minutes this season, and he offers a respectable cross-category profile (75 shots, 30 PIM, 77 hits, 61 blocked shots and a plus-21 rating).

Nikita Zaitsev, D, TOR (Yahoo: 10%, ESPN: 18%, CBS: 33%): Morgan Rielly's (ankle) pending return could eat into some of Zaitsev's fantasy appeal, but right now, the 25-year-old rookie is tipping the scales across all categories. Zaitsev has four assists, 11 shots, eight PIM, 18 hits and 19 blocked shots while averaging 23:52 (2:22 with the man advantage) of ice time over his past eight games. There is also potential Rielly's return doesn't slow Zaitsev down at all, too.

Philipp Grubauer, G, WAS (Yahoo: 21%, ESPN: 14%, CBS: 19%): The Capitals have two sets of back-to-back games this week, so expect Grubauer to receive at least one start and potentially two, as Braden Holtby didn't receive the weekend off, after all. While Grubauer shouldn't be confused with a high-end goalie, the Capitals are 12-1-1 in January with just 2.07 goals allowed per 60 minutes.

Four-Game Streamers

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, F, EDM (Yahoo: 22%, ESPN: 42%, CBS: 53%):
Finding some offensive form of late, Nugent-Hopkins has three goals, six points and 18 shots over his past seven games.

Marian Gaborik, F, LOS (Yahoo: %, ESPN: 5%, CBS: 21%): With four goals, seven points and 28 shots over his past 10 games, Gaborik has curbed his dry spell and has found his way back to Anze Kopitar's flank at even strength.

Tom Wilson, F, WAS (Yahoo: 3%, ESPN: 4%, CBS: 13%): An option to help boost your results in the peripheral categories, Wilson has posted 21 PIM and 22 hits through his past six games.

Andrej Sekera, D, EDM (Yahoo: %, ESPN: 36%, CBS: 66%): Somewhat quietly, Sekera has notched three goals, seven points and 28 shots over his past 11 games. His most frequent forward linemate at five-on-five is Connor McDavid, too.

Nikita Nesterov, D, MON (Yahoo: 0%, ESPN: 1%, CBS: 3%): A speculative flier, Nesterov could be a better fit in Montreal, and there's a chance he’ll become a fantasy mainstay.

Players to consider from previous articles: Connor Brown, Mikael Granlund, Conor Sheary, Evander Kane, Mitch Marner, Alexander Wennberg, Robby Fabbri, Rickard Rakell, Anthony Mantha, Anders Lee, Frank Vatrano, Charlie Coyle, Mikael Backlund, Jason Zucker, Sam Reinhart, Nino Niederreiter, Nazem Kadri, Justin Williams, Jake Guentzel, Matthew Tkachuk, Frank Vatrano, Bo Horvat, Jacob Trouba, Nathan Beaulieu, Mattias Ekholm, Trevor Daley, Ryan Ellis, Jeff Petry, Jake Gardiner, Jared Spurgeon, Dion Phaneuf, Juuse Saros, Mike Condon, Aaron Dell, Anders Nilsson