Fantasy hockey: One player to add for each category in Week 12

·7 min read

With the 14-day, COVID-19-marred marathon of Week 11 now in the rearview mirror, it's time for fantasy managers to get set for Week 12.

It's the first full week of the new year, and for those who are looking to start 2022 on a strong note, here are some of the top players to target on the waiver wire.

Goals: LW/RW Nino Niederreiter, Carolina Hurricanes (31 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Nino Niederreiter is beginning to heat up for the Hurricanes, and even though the team plays just two games this week, the Swiss winger is still worth adding in fantasy hockey.

For starters, Niederreiter is set up very well as he's playing alongside Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen on the squad's top line. Additionally, he's been a reliable producer of late for the Canes, as he's potted four goals in his last four outings.

Playing on such an explosive line, Niederreiter has also been a solid source of plus-minus, as he owns a plus-10 rating this season. He's also thrown 29 hits in 25 contests, which isn't horrible, either.

Nino Niederreiter is ready to help you boost your goal scoring in fantasy hockey. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
Nino Niederreiter is ready to help you boost your goal scoring in fantasy hockey. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Assists: C Ryan Johansen, Nashville Predators (37 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Ryan Johansen may just be the best player available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, and that's not something I thought I'd be saying ahead of this season.

The 29-year-old is having a major bounce-back campaign for the Predators as he's posted 10 goals and 27 points across 30 games this year. Since recently being activated from the league's COVID-19 protocols, Johansen has produced two goals and an assist in three outings.

Johansen has also been delivering faceoff wins and power-play points for fantasy managers. His 271 draw victories sit 21st, while his 10 power-play points are tied for 23rd in the NHL.

He and the Preds play three games weeks, but Johansen's early-season success could make him someone who is kept beyond Week 12.

Plus-minus: D Alex Goligoski, Minnesota Wild (39 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Playing on a Wild team that's banked a lot of wins so far this season, Alex Goligoski is a great player to target for fantasy managers looking to bolster their plus-minus total.

The veteran rearguard has been among the NHL's best in the category, as his plus-16 rating is tied for 11th across the league. He's also been a consistent offensive contributor lately, too, as he's registered an assist in four straight games and in five of his last six outings.

Defensively, he's managed 25 hits and 36 blocks, which are just fine numbers for a blueliner. Minnesota plays two games this week, but with a stat like plus-minus, volume isn't quite as important compared to stats like hits, blocks, and shots on goal.

Power-play points: RW Travis Konecny, Philadelphia Flyers (35 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Waiver wires aren't loaded with players seeing time on their respective teams's top power-play units, but Travis Konecny is and is likely as good as it's going to get for fantasy managers looking to boost their performance in this category.

Playing on the Flyers's PP1, Konecny has totalled three power-play points in his last 10 games. The 24-year-old's main source of points has been assists, as he's notched nine helpers in his last 10 contests. He's picked up five goals and 19 points across 32 outings on the season.

Konecny's 45 hits during the 2021-22 campaign are also a respectable amount for a forward, and he'll likely improve upon his five goals as his 5.7 shooting percentage is well below his career number of 12.1 percent. Philly plays three games this week.

Shots on goal: LW/RW Viktor Arvidsson, Los Angeles Kings (37 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Fresh off a four-point outing, Viktor Arvidsson is poised to go on a nice run coming out of the holiday break.

Simply put, Arvidsson has been due. His 5-on-5 13.88 scoring chances for per-60 rank second across the entire NHL, according to Natural Stat Trick, as only Auston Matthews (15.18) has produced at a better rate. In addition to the quality of opportunities he has seen, the Swedish winger has also been supplying them in bulk, as his 94 shots on goal are tied for 31st in the league.

His 8.5 percent shooting percentage sits noticeably below his 11.2 percent career mark, and is likely to undergo a sharp increase very soon. He and the Kings play just two games this week, but he's someone I'm looking to roster for a little while.

Faceoff wins: C/LW Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets (32 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Boone Jenner continues to dominate at the dot and provide steady offensive production, making him the go-to player for this category.

On the season, Jenner's 346 draw victories are the seventh-most in the NHL, and the main reason for this is the 28-year-old's deployment on the first line and top power-play unit. Playing these important roles for the Blue Jackets, Jenner has racked up 12 goals, 20 points, and six power-play points.

Defensively, he's chipped in 33 blocks, which is solid for a forward. Columbus is scheduled to play three games this week.

Hits: D Radko Gudas, Florida Panthers (50 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Every once in a while, Radko Gudas's rostered percentage dips into the 50 percent or less range, and when it does, you can bet he's going to be in my column.

Gudas continues to do what he does best, which is punish people. Over his last five games, the 31-year-old has totalled a daunting 20 body checks, and his 130 hits on the year rank second across the entire NHL.

In addition to hits, the Prague native has also been a quality source of blocked shots with 46 so far. He's even provided a little bit of offense recently with two points in his last three games, but don't bank on that continuing.

Gudas and the Panthers are scheduled to suit up for three games in Week 12.

Blocks: D Matt Roy, Los Angeles Kings (24 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Matt Roy's been serviceable in a number of categories recently, and with it being very difficult to find players who block shots that are just that, he's someone who should be considered for fantasy lineups in Week 12.

Roy's 21 blocked shots over the last 30 days are tied for 14th in the NHL. His 24 body checks during that time are tied for 29th, making him useful for fantasy managers in that regard, too. He's also provided a strong plus-seven rating and 33 shots during this stretch. 

He's even been able to offer some offense, too, as Roy has recorded six assists in his last nine games.

He and the Kings only play two games over the next seven days, but given his versatility, he's worth nabbing off the wire.

Goaltending: G Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (31 percent rostered on Yahoo)

Until Tuukka Rask's rostered percentage creeps over 50 percent, I'm going to continue writing about him.

When discussing the target date for the Finnish netminder's seemingly eventual return to the Bruins' crease, head coach Bruce Cassidy suggested that it could be Jan. 18. That means Rask could be back between the pipes for Boston in roughly two weeks.

Sure, there's some reason for concern with the torn labrum in his hip that he is returning from, but given his stellar track record as one of the best goaltenders of the last decade, I'm more than willing to take a flier, especially considering he's freely available on waiver wires in 69 percent of leagues.

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