Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire: Shane Pinto leads pickups for the week ahead

By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Fantasy is fun when you've got a nice lead going into the Saturday of a weekly head-to-head matchup and then have almost all of your players seemingly conspire to sabotage your effort. And then you're sitting there Sunday hoping for a miracle, which often fails to happen.

But it's only one week and there are many more to come. And I've already forgotten about it.

On to the latest waiver selections. All are guaranteed to help … or disappoint (but hopefully not).

(Rostered rates as of Nov. 4)


Jeff Skinner, BUF (Yahoo: 42 percent)

Skinner re-established himself last season with 63 points and 262 shots within an up-and-coming lineup. Some of Buffalo's youth have already impressed, with 25-and-unders Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin leading the pack, though the 30-year-old Skinner isn't far behind with 10 points, including a club-co-leading eight assists. He's also been red-hot the last week with two goals and six helpers. With the Sabres ranking second in goals per game, expect Skinner and others to keep producing.

Shane Pinto, OTT (Yahoo: 26%)

As a reward for taking NHL October Rookie of the Month, Pinto recently got placed between Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson on the first line at even strength. He jumped straight from the NCAA to the Sens in 2021 and is getting his chance to shine with the rest of the team's exciting forward talent. Six goals so far and a regular place on the backup man-advantage bodes well for Pinto, as does the opportunity for additional ice time in place of Josh Norris (shoulder).

Kevin Hayes, PHI (Yahoo: 25%)

A couple of physical problems kept Hayes out for a large chunk of 2021-22, though he still racked up 31 points over 48 contests. A quick start resulted in a goal and nine assists across the opening seven games, highlighted by four power-play assists. Hayes has been held off the scoresheet in the last three, but he's skated just under 21 minutes during those contests while averaging over two shots on net and remaining active on the Flyers' top power play.

Dylan Strome, WAS (Yahoo: 25%)

It seems like Strome has played forever, yet he's still only 25. He quietly posted 48 points — with 16 PPPs — in only 69 games with the Blackhawks last season, and the Caps did some nice business during the summer by inking him to a reasonable one-year deal. With Washington missing a few key forwards, Strome is front and center as the second pivot at five-on-five and the top one on the power play. Nine points — with five while up a man — and 78 faceoff wins on 18-plus minutes a night doesn't sound too bad for someone who can be had in three of every four leagues.

Viktor Arvidsson, LA (Yahoo: 15%)

Arvidsson came into the campaign with a couple physical issues and failed to score in any of the first five outings. He's turned it around grabbing two goals, four assists and 15 shots through the next six. Arvidsson has also picked up three PPPs on the Kings' second unit while sticking in the top six. He hasn't completed anything close to a full season since 2017-18, but 60 points and 250 shots aren't out of the question if he can stay relatively healthy.

Evan Rodrigues, COL (Yahoo: 11%)

Rodrigues became a fantasy darling early last season before leveling off, though he finished with a three-shot average while appearing in all 82 games. Artturi Lehkonen entered the season as Colorado's No. 1 left winger, which meant a place alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. He's still with the duo on the man-advantage, though Rodrigues has replaced him at even-strength for now. There's no guarantee the Toronto native will stay among the first two lines, but you can't argue with a player who most recently pulled off a two-goal, three-shot, two-hit, two-block effort on 27:10 (!).

Jack Roslovic, CLS (Yahoo: 5%)

Boone Jenner was primed to be the Blue Jackets' lead center between Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine, but it didn't really work out and Roslovic was allowed to replace the captain on the top trio. He hasn't produced a point since joining his elite linemates, though he should get a longer look with Jenner sidelined. Columbus has looked awful of late and that's probably not a great endorsement for Roslovic, yet it's a fairly low-risk move to add someone who holds a prime position and is widely available.

Alexander Barabanov, SJ (Yahoo: 1%)

I may end up regretting not prioritizing Barabanov as a free agent in one of my leagues. He could end up falling off like he did at the end of last season or prove to be a great lower-lineup contributor as he was during the middle of the schedule. Barabanov didn't appear in any of the opening four outings and notched zeroes in the following three, but he's reeled off six assists in the last six games, with three of those coming on the first power play.


Dmitry Orlov, WAS (Yahoo: 48%)

It's not just up front where the Caps have been playing shorthanded, as John Carlson (lower body) has missed the last three games after exiting early on Saturday. Orlov had been covering Carlson's top PP role, though Erik Gustafsson is currently operating there. The Russian set a career-high last season with 35 points and has already contributed five assists supplemented by 25 shots, 30 hits and 16 blocks while skating well over 22 minutes a night. Carlson could be back by week's end and reclaim his elite role, though Orlov should keep accumulating plenty of stats across multiple categories.

Kevin Shattenkirk, ANH (Yahoo: 7%)

Shattenkirk may not be counted upon for offensive contributions as in previous years, but he's still being provided with enough attacking opportunities on the Ducks' second power-play unit. He hadn't posted much this campaign until he registered an assist and four shots on Sunday and two of each along with 10 PIM Tuesday. Shattenkirk hasn't contributed yet while up a man, though he notched 14 PPPs last season and currently averages 1:44 on the man-advantage.

Rasmus Sandin, TOR (Yahoo: 6%)

Sandin performed well in the minors with nearly a point-per-game average spread across three seasons. His five goals and 11 assists with the Leafs last year represented a decent start to his NHL career, yet fans — and poolies — probably expected more from the 2018 first-rounder. The three helpers so far may not be impressive, but Sandin leads the point on Toronto's second man-advantage, where he's recorded two PPAs. He's also seen an uptick in playing time and has been more physical with 26 hits.

Caleb Jones, CHI (Yahoo: 3%)

Chicago, like Washington, is missing a star D-man, though Seth Jones' thumb injury is projected to keep him out for up to a month. Also different from the other case is the fact Dmitry Orlov is familiar with a heavier workload while the younger Jones hasn't consistently logged over 20 minutes since debuting in late 2018. Even before his older brother went down, Caleb started to display his talent and has managed six assists from his last six matchups, including two on the power play and the most recent one on the Blackhawks' lead group.


Vitek Vanecek, NJ (Yahoo: 50%)

Vanecek was briefly discussed in the Mackenzie Blackwood section from two weeks ago, with the former having struggled in his debut and the latter leading the way. The roles have mainly reversed as Vanecek has won his last four while allowing a total of four goals. Blackwood struggled Tuesday and left Thursday's contest with an undisclosed injury, so Vanecek should keep getting the bulk of the starts and stay on track as Jersey's top goalie going forward.

Scott Wedgewood, DAL (Yahoo: 18%)

Jake Oettinger started the season on fire but succumbed to a lower-body injury on Saturday. The word is he'll only miss around a week, though further examination will ultimately determine the length of his absence. As Anton Khudobin can't be called up from the AHL due to cap constraints and as the Stars just signed Matt Murray (no, not thatMatt Murray), that leaves Wedgewood as the lone, regularly available netminder. In his first two starts as the No. 1, he turned aside 58 of 62 shots. Even if Oettinger is deemed fit to return soon, he probably won't be pushed too hard right away, leaving Wedgewood with enough short-term value behind a productive offense.

Players to consider from past columns: Martin Necas, Travis Konecny, Gabriel Vilardi, Mikael Granlund, Andrei Kuzmenko, Mason McTavish, David Krejci, Ryan Strome, Max Domi, Jake DeBrusk, Brandon Hagel, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jeff Carter, Kent Johnson, Calen Addison, Filip Hronek, Sean Durzi, Vince Dunn, Brandon Montour, Matt Grzelcyk, Janis Moser, Juuso Valimaki, James Reimer, Jake Allen, Stuart Skinner, Adin Hill