Fantasy Hockey Pickups: Check out our first batch of 2023 waiver wire options

By Evan Berofsky, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

2023 has begun. Time to evaluate your fantasy rosters. If they're performing well, keep it going. If they're not, consider this a fresh start — or a wake-up call. And what easier way to bolster your lineups than an offering of the latest, largely available NHLers who can help in any kind of format or competition level?

(Rostered rates as of Jan. 6)


Andrew Mangiapane, CGY (Yahoo: 27 percent rostered)

Mangiapane played himself into the spotlight last season with 55 points, scoring 30 goals while taking 185 shots. That momentum looked to continue into the current campaign after he posted four points from the first six games, but he would stall with only three from the next 15. Another hot run followed, only to lead into a dry spell that's seen Mangiapane post a pair of assists in nine games. His lack of goals is troubling, yet an 8.9 shooting percentage — including zero of 23 during his latest slump — is well below his average and is bound to turn around.

Scott Laughton, PHI (Yahoo: 17%)

With a few Flyers injured up front, Laughton is enjoying his highest career on-ice average at almost 19 minutes. That's also led to a career-best five power-play points and a continued role as a primary penalty-kill participant. The hits have always been part of Laughton's repertoire, yet he's added a new skill, directing over two pucks on net a night.

If that wasn't impressive enough for fantasy consideration, check out his last 14 contests, where he's reeled off six goals — with two on both special-teams units — seven assists, 22 shots, 27 hits and 22 blocks. And if your league counts faceoffs, Laughton can help, with 252 wins on the year.

Nino Niederreiter, NSH (Yahoo: 16%)

Niederreiter became everyone's favorite after scoring three goals during the two Global Series matchups that kicked off the season. Then the inconsistency set in, and he only recorded eight points across his next 21 games. Fortunately, Niederreiter has returned to form since Dec. 8 with three tallies, seven assists, 40 shots and 26 hits. He also notched his first PPP in 24 outings on Tuesday (one of his three helpers to go with four hits) as part of an improved second man-advantage that also includes Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund.

Marcus Foligno, MIN (Yahoo: 13%)

For someone who's generally regarded among the league's top hitters, it's nice that Foligno also registered 42 points last year while finally reclaiming a place on the power play. A couple of knocks kept him out for eight games, but he returned on New Year's Eve, grabbing one assist that night in St. Louis and another Wednesday against the Lightning. Foligno isn't much of a shooter, but the promise of many hits, some PIM and a helping of offense should be enough to get him on more fantasy rosters.

Adam Lowry, WPG (Yahoo: 10%)

Like Laughton, Lowry is receiving advanced positioning while a number of his teammates are out of the lineup. He's also been versatile by lining up at center or on the wing, which recently led to him teaming up with Mark Scheifele on the second even-strength line. With Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers scheduled to come back soon after long layoffs, Lowry could be bumped back to the third pivot. But that shouldn't matter much since he did well in December, notching nine points, 28 shots, 36 hits and 113 faceoff wins.

Alex Iafallo, LA (Yahoo: 8%)

Despite solid scoring throughout his career, Iafallo has mainly occupied the fantasy periphery, possibly due to him never posting huge numbers. He was ready to correct that evaluation when he began the year totaling two goals and three assists across four matchups before sitting the next 23 with a lower-body injury. Iafallo was initially eased back in, but he's logged 17:37 over the last two weeks while contributing eight points — including three PPPs — and 17 shots. He's also connected with Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson on the second group at both five-on-five and the man-advantage.

Nick Ritchie, ARI (Yahoo: 4%)

Ritchie may appear to be in the midst of a slump since he's only potted twice in 22 games, yet other areas of his game haven't suffered. He's already matched his peak of nine power-play points, though that part may be reduced going forward. Ritchie also averages nearly three hits per outing, including laying out 27 opponents over his last seven appearances. He's a decent flier as a middle-six winger who can offer plenty of grit along with some scoring and shooting.

Eetu Luostarinen, FLA (Yahoo: 3%)

Luostarinen never got much of a chance with the Canes after he was drafted 42nd overall in 2017. He eventually went to Florida as part of the package that sent Vincent Trocheck the other way at the 2020 Trade Deadline and earned his first full-time NHL gig. Even though the Finn didn't manage much in the way of offense over two seasons, he rarely missed a matchup. Luostarinen once again opened the current campaign in the lower half of the depth chart, but he climbed his way up following three goals and three assists from seven outings. He's currently alongside Sam Bennett at even-strength and the two also participate on the Panthers' backup power play.


Seth Jones, CHI (Yahoo: 52%)

Going slightly over the 50-percent threshold with Jones, which may not seem like a great idea considering the Blackhawks sit last in offense. Since missing three weeks with a thumb injury, he's managed seven points in 19 games supplemented by 51 shots, 36 blocks, and 15 hits. Jones represents Chicago's only fantasy-worthy D-man and logs major minutes while assuming significant roles in all situations. He's someone who racked up 51 points last season, though consistent scoring could be a problem if Patrick Kane (lower body) is forced out of action.

Ryan Suter, DAL (Yahoo: 2%)

At age 37, Suter isn't being relied upon to contribute on the scoresheet or maintain a heavy workload. He's managed nine assists and a 21-plus-minute average, though both of those are considerably lower than his numbers from his first year in Dallas. In terms of the power play, Suter's involvement is relatively similar, but he's only registered three PPAs so far, with two coming in the last six outings. He won't provide great contributions yet can supply a steady feed of peripheral stats and a guaranteed place on the man-advantage.

Matt Benning, SJ (Yahoo: 2%)

There's no mistaking Erik Karlsson as the Sharks' top blueliner, yet he's not their only pleasant surprise on the back end. Supplied with a career-high in ice time, Benning is in line to surpass his season peak of 21 points, having already registered 16. He isn't much in the sniping department, having only posted one goal and 27 shots, though he's dependable elsewhere with 62 blocks and 56 hits. Benning hasn't done much on the power play yet is regularly being asked to operate on San Jose's backup unit.

Ty Smith, PIT (Yahoo: 1%)

Kris Letang's absence has left a huge hole at the point on the Pens' elite power play. Jeff Petry would've been the best candidate to fill in, but he's not quite ready to return from his upper-body injury. Smith impressed as a rookie in 2020-21 but soon regressed, and Jersey sent him to Pittsburgh last summer in exchange for John Marino. He was able to get plenty of work in the AHL and ended up producing 14 points from 26 contests before being called up. Smith was immediately installed as the PP1 QB against his former club last Friday, where he logged over 11 minutes with the extra man. Letang or Petry should eventually take over the prime position, but it's Smith's for now.


Anton Forsberg, OTT (Yahoo: 39%)

By the time Cam Talbot made his Ottawa debut on Nov. 3, Forsberg had posted a 3.58 GAA and .898 save percentage through 10 appearances. Talbot assumed the No. 1 job and strengthened his hold after a solid string of starts. While he's recently impressed in a couple outings, others haven't turned out so great. That's opened the door for Forsberg, who's taken advantage of the opportunity with consecutive wins. He stopped 33 of 34 shots versus Buffalo on Sunday and shut out Columbus two days later.

John Gibson, ANH (Yahoo: 37%)

Speaking of goalies who've gotten attention of late based on stellar efforts, Gibson blanked the mighty Stars on Wednesday. Last week, he turned back 49 of 51 pucks against Vegas. Lukas Dostal performed admirably while Anthony Stolarz was sidelined, though he was sent back to the AHL after the latter was activated off IR. The Ducks still maintain an NHL-worst 4.00 GAA and allow the most shots in the league, but they'll be at home for another week and will then travel to face a few weaker defensive clubs. Don't expect Gibson to duplicate his recent heroics during this stretch, but he should be good for a couple wins and a bunch of saves.

Players to consider from past columns: Logan Couture, Martin Necas, Dylan Cozens, Joel Eriksson Ek, Gabriel Vilardi, Jeff Skinner, Andrei Kuzmenko, Matty Beniers, Phillip Danault, Dylan Strome, Kevin Hayes, David Krejci, Trevor Moore, Nick Schmaltz, Max Domi, Kent Johnson, Alex Killorn, Brock Boeser, J.T. Compher, Owen Tippett, Jared McCann, Conor Sheary, Jack Roslovic, Brandon Hagel, Michael Amadio, Sam Steel, Jordan Eberle, William Karlsson, James van Riemsdyk, Viktor Arvidsson, Jason Zucker, Nick Paul, Seth Jarvis, Brandon Montour, Shayne Gostisbehere, Jake Sanderson, Noah Hanifin, Cam Fowler, Sean Durzi, Vince Dunn, Adam Boqvist, Janis Moser, Erik Gustafsson, K'Andre Miller, Calen Addison, Vitek Vanecek, Martin Jones, Charlie Lindgren, James Reimer, Karel Vejmelka, Pyotr Kochetkov, Antti Raanta, Stuart Skinner, Pheonix Copley, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Craig Anderson, Casey DeSmith

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