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Anaheim’s busy schedule makes their players prime pickup targets

Sonny Milano

Sonny Milano

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Robert Thomas is still available in 68% of Yahoo leagues. He is up to 20 assists and 22 points in 24 games this season.

Michael Bunting skyrocketed to 40% after he was rostered in just 10% of Yahoo leagues a week ago when he was featured on Waiver Wired. Ryan Johansen’s rostered percentage also jumped from 17% to 27%.

Viktor Arvidsson (38%), who has a four-game point streak, is a good streaming option if he is available. He has two goals, four assists, 16 shots during his recent scoring spree

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Let’s get into this week’s recommendations:

Mats Zuccarello (Minnesota) - RW - Rostered in 31% of Yahoo leagues

Zuccarello was out for two games after taking a slash to the hand, but he has picked up one goal and one assist in two appearances since his return. He has compiled seven goals and 11 helpers in 18 games this campaign, including six points on the power play (one goal, five assists). Zuccarello skates on the top line with Kirill Kaprizov and Ryan Hartman. He operated at close to a point-per-game pace last season as well, so his production this year is probably sustainable. Zuccarello should be rostered in more leagues.

Yanni Gourde (Seattle) - C, RW - Rostered in 29% of Yahoo leagues

Gourde has steadily moved up in scoring on Seattle thanks to some consistent production after missing the first four games of the regular season due to a shoulder injury. Since making his season debut on Oct. 19, he has generated six goals and 16 points in 20 games. Gourde has one goal and four assists during a four-game point streak. Fantasy managers haven’t gravitated to many members of the Kraken this year, but Gourde is deserving of more attention.

Alexandar Georgiev (NY Rangers) - G - Rostered in 29% of Yahoo leagues

Georgiev has been scooped in plenty of leagues in the aftermath of Igor Shesterkin’s lower-body injury. He stopped 25 of 27 shots in a 3-2 win over Chicago on Saturday in his first start since Shesterkin was hurt on Friday. He will get additional time in the crease this week, while Shesterkin recovers, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he played both parts of the team’s back-to-back situation. The Rangers hope that Shesterkin will be able to return once he is eligible to come off injured reserve, but if the issue lingers then Georgiev’s fantasy stock will continue to rise.

Rickard Rakell (Anaheim) - LW, RW - Rostered in 25% of Yahoo leagues

Rakell made an appearance on Waiver Wired a week ago and he is still worth adding, as he is available in most leagues. In fact, his fantasy value has increased because of Anaheim’s busy five-game schedule as well as injuries to Ryan Getzlaf and Adam Henrique. Rakell was double-shifted in the top-six forward group on Friday after Henrique left the game, so he played with the talented duos of Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano as well as Troy Terry and Sam Steel. Rakell has scored a goal in each of his last two outings, while piling up 10 shots on goal. He has lit the lamp four times and he has added two assists in his past seven outings.

Nico Hischier (New Jersey) - C - Rostered in 25% of Yahoo leagues

Hischier has collected 11 points in his past 14 games. He ended a 10-game goalless slump on Friday when he had six shots on target versus Winnipeg. Playing alongside Jack Hughes, who should be able to get back on track shortly from a shoulder injury, Pavel Zacha or Jesper Bratt will be beneficial for Hischier as well. Andreas Johnsson (20%) is another pickup option, as the Devils have four games on the schedule this week, including three at home.

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Valeri Nichushkin (Colorado) - LW, RW - Rostered in 23% of Yahoo leagues

Nichushkin has become a regular on Waiver Wired. It is encouraging to see that his rostered percentage has increased from the 12% he was at from a week ago. Nazem Kadri’s recent injury does hurt is a bit of a blow to Nichushkin considering how hot he has been offensively, but he still has plenty of upside. The 26-year-old forward has six goals, five assists, 23 shots and 19 hits through 12 contests this campaign. Additionally, Colorado has a fairly busy week on tap with four games scheduled.

Brandon Saad (St. Louis) - LW, RW - Rostered in 14% of Yahoo leagues

Saad has accounted for six goals on 26 shots, while supplying two assists, in his past nine matches. He has five points, including four goals, on the man advantage during that span. Saad has found the back of the net in the last two games. He has been playing alongside Ryan O’Reilly and Oskar Sundqvist at even strength. The Blues play four times at home this coming week.

Nino Niederreiter (Carolina) - LW, RW - Rostered in 13% of Yahoo leagues

Niederreiter is the latest winger to get a look on the top line with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. He filled the stat sheet on Saturday with one goal, one assist, two shots and one hit over a season-high 17:52 of ice time during a 6-2 win over Buffalo. Niederreiter has two goals and five points in his past five contests after he started the year with four points (three goals, one assist) in his first 12 outings. He has 37 shots and 21 hits in 17 games, but needed his offense to kick into gear before being worthy of a pickup. His presence on the first line and his recent success on the scoresheet makes him a good roster addition ahead of a four-game trip this week for the Hurricanes on the road.

Ville Husso (St. Louis) - G - Rostered in 13% of Yahoo leagues

Husso has been superb for the Blues despite being limited to six starts. He wasn’t playing much behind Jordan Binnington to begin with and then he spent some time on the sidelines due to COVID-19 protocol. Now, Binnington is unavailable because of COVID-19 protocol, so Husso will get more opportunities to showcase his impressive play. He has posted three wins, including one shutout, so far along with a 2.33 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. Husso made a career-high 48 saves in Saturday’s 4-3 shootout loss to Florida.

Sonny Milano (Anaheim) - LW, RW - Rostered in 8% of Yahoo leagues

Milano has been featured and mentioned before on Waiver Wired and Anaheim’s five-game schedule this week makes him an intriguing and potentially valuable roster addition. Milano has amassed six goals and 11 assists in 20 games this season, while providing 34 shots and 12 hits. The trio of Milano, Zegras and Rakell will likely be leaned on this week because of injuries to Getzlaf and Henrique. Milano, who has started December with one goal and three helpers in two games, will look to carry that momentum into Anaheim’s packed road trip.

Honorable Mention:

Anthony Stolarz (Anaheim) - G - Rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues

Stolarz will more than likely get some additional action this week, with the Ducks set to play two sets of back-to-backs. He has performed well between the pipes this season behind John Gibson, while posting a 2.82 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. Stolarz has recorded victories in each of his last three starts, while stopping 96 of the 102 shots he has faced.