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Waiver Wired

Pick up Vanecek, Kahkonen for goalie help

by Corey Abbott
Updated On: January 25, 2021, 6:17 am ET

The first game of the 2020-21 season for the Dallas Stars was a resounding 7-0 win over Nashville. Joe Pavelski produced two goals and one assist in Friday’s contest. He is currently rostered in 44% of Yahoo leagues following a bevy of fantasy transactions. He should be scooped up if he’s still available. Conor Garland is rostered in just 32% of Yahoo leagues, while Pavel Buchnevich went from 23% to 31% and Jeff Carter jumped from 7% to 31% from a week ago.

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Let's get into this week's recommendations: 

Vitek Vanecek (Washington) - G - Rostered in 22% of Yahoo leagues

Vanecek played in Friday’s 4-3 shootout win over Buffalo in his third start of the season. He has a 2-0-1 record with a 2.90 goals-against average and .898 save percentage in three appearances. Vanecek will continue to serve as Washington’s No. 1 goalie until Ilya Samsonov is cleared to return from COVID protocol. Craig Anderson will dress as the backup, but it’s unclear how much playing time he will receive. Either way. Vanecek should see the bulk of the starts for the Capitals with Samsonov on the sidelines and he’s worth adding.

Joel Eriksson Ek (Minnesota) - C - Rostered in 20% of Yahoo leagues

Eriksson Ek has enjoyed an impressive start to the 2020-21 season. He has scored a goal in three of the last four games, while adding two assists during that span. Eriksson Ek has earned a multi-point effort in each of the past two matches. He has also been credited with 18 shots, seven hits and four blocks through five outings this campaign. It’s worth riding his hot streak, but it should be noted that scoring consistency has been an issue for him in the past.

Rasmus Andersson (Calgary) - D - Rostered in 15% of Yahoo leagues

Andersson has opened the 2020-21 season with a three-game point streak. He has one goal and two assists during that span. Additionally, he has provided seven shots, six blocks and one hit. Andersson has been playing on the top pairing of the Flames alongside Mark Giordano, while quarterbacking the top power-play unit.

Miles Wood (New Jersey) - LW - Rostered in 15% of Yahoo leagues

Wood has been a good fit in the top-six forward group of the Devils alongside Travis Zajac and Jesper Boqvist. He has also been logging time on the top power-play unit, which grants him exposure to Jack Hughes and Kyle Palmieri. Wood scored a goal in three straight games to begin the year, while adding one assist, 13 shots and nine penalty minutes.

Kaapo Kahkonen (Minnesota) - G - Rostered in 13% of Yahoo leagues

Kahkonen hasn’t had a large sample size in the NHL, but he hasn’t looked at all out of place. He has a 5-1-1 record with a 2.52 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in seven career appearances. That includes a mark of 2-0-0 this year with a 1.20 GAA and .951 SV% in two games played. Kahkonen has only made one start in 2020-21 with Minnesota and it was a solid performance against Anaheim. He also won in a relief outing versus San Jose on Friday after Cam Talbot was forced to leave the match because of a lower-body injury. It’s not believed to be serious, but it could provide Kahkonen with some additional action, especially with the Wild set to play five times over the next eight days. That includes Sunday’s rematch against the Sharks.

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Nick Schmaltz (Arizona) - C, RW - Rostered in 12% of Yahoo leagues

Schmaltz has a four-game point spree going into Sunday’s contest against Vegas. He has three goals and two helpers during that stretch. Schmaltz has accumulated 16 shots on target this season, including a total of 14 during his recent productive streak. He has played well alongside Garland this year. Schmaltz has picked up where he left off last season when he led the Coyotes in scoring with 45 points (11 goals, 34 assists) in 70 contests. He should be rostered in much more leagues.

Jordan Kyrou (St. Louis) - C, RW - Rostered in 10% of Yahoo leagues

Kyrou has been productive this season with two goals, two assists and 12 shots on target through five outings. He has played with some different linemates early in the year, but appears to have meshed nicely in recent games with Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz. He could be worthy of a flier now if you have the roster flexibility or someone to keep on your watch list.

Ty Smith (New Jersey) - D - Rostered in 6% of Yahoo leagues

Smith has registered a point in each of the first four games of his NHL career. He scored a goal in New Jersey’s season opener and he has followed up that with an assist for three straight matches. The 20-year-old defender has eight shots on goal, three hits and three blocks as well. Smith has plenty of value in keeper formats and his fast start should put him on the radars of more fantasy GMs in standard leagues.

Carter Verhaeghe (Florida) - C, LW - Rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues

Verhaeghe has two goals and one assist in his first two games as a member of the Panthers. Florida signed him during the off-season and wanted to give him a shot at developing with an increased role. He has rewarded that faith in him so far, while skating on the top line with Aleksander Barkov and Anthony Duclair. Florida has four games scheduled for this week and Verhaeghe stands a good chance to continue his early success.

Nick Ritchie (Boston) - LW - Rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues

Ritchie has generated two goals and three assists in five games, which includes two multi-point performances in his last two outings. He has four power-play points this campaign, while seeing time on Boston’s top combination. At even strength, Ritchie has been logging time on the second line with David Krejci. He has also been credited with 13 shots on goal and nine hits on the year.

Corey Abbott

Corey Abbott is an Editor for Hockey on NBC Sports Edge. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @CoreAbbott.