Matchup Acquisitions Fantasy Hockey and What It Means

By Kapil Sapkota / 10 November 2023 11:13 AM

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Matchup acquisitions in fantasy hockey mean that you can add or drop your players from the roster during daily weekend matchups against other teams from waivers.

You can put a player on waiver if you don't want him any longer in your team, or when your roster is already full and you want to have room for acquisition.

It’s recommended to make changes to your roster every week. Make informed decisions for upcoming game schedules by evaluating your team's output.

A strong team building is vital to win a fantasy league. You have to pick the right players for your team to ensure better point production.

Make a good analysis of players before acquiring them, because you can make only one acquisition per day. A wise acquisition provides a high-level performance while a wrong one means degrading your team.

Fantasy Hockey Acquisitions Rules Or Head-to-Head

You can make only one acquisition to your hockey fantasy team a day in which there is an NHL game played, according to the fantasy acquisition rule.

When a player is added from free agency or waivers to a team's roster, it is referred to as an "acquisition".

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For a typical 7-day NHL week, every team is allowed to make seven acquisitions in total. When the acquisition limit is reached in the team, it can't add players any longer until the next matchup begins.

  • The acquisition limit rule is not enforced before the beginning of the season and starts on the first day of the season.
  • Dropping or receiving a player via a trade doesn't count against the acquisition limit.
  • As long as it doesn't exceed the maximum, there is no limit to the number of acquisitions allowed per day. All seven players can be added to the team on a single day or balance them out throughout the matchup.
  • Player additions lock at the first game of the day. So, weekly transition for acquisition limits is typically effective with the first game played on Sundays.

How To Acquire Players?

Players in fantasy hockey can be acquired by trades and waivers, in a similar way as in the NHL. Players must be exchanged in the trade, but free agents can be claimed by any manager in the league.


Trade is the main feature you can use to acquire a player in fantasy hockey.

Here is the process for acquiring a player in Yahoo Fantasy. If you use ESPN's Fantasy Hockey app, click here to learn about proposing and accepting trade procedures.

When you propose a trade to a team, it will be notified by an alert on its page as well as by email. The team will have up to 10 days to respond.

  • From Yahoo Fantasy, mouse over Fantasy and select 'Hockey'
  • Select the league you'd like to create a trade-in
  • Click the team you want to trade with
  • Click the Propose Trade icon next to the player you want to acquire
  • Select the players you want to trade away
  • Click Continue
  • Click Send Trade Proposal when you're done.

Click on View Details next to the "You have proposed a trade to..." for further info when you return to your team page. If the trade is accepted, it will appear as "Pending" on your team page.

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Waivers and Free Agency

When a team puts a player on waivers, every team has a chance to claim on him. If the player gets two or more claims, the team with the highest waiver priority gets the player.

Free Agents are the unclaimed players not on waivers. Any team can add Free Agents without waiting. There are two waiver modes available to use:

1. Continuous Waivers

All unclaimed players are on waivers at all times under this mode. When a manager claims a player, a clock starts and other managers have a chance to claim the same player. 

The default period is 2 days, but a Private League can decide to change the period from 0-7 days.

2. Standard Waivers and Free Agents

When a player is dropped on a waiver, he will be temporarily frozen for some time. All managers can claim to add the player to their team during this time.

If the player is not claimed by anyone, he now becomes a Free Agent letting any manager claim to add the player without waiting.

If a Free Agent is added by a manager and is dropped on the same day, the player again remains a Free Agent.

Hockey Fantasy Trade Analyzer 2023-24

Hockey Fantasy Trade Analyzer for 2023-24 shows that players like Antti Raanta, Bryan Rust, and Reilly Smith should have to be traded in as they are the ones to watch out for.

Sometimes, you can make the mistake of underestimating some players with great potential. In some cases, the performance of athletes is even more degraded than in the previous seasons.

It is beneficial to take advantage of injury situations while making roster changes.

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Trade For:

If these players are already on your roster, keep them. You can acquire them in your team as they will make the most of the increased responsibilities this season.

Antti Raanta (G), Carolina Hurricanes (53% rostered)

Raanta entered on the ice Tuesday night with a 3-1-0 record, a 3.03 GAA, and a .870 save percentage in five matches.

The stat may not sound great, but the goaltender has high opportunities to emerge as Carolina's top netminder.

Frederik Andersen has a blood clotting issue, and it's unclear at this time if he will be able to return to the lineup or not. Andersen could be out for weeks or even months.

On previous occasions, Raanta has filled in during Andersen's absences and has performed very well. 

With a combined 55 games played in the last two seasons, he posted a record of  34-8-7 with six shutouts, a 2.34 GAA, and a .911 save percentage.

Reilly Smith, (LW/RW), Pittsburgh Penguins (58% rostered)

The right winger spent six seasons with the Vegas Golden Knights before being traded to the Penguins. He got traded for a third-round pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.

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Smith is proven to be a great addition to the Penguins. He has scored 6 goals, 11 points, and 24 shots on net throughout his 10 games. He has only failed to score in four games but has achieved three multi-point performances.

The forward plays alongside Evgeni Malkin during even-strength situations. He has also played with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel on the top power-play unit.

Bryan Rust, (RW), Pittsburgh Penguins (51% rostered)

Rust and Smith fall in the same bracket, being productive players of the Penguins' top-six forward group.

Rust has notched 6 goals, 11 points, and 33 shots on target. He had 11 blocked shots through 10 outings this campaign. He's failed to record a point in only three matches thus far.

Despite his cushy spot alongside Crosby and Guentzel at even strength, the player is rostered by fewer managers than Smith, which is quite shocking.

The right winger had registered 20 goals and 46 points over 81 appearances in the last season. He has been able to maintain a point-per-game pace this season.

Trade Away

These NHL players were expected to make some good production, but their performances have been below par.

Patrik Laine, (C/LW/RW), Columbus Blue Jackets (73% rostered)

Laine posted 22 goals and 52 points in 55 games during last season. In the 2021-22 season, he had 26 goals and 56 points from 56 appearances.

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He has been missing large chunks of the season since he was traded to the Blue Jackets. Also in this season, Laine has been out of the lineup since October 20 due to an upper-body injury.

It is still unclear when he will return to the game after being currently considered week-to-week.

It will not be much of a problem if you want to wait for him to return. He is truly a great option to keep on injured reserve. Still, he can produce a good return in a trade.

Matty Beniers, (C), Seattle Kraken (44% rostered)

Beniers amassed 24 goals and 57 points during his rookie campaign in the last season. However, he has generated just 4 assists from 12 matches this season.

Though he made 20 shots on goal, none of them were enough to score. His ice time per game has increased to 18:27 from 17:06 last year, but his production has not improved.

Analyzing the stats and scenes, it is not recommended to consider a trade involving Beniers if you're in a keeper league. If he's already on your roster, you can keep him for trading.

NHL Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups

Pavel Zacha, Ryan O’Reilly, Pavel Mintyukov, and Lukas Dostal are some of the best players to add to your NHL fantasy hockey team from the waivers.

Here is the list of the top ten players to claim for your fantasy team:


  • Pavel Zacha, C, Boston Bruins
  • Ryan O’Reilly, C, Nashville Predators
  • Casey Mittelstadt, C, Buffalo Sabres
  • JJ Peterka, RW, Buffalo Sabres
  • Jaden Schwartz, C/LW, Seattle Kraken
  • Quinton Byfield, C/LW, Los Angeles Kings
  • Lawson Crouse, LW/RW, Arizona Coyotes


  • Pavel Mintyukov, Anaheim Ducks
  • Erik Gustafsson, New York Rangers


  • Lukas Dostal, Anaheim Ducks

Pavel Zacha

Having a slow start, the Boston Bruins center has bounced back with four goals and seven points in his past seven games. The forward is playing on the top line and first power play with elite right wing David Pastrnak.

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Last season, Zacha contributed 21 goals and 57 points for the Bruins.

Zacha can be a great outside fantasy replacement option for the New Jersey Devils forward Jack Hughes who is in week-to-week injured reserve followed by upper-body injury.

Pavel Mintyukov

In his past six matches, the Ducks defenseman Mintyukov has registered six assists and is tied with Logan Cooley of the Coyotes and Bobby Brink of the Flyers for the NHL rookie lead in points (eight in 11 games).

Mintyukov is running the point of the first power play and ranks fourth on the Ducks in average ice time (19:11 per game).

The defenseman spent the 2022-23 season in the OHL playing for the Saginaw Spirit and Ottawa's 67s. He had 24 goals and 88 points combined out of 69 games.

Lukas Dostal

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Starting the season with a four-game winning streak and winning five of his six contests, the Anaheim Ducks rookie is one of the best goalie options to pick from waivers.

You can also consider the Carolina Hurricanes' netminders Antti Raanta or Pyotr Kochetkov.

However, Dostal's performance has been amazing this season, and currently has a  .920 save percentage.

The only concern is Dostal may not receive plenty of playing time as John Gibson, the first goalie of the Ducks has returned from injury against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.

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