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Weekly NHL Roundup (Jan. 22 Edition): Who You Need to Know

After the week that was, Jason Chen takes a look at eight names you need to know right now.
Matt Boldy

Goalies

Kaapo Kahkonen, Wild

Kahkonen started his fifth straight game and looked very good yet again, losing his shutout bid five minutes left in the third period and earning his fourth win with the only loss coming against the Avs in a shootout. Cam Talbot is expected to start Saturday against Chicago at home in the second half of a back-to-back, but Kahkonen’s impressive performance in his absence will give Dean Evason more confidence in him, and that will perhaps lead to more playing time later this season. As good as Talbot has been, he’s still prone to the odd bad stretch of games, and there’s a chance that we might even seen a platoon going forward. Kahkonen is rostered in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues, and that number may dip when Talbot returns, so fantasy managers who are looking for goaltending help might be able to get him later if he isn’t available right now.

Ville Husso, Blues

Craig Berube kept his cards close to his chest and broke away from his rotation, giving Husso his second straight start after he beat the Preds, 5-3. Granted, the assignment against the Kraken, who have been awful at home, is not a difficult one, but this is a sign that maybe the Blues’ confidence in Jordan Binnington is really fading. The financial commitment to Binnington makes it difficult to sit him on the bench, but Husso, who is rostered in just 29 percent of Yahoo leagues, is forcing his way into a bigger role.

Pavel Francouz, Avalanche

Did you know? Francouz’s career. 923 Sv% with the Avs is the best in franchise history among goalies who have played at least 10 games for them, leading both Patrick Roy and Philipp Grubauer’s .918 Sv%. Darcy Kuemper made a triumphant return making 40 saves in a 4-1 win against the Kings on Thursday, but Francouz’s four-game run since last Monday where he went 4-0-0 with a .929 Sv% and 2.18 GAA should give Jared Bednar a little more confidence in him should Kuemper falter again. At 42 percent rostered in Yahoo leagues, Francouz’s relative lack of playing time doesn’t really warrant a roster spot now that Kuemper is back, but he does certainly make for a very attractive streaming start.

Linus Ullmark, Bruins

Tuukka Rask got lit up in just his second start, allowing five goals on 12 shots and lasted just one period. It was an uncharacteristically awful performance by the team as a whole, but even the staunchest Rask supporters have to admit that he didn’t look quite ready to face a team like Carolina. His poor performance boosts Ullmark’s fantasy value, who certainly strengthens his hold on the starting job. It’s still a little too early to completely write off Rask, and it was always going to be an uphill battle to get back to where he was after his hip injury and a long layoff. Fantasy managers should continue to roll with Ullmark, and keep Jeremy Swayman on the radar just in case Rask can’t even cut it as a backup.

Samuel Montembeault, Canadiens

Montembeault allowed seven goals in his past two starts, which is normally a bad result, but it’s actually fantastic considering he faced 104 (!) shots, resulting in a very solid .933 Sv%. The Habs’ season may be dead in the water, anyway, but that doesn’t mean there’s zero fantasy value. The return of Tyler Toffoli and a few of their veterans will certainly make them more competitive, and if they have their eye on the future, it makes sense to give more starts to Montembeault than Jake Allen, who clearly will be nothing more than a backup. If the Habs’ goal support improves, Montembeault might actually be a viable option for a streaming start every now and then.

Rookies

Michael Bunting, LW, Maple Leafs

Bunting is one of those little-known forwards whose fantasy value almost completely derives from who he gets to play with. In this case it’s Auston Matthews, and while we shouldn’t discount Bunting’s skill set, his fantasy value is definitely inflated playing with one of the league’s best scorers. Bunting is on a five-game point streak after scoring against the Rangers on Friday, and looks to stay in that role for the rest of the season. He’s rostered in just 20 percent of leagues, and in leagues that emphasize scoring, he could be a very good under-the-radar add.

Matt Boldy, LW, Wild

Boldy has four points with a plus-7 rating since getting called up, and it’s hard to see the Wild send him back down. They can only rely on their top line with Kirill Kaprizov so much, and it looks like Dean Evason has no qualms about playing Boldy, who played more than 17 minutes for the second straight game in Friday’s 5-1 win against the Blackhawks. At just 5 percent rostered in Yahoo leagues, Boldy is a very good option in deep leagues for fantasy managers looking for a boost in offensive categories.

Cam York, D, Flyers

The 14th overall pick in a pretty stacked 2019 draft, York was the fourth defenseman taken behind Bowen Byram, Moritz Seider and Victor Söderström. The Flyers are having all sorts of problems this season, but York’s spot with the team is relatively safe since he’s expected to be part of their core going forward. On most nights he’s playing over 20 minutes per game with time on the power play, and he’s available in virtually every single league. Fantasy leagues that have deep defensive rosters may find York valuable due to the opportunities he’s getting. 

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