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Fantasy Hockey Goalie Report: Can Pavel Francouz save Colorado's net?

·6 min read
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By Jason Chen, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Trending Up

Charlie Lindgren, Blues (1-0-0, 1.000 Sv%, 0.00 GAA in 6:25 TOI)

Ville Husso started against the Panthers on Tuesday with Jordan Binnington in COVID-19 protocol, but he did not finish the game, leaving with less than seven minutes remaining due to injury. Lindgren, who got the call-up over Joel Hofer, played the remaining 6:25 and made three saves to earn the win in overtime.

Binnington will miss at least the next two games, and if Husso misses additional time, look for Lindgren to get his first start of the season, perhaps as soon as Thursday against Detroit or the following game on Saturday against Montreal. Both are games the Blues should win but note that with an injury to Robert Thomas as well, they have been forced to play 17 skates for cap reasons. If fantasy managers can overlook that disadvantage, Lindgren could be worth a spot start.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Sabres (0-1-0, .913 Sv%, 2.07 GAA)

Malcolm Subban was clearly not the answer even though they basically got him for free from the Blackhawks, forcing the Sabres' top goalie prospect into action. Luukkonen was tagged with the loss in his season debut against the Ducks, but one of the goals was an over-the-net alley-oop from Trevor Zegras to Sonny Milano that Luukonen had zero chance. The Sabres didn't provide any goal support even though scoring has not really been a problem this season.

The Sabres don't play until their back-to-back Friday and Saturday, giving them some time to mull over a few decisions, but with Dustin Tokarski in COVID-19 protocol and Aaron Dell basically unplayable, it means Luukkonen might get one more start. Who knows — Luukkonen might run away with the No. 1 job that he's being groomed for sooner than expected, though the team in front of him still isn't very good.

Pavel Francouz, Avalanche (1-1-0, .933 Sv%, 1.53 GAA in AHL conditioning stint)

Francouz allowed three goals on 18 shots for AHL Colorado in his first game since the bubble playoffs in August 2020 but followed with a 27-save shutout the next night. He might need a little more action before getting called up, but the Avs probably cannot wait. Neither Justus Annunen (.863 Sv%, 4.34 GAA) nor Jonas Johansson (.879 Sv%, 3.91 GAA) has proven reliable, and since Darcy Kuemper's status is still unclear, the Avs need a stabilizing presence in net.

Fantasy managers who have IR spots available should stash Francouz immediately, and he might be even worth a regular roster spot since it looks like his return is imminent.

Alexandar Georgiev, Rangers (4-1-1, .882 Sv%, 3.36 GAA)

His season numbers look awful, but that's not a huge concern with the Rangers on a roll and having little trouble scoring goals. It looks like Igor Shesterkin's injury isn't serious, but with three games the next five days, expect Georgiev to get a few more starts. He's deserved it, too, with consecutive wins, though both came against the Blackhawks. With no back-to-backs until Dec. 14-15, it seems unlikely that backup Adam Huska will play until then. Georgiev is matchup dependent because he can be so shaky, but is worth rostering in the interim because he can at least hold the fort and provide a few wins until Shesterkin returns.

Tuukka Rask, Free Agent

Linus Ullmark returned to practice Tuesday after missing the last two games due to illness, and the expectation is that he'll be ready for Wednesday's game against the Canucks. However, it's been widely reported that Rask has been practicing with the Bruins, and it's also been widely speculated that Rask might be the Bruins' ace in the hole later in the season if they need help in net. It's the Bruins or nothing for Rask, who has only donned the black and gold jersey in his career.

We're nearly a third of the way through the season, and neither Ullmark nor Jeremy Swayman has really stood out, and the starter this spring is still up for debate. That seems to have pushed up the timeline for a potential return by Rask, which might be why there's a sudden flurry of interest. Fantasy managers in leagues that offer NA slots can stash Rask, but anything more than that seems premature.

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Honorable Mention: Anthony Stolarz, Ducks; Braden Holtby, Stars; Alex Nedeljkovic, Red Wings; Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen, Wild; Juuse Saros, Predators; Anton Forsberg, Senators; James Reimer and Adin Hill, Sharks; Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brian Elliott, Lightning; Thatcher Demko, Canucks

Trending Down

Marc-Andre Fleury, Blackhawks (7-10-0, .908 Sv%, 2.96 GAA)

Fleury allowed five goals on 29 shots in his last game against the Rangers, the first time he's allowed more than three goals since early November. His play has improved a lot since the beginning of the season, but the Hawks' offense isn't providing much goal support these days. There is one way Fleury's fantasy value could increase without the Hawks making drastic changes to their roster, and that's if they end up trading him.

Injuries are piling up and a few teams may be looking for help in net. Fleury's high cap number could complicate things, but he's proven he can be a serviceable goalie. Fantasy managers should remain patient to see what Fleury's future holds, and even if Fleury isn't worth starting, there's a chance that a trade increases his fantasy value, at which point he could be flipped for other assets.

Mikko Koskinen, Oilers (8-3-0, .896 Sv%, 3.37 GAA since Nov. 1)

If we can ignore the wins for a second — much like pitchers, it can be very dependent on offensive support — that sub-.900 save percentage is definitely more indicative of Koskinen's abilities. Stuart Skinner has struggled with four goals allowed in each of his last two games, so it doesn't look like he's a threat to steal the starting job anymore.

That means Koskinen remains a valuable fantasy option, though his peripherals will continue to suffer. There is no date set for Mike Smith's return, and while the Oilers may look for goaltending help elsewhere, there have been very few rumblings about moves of any kind. The Avs could look to unload a goalie once Francouz and Kuemper are healthy, and the Stars definitely will need to trade someone when Ben Bishop finishes his conditioning stint and returns to the lineup.

Until then, Koskinen remains worth rostering if you don't mind watching his games with eyes half-closed.

Dishonorable Mention: John Gibson, Ducks; Frederik Andersen, Hurricanes; Elvis Merzlikins, Blue Jackets; Jake Oettinger, Stars; Jake Allen, Canadiens; Mackenzie Blackwood, Devils; Carter Hart and Martin Jones, Flyers; Philipp Grubauer, Kraken.