If you're a Midwesterner like me, mid-January means a few things. Cold weather. Shoveling. Maybe a trip west, if we're lucky. And a handful of hockey pickups.
Here's a fresh batch for you.
David Rittich, G, Los Angeles Kings (31% rostered)
With Cam Talbot in a slump, the Kings are giving Rittich a shot at more playing time. He was excellent in recent starts against the Predators and Rangers and, obviously, a home start against San Jose on Monday is a likely win. The small-sample stats (1.58 goals-against, .937 save percentage) are too good to be true, sure, but any starting goalie or at least partial-starting goalie on a competitive team deserves to be rostered. And when we're chasing goalie stats, the hot hand is critical. Trust what's working in the moment.
Egor Zamula, D, Philadelphia Flyers (2% rostered)
The Flyers continue to rotate things on their blueline, but Zamula is making a case to be significantly involved on the power play. Zamula had two goals and an assist in Sunday's loss to Ottawa — figuring in all three Philadelphia goals — and he's now up to 11 points over 15 starts, including six points on the power play. The ice time has been moderate — he logged 15 minutes Sunday — but so long as the Flyers like Zamula on the PP, where the points are, we won't sweat the overall role. Kick some tires here and see where the story goes.
Logan O'Connor, RW, Colorado Avalanche (7% rostered)
It's difficult to find a sneaky fantasy pickup on a glamour team like Colorado, but O'Connor qualifies. He's getting a shot on the second line, and lately, it's popping with six goals in seven games, including a hat trick at Philadelphia. The recent form will probably result in O'Connor getting some second-unit power-play opportunity as well.
Alec Martinez, D, Vegas Golden Knights (12% rostered)
Cluster injuries on the blueline have pushed Martinez into a bigger role, and although he's not a big offensive force, he's useful in broad-category leagues. Martinez has 43 shots and 95 blocks over his 29 games, and we like our support defensemen to come from winning teams. It's not a sexy play, but your depth selections matter, too.
Mikael Backlund, C, Calgary Flames (31% rostered)
Backlund would be a juicier fantasy option if his role expanded — he's currently the third-line center for Calgary and on the second power-play unit. But his scoring pace is reasonable, and his is also a case for following the shots — he's collected 25 shots over his last seven games. With slightly better puck luck, he could be in the 25-goal range by season's end, along with a plus rating and solid support stats. And if anyone on the top two lines gets hurt, Backlund is an obvious promotion candidate.
Shane Pinto, C, Ottawa Senators (6% rostered)
Expectations were modest when Pinto made his return from a 41-game gambling suspension, but his first run was solid — a couple of shots, a couple of hits, one assist and a plus-two rating. Don't forget Pinto was a 20-goal man as a rookie; he's capable of being a quality addition in the medium and deeper pools. Ottawa likes to spread out the production over its top three lines, so being on the third unit isn't an automatic buzzkill — it means Pinto gets to skate with classy veteran Vladimir Tarasenko.