Josh Hutchinson (@JustJoshin41)
Week 1 is in the books! It was pretty quiet on the goaltending front until a 14 game Saturday night gave us a few interesting goaltending narratives. Volume starters Marc-Andre Fleury and Jack Campbell have both had brutal starts to the season through two games. Campbell is not getting much help in Edmonton (3rd most xGA per 60 in the league) but Fleury on the other hand has had really solid defending in front of him (3rd least xGA per 60 in the league) and just hasn’t performed (-6.4 GSAx). It’s extremely early. Don’t overreact yet. But these are two situations to keep an eye on as both teams have young backups looking to prove themselves waiting in the wings in Stuart Skinner and Filip Gustavsson. I think they’ll both figure it out but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t at least bring them up.
Dan Vladar got an unexpected start last night and Darryl Sutter told the media at the morning skate that he’s looking to give Vladar one start per week this year. This should make him a nice option for spot starts. He’s not a guy that I would be picking up and holding but if you need a start in a pinch he’s an ideal option playing behind a strong Calgary Flames team. Keep an eye on @gamedaygoalies on Twitter to get notified when he’s playing so you can scoop him up.
It turns out I was wrong about how New Jersey values Mackenzie Blackwood as he got the opening night start. Unfortunately, neither he nor Vitek Vanecek performed well in their first games despite surprisingly good defensive performances in front of them (New Jersey is 1st in xGA/60 through 2 games). I would expect both of them to get another shot this week. New Jersey has 3 games with weaker opponents (Ducks, Islanders, Sharks) and I would think that whoever performs better through the first 2 games will likely get the third start. Keep an eye on this situation this week.
We also have a new #ZeroG candidate with Semyon Varlamov dropping below 50% rostered in Yahoo leagues. He hasn’t had any action yet but should get into at least one game in this upcoming week with the Islanders playing 4 times including a back to back on Saturday/Sunday.
Enough rambling. Here are the week 2 power rankings:
- Jake Allen (28% Rostered) – Montreal
- Philipp Grubauer (29%) – Seattle
- Karel Vejmelka (13%) – Arizona
- James Reimer (25%) – San Jose
- Mackenzie Blackwood (7%)/Vitek Vanecek (44%) – New Jersey
- Craig Anderson (8%)/Eric Comrie (6%) – Buffalo
- Petr Mrazek (5%) – Chicago
- Semyon Varlamov (46%) – New York Islanders
- Cal Petersen (16%) – Los Angeles
- Felix Sandstrom (0%) – Philadelphia
Jake Allen is off to a red hot start with stellar performances against Toronto and Detroit. He’s stopped 66/70 shots for a .943 save percentage and 1 win through two games. It seems like Kent Hughes may have forgotten to send Jake the tanking for Bedard memo because he’s come to play. Montreal has 3 games next week with one of them coming against Arizona. I would say that game is a freebee but it’s hockey, anything can happen. Allen looks primed to be the volume starter and should get all 3 games this week. He is 10% more rostered on Yahoo than he was at the start of last week so people are noticing his play but he’s still available in most leagues.
It turns out the leash on Grubauer was shorter than I had anticipated. Seattle had a great opening game against the Ducks, outshooting them 48-27 with a 63.93% CF% and a 67.6% xGF%. The only problem is they blew a 4-2 lead in the 3rd period and lost 5-4 in OT. Grubauer didn’t look particularly strong, however from what I saw watching the highlights (take that with a grain of salt) it didn’t seem like he had much help from his defense on many of the goals despite their overall strong performance. Nonetheless, one solid win from Martin Jones on the second half of a back-to-back earned him the start on Saturday against Vegas where he promptly got pulled after allowing 5 goals on 24 shots.
Seattle has 4 games with 0 back-to-backs next week and Jones’ poor performance on Saturday opens the door for Philipp Grubauer again. If he can bounce back he could provide you significant volume and potentially start all 4 games. If he struggles against Carolina on Monday, it seems like Dave Hakstol would have no issue going back to Jones on Wednesday. There’s a bit of a risk picking up Grubauer but I think it’s worth the gamble.
This guy is a wild card. Most of you won’t know who Felix Sandstrom is and I’ll be honest, I’d never heard his name until this season. He’s a 3rd round pick from 2015 and has bounced around the ECHL and AHL over the last few seasons with mixed results. He was not supposed to be the backup in Philly this year but with Ivan Fedotov being detained in Russia for “evading military service” they didn’t really have another option. Every year someone comes out of absolute nowhere, takes the reigns for his team and may even perform better at the NHL level than they have in any other league. Is Felix Sandstrom that guy? Probably not, but the Flyers have two back-to-backs this week so he’ll likely get two starts. If the Flyers play as hard as they did this past week in their new John Tortorella system, he may even be in the running for a couple wins. He’s someone to at the very least keep on your radar.
Stats and player information gathered from: