Josh Hutchinson (@JustJoshin41)
Finally! A week with games every night! Week 2 was a bit of a whirlwind but there are some team goaltending situations that are starting to become clearer and some that are even more confusing than before.
Philipp Grubauer continues to make me look bad. It really seems like he may be in his own head. He had another rough week where he had the opportunity to grab hold of a starting job and he didn’t show up. To make matters worse, he’s day-to-day with an injury. I believe in this Seattle team and what they’re doing on the ice, but their goaltending situation is a disaster. Grubauer will not be starting on Sunday due to his injury so Martin Jones will likely get a run this week although he hasn’t looked particularly stellar either.
Cal Petersen and Jonathan Quick also seem to be in an ongoing battle for 2nd place on the goaltending depth chart in LA. The Kings have been a surprisingly poor defensive team to start the year but even so, Quick and Petersen still both have a negative GSAx. It looked like Todd McLellan was leaning Petersen as he had two straight starts this week for the first time this year, but he was pulled in the second start after allowing 3 goals on 9 shots against Pittsburgh and the Kings went back to Quick on Saturday. I still think there’s potential for Petersen to figure it out and eventually take the reigns, but it has been a messy start for the Kings so far so I’m not taking my chances on him yet.
I don’t want to get too long winded about the negatives because there are a few interesting and potentially positive situations that I want to touch on so without further ado, here are your week 3 #ZeroG power rankings:
- Eric Comrie (21% Rostered) – Buffalo
- Mackenzie Blackwood (13%) – New Jersey
- Jake Allen (42%) – Montreal
- James Reimer (28%) – San Jose
- Alex Nedeljkovic (40%) – Detroit
- Philipp Grubauer (24%)/Martin Jones (4%) – Seattle
- Karel Vejmelka (15%) – Arizona
- Alex Stalock (3%) – Chicago
- Cal Petersen (16%) – Los Angeles
- Jaroslav Halak (3%) – New York Rangers
What a difference a week can make. The Sabres started 41 year old Craig Anderson in their first game of the season, which raised some eyebrows, but he performed marvelously against the Senators. The Sabres then gave Eric Comrie 3 straight starts and he posted a .930 Sv% despite facing an average of 42 shots/game. This came against some premium offenses in Florida, Edmonton and Calgary. He is currently 2nd in the league in GSAx. It seems like, at the very least, Comrie is the 1A in this tandem if not the starter despite Anderson getting the nod on Saturday (I imagine this is to give Comrie a break after a very heavy workload). Next week, the Sabres have 3 games against much weaker opponents (Seattle, Montreal, Chicago) and Comrie seems primed to potentially start all three games. There’s a lot to be excited about here. He’s gone from 6% to 21% rostered in Yahoo since last week so the fantasy world is starting to notice, but he’s still very available so snatch him up if you can.
Unlike the Buffalo situation, the fantasy world has not yet clued into the fact that Mackenzie Blackwood is the clear 1A in New Jersey. He’s started 4 out of 5 games so far this season including all 3 games in week 2. He wasn’t busy in those 3 games, facing under 20 shots/game on average but he did his job and posted a .915 Sv% to go along with 3 wins. New Jersey has dominated their opponents so far this year (2nd in NHL in CF% and 1st in xGF% by a wide margin) and have made it very easy on their goaltenders. It’s hard to say whether these numbers are due to them being a vastly improved team or due to their easy schedule out of the gate. We’ll find out this week as they face Washington, Detroit, Colorado and Columbus. If things continue to play out the way they have, Blackwood should get 3 of those starts.
Despite all of these trends, Blackwood is still only 13% rostered in Yahoo while his tandem partner Vitek Vanecek is 32% rostered. This is the type of situation you want to take advantage of before everyone else in your league notices. New Jersey is for real, and if Blackwood can even provide league average goaltending he could be a #ZeroG gem.
At this point at 12:24am on October 23, Alex Stalock is the NHL leader in Sv% with .979. If you look at GSAx/60 as I like to do, he also leads the league in that category. This is in a whopping sample size of 81 minutes played (sarcasm is hard to articulate in text but this is it). Petr Mrazek is on the shelf for at least the next week so Stalock is slated to start 3 of Chicago’s next 4 games. There is potential for him to steal the starting spot from Mrazek if he continues to perform well. However, Chicago is actively tanking and despite Luke Richardson’s best efforts to prepare his team to win on a nightly basis, it’s not in their best interests to have a goalie perform well. That’s likely the reason they signed Stalock in the first place considering he only played 1 NHL game over the two previous seasons (in which he posted a .786 save percentage). But goaltenders are voodoo and anything can happen to anyone given an opportunity. I’m just not sure Chicago will continue to give him minutes if he performs above expectations. This is more of a situation to keep an eye on rather than a sure thing to jump on. If you need a goalie in an extremely deep league, maybe you could give Stalock a look. He will at the very least get some volume this week.
Stats and player information gathered from: