Josh Hutchinson (@JustJoshin41)
Of all the goalies I decided to highlight in last week’s article, I would never have guessed that Alex Stalock would be the one that performed the best. The Blackhawks have actually been winning! As I said on Midweek Moves this week, Kyle Davidson must be pulling out his hair watching this team win as he was the GM who won the “most unashamedly tanking” award this offseason. But that’s hockey, anything can happen, especially in the short term. More importantly, anything can happen with goalies.
Vitek Vanecek seems to have gained the trust of Lindy Ruff as he replaced Mackenzie Blackwood when he was pulled on Tuesday against Washington. Vanecek started the next two games and has allowed only 2 goals in 2 wins which included a shutout in the most recent game against Colorado. New Jersey plays Sunday against Columbus before heading out for a Western Canada road trip this week. If Vanecek continues to perform well, there is a chance that he starts all three games against Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver as Ruff seems to be comfortable riding the hot hand this year. However, if he faulters I don’t think there would be any hesitation to go right back to Blackwood. There’s a bit of risk in picking up Vanecek, but he could potentially be a high value add.
We also have a couple of new names on the power rankings this week. One player fell below 50% rostered for the first time this year (I’ll touch on him in a minute). The other player is Scott Wedgewood. Jake Oettinger sustained a lower body injury on Saturday against the Rangers. He’s getting imaging done this weekend to determine a prognosis but if he has to miss some time, Dallas will be looking to Wedgewood. The Stars have 3 games this week and I would expect Wedgewood to start all 3 if Otter can’t play.
Here are your week 4 #ZeroG Power Rankings:
- John Gibson (48% rostered) – Anaheim
- James Reimer (39%) – San Jose
- Vitek Vanecek (31%) – New Jersey
- Scott Wedgewood (3%) – Dallas
- Alex Stalock (21%) – Chicago
- Eric Comrie (31%) – Buffalo
- Jake Allen (39%) – Montreal
- Stuart Skinner (22%) – Edmonton
- Martin Jones (5%) – Seattle
- Alex Nedeljkovic (31%) – Detroit
John Gibson has been very frustrating to roster this year which is probably the reason that he’s dropped down to 49% rostered in Yahoo leagues. The Anaheim Ducks have the worst goal differential in the league through 8 games with -20. They allow the most shots against per game, have the second worst xGF% in the league and have the worst record in the NHL. Gibson has been a bit of a casualty of their poor play. He’s started 7 of 8 games this year and has the third most saves in the league and that’s after being pulled in multiple games. Dallas Eakins has stated on a number of occasions that that the decisions to pull him have more to do with protecting him from the team’s poor play in front of him than they are indicative of his personal performance. Despite the volume of saves, he still has a subpar .884 save percentage.
He’s a volume play at the very least but this week the Ducks have 4 games in which he will almost definitely get 3 starts. Their opponents are much weaker this week than they have been with them playing the Sharks (31st in the league) twice, the Canucks (29th) and the Panthers (9th). Hopefully for Gibson and the Ducks, they can find a little more success and gain some confidence this week.
It’s time to put some respect on Reimer’s name. Like Gibson, he is a solid goaltender with a poor team in front of him. He has a .914 save percentage and has started 7 of 11 games for the Sharks. He has once again easily solidified himself as the starter in San Jose, the same way he did last year when he was a leading #ZeroG gem candidate. He is one of the most underappreciated goalies in the league and has been one of my favorites since his time in Toronto.
Reimer will have almost an identical workload to Gibson this week. He’ll likely start 3 games, and he’ll actually be facing Gibson twice in a battle between the 31st and 32nd place teams. The other game is against the Panthers. Reimer is always a nice stream and hold player and I think this is the week to do it. He has gone from 28% to 39% rostered in the last week so try to pick him up soon.
This is more of a speculative choice. Jack Campbell was anointed as the number 1 in Edmonton when he was signed to a 5x$5 million contract in the offseason. In 6 games he’s put up a .888 save percentage and is 44th in the league in GSAx/60. Stuart Skinner has a .955 save percentage and is 2nd in the league in GSAx/60 through 4 games. It’s still early and typically with a sample size this small I don’t like to jump to conclusions, but it is worth noting that Skinner has started 2 out of Edmonton’s last 3 games. This could indicate that they’re either losing trust in Campbell or Skinner is earning more playing time with his stellar play. Either way, this could mean good news for Skinner.
This is a team goaltending situation that I have been watching closely considering Campbell’s injury history and his extremely streaky and inconsistent play last year. Skinner was also arguably the Oilers best goalie last year, he just happened to be the only non-waiver eligible goalie on the team so he was typically the odd man out when all three were healthy. I would imagine this strong play at least put him in the Oilers’ good books. I wouldn’t say run out and grab Skinner yet, but keep an eye on this situation closely. If he even starts one of Edmonton’s 3 games this week, that would bring him to 3 of the last 5 games started which could indicate a shift of trust in favor of Skinner. Watch this situation closely.
Stats and player information gathered from: