I just wonder lately if some of the old guard is really playing that bad or it is just an inevitable cycle. Here are several teams that are seeing a little more competition for the number one spot…maybe a bit more than anticipated.
Starter: JS Giguere (3.01 GAA, .907 sv%, 8-7-2)
Backup: Jonas Hiller (2.07 GAA, .929 sv%, 5-1-1)
What to do? — This one is getting tougher by the day. Now Hiller has 9 appearances while Giguere has 18. Still that 1/3 ratio is rather high….it translates out to about 27 or 28 games for Hiller. Now Giguere has only started 60 or more games once in his career. Giguere has had five below average performances this month while Hiller had that one against Washington where both goalies were horrendous. Randy Carlyle has a decision to make in the future here. Hiller is clearly the up and comer and is charging hard for more playing time. He has earned it while Giguere has not.
Prediction: — JS Giguere will remain the starter for the foreseeable future but if you can pick up Hiller as a hedge…now is the time to do so. Really it may be too late even now. But Hiller is going to see more and more playing time. He, right now at least, is the better goalie in Anaheim.
Starter: Marty Turco (3.64 GAA, .866 sv %, 6-10-4)
Backup: Tobias Stephan (3.48 GAA. .864 sv%, 1-1)
What To Do? — This one just screams trainwreck! Zubov came back and really the numbers did not improve. Sydor came back….still nothing. Turco really has never strung a few good performances together all season and last night he got shelled against San Jose. The captain is out for the season, the team lacks chemistry and no one seems to have the glue. I had Turco way up on my goalie list at the start of the season based on how they looked on paper. Boy were a lot of pundits wrong, including me. The controversy here is how bad Turco and Dallas have been.
Prediction: — Turco will still be the starter and Stephan will continue to see extensive garbage time because there is no quick fix for Dallas who finds themselves in a tough position and only can look up helplessly at the standings right now. Worst goaltending in the NHL and worst team…who knew? I did not.
Starter: Cristobal Huet (2.84 GAA, .902 sv%, 3-4-2)
Backup: Corey Crawford (N/A)
Injured: Nikolai Khabibulin (2.46 GAA, .923 sv%, 7-1-4)
What To Do?: This by far is the most curious situation. They tried to get rid of Khabibulin in the offseason. That did not work. Then Huet started off poorly while Khabibulin began to heat up. Sadly Khabibulin went down against San Jose and though Huet played well in a 1-0 loss to Anaheim. That groin injury has him at day to day right now but he may be put on the IR. Stay tuned. This will be a fluid situation especially if Khabibulin is out for any substantial time. Keep on this one!
Prediction: Huet will be the starter for the next few weeks more than likely and Crawford may see an appearance or two. Khabibulin owners really thought he had turned the corner and was back to his 2004 form and then this happens. Definitely a devastating development. So Huet and Crawford in…Khabi out….but keep alert.
How about one more for the road?????
New York Islanders
Starter: Joey MacDonald (2.93 GAA, .908 sv%, 9-9-2)
Backups: Peter Mannino and Yann Danis (OUCH!)
Injured: Rick DiPietro (3.91 GAA, .893 sv%, 0-2)
What To Do?: At this point, if you have no choice…ride MacDonald. There are goalies that will do worse….Theodore, Turco, even Kipper to a point, etc. For MacDonald to be at .500 is nothing short of amazing! The Islanders leave this guy out to dry way too many times and he has played much better than even his stats indicate. It is why his backups do not have numbers on here…because they are THAT BAD! Basically if the Isles call on the backup….just cringe. Now what happens when DiPietro does come back? MacDonald will still be the starter for awhile as DiPietro will have to work out his form for awhile. No one should be released to the wolves especially a goalie with so many years left on that 15 year deal.
Prediction: — MacDonald probably will start all month or close to it. Expect DiPietro to be back as the #1 sometime around the first week in January….unless another setback happens of course. If you have better fantasy options by then, you may want to go for it but for now, MacDonald is not too bad of a choice at all.
Next week we will have a few more to throw on the grill….see who’s names come up next!!!