David Satriano is a writer for a NY Post who is quite the fantasy expert, especially when it comes to goalies. Here is this week's Net Effect.
After 11 days of the hockey season, there’s still some issues to figure out with certain teams and who will get the most starts. Here’s an early breakdown:
Eight teams have started one goalie for every game (Calgary, Colorado, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York Rangers and New Jersey).
One team has started three goalies (Phoenix)
That leaves 21 teams who have started two goalies. But a further breakdown shows that 16 of those teams have started goalies at a 4:1 or 4:2 ratio. (Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Florida, Nashville, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, San Jose, Vancouver, Winnipeg).
So we’re left with five teams that have played five games and started one goalie three times and another one twice. Let’s look at those teams:
Minnesota: Through five games, the Wild have alternated Nicklas Backstrom and Josh Harding each game. Neither has looked all that good, as Harding had a shutout, but then followed that up by allowing five goals his next game. Backstrom actually has regressed each game, allowing two goals, then three then five. You’d think they’d be the beneficiaries of offense on most nights, but right now, neither one is better than the other, which means they could continue to split starts in a 1:1 ratio until one has consecutive good starts.
Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury has started over 60 games each of the past four seasons, but so far in the shortened season, his workload has already been reduced. Fleury has had two good starts (allowed one goal in each) with one bad start (five goals allowed), but finally has a proven backup in Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun has allowed three goals in each of his starts (one win, one loss) and has been a primary starter for most of his career, so this is a new role for him as well. This will never be a 50-50 time share, but Vokoun is a good backup to own, because is something happens to Fleury, he is more than capable of taking the reigns in between the pipes.
St. Louis: Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot formed the most formidable duo in the NHL last season. So far this season, they’ve split the starts, but Halak has been the more productive goalie, already with two shutouts in four starts. However he did get pulled in one of his other starts. But he is 3-0 and Elliot is 1-1. Elliot has allowed seven goals in his two starts, and Halak will prob get majority of the starts…for now.
Toronto: Roberto Luongo can’t come soon enough for the Leafs. Ben Scrivens is just 1-2, allowing one goal, then two then five (to the Islanders, no less). James Reimer has looked better, allowing seven goals in three games- four coming in the third period against the Rangers when his defense didn’t exactly help him out.
Washington: Braden Holtby started the first two games of the season for the Capitals, and allowed ten goals. Both losses, that prompted coach Adam Oates- who said he would use both guys plenty- to make the switch to Michal Neuvirth. He’s started the Capitals last three games (in four days), and looked good in two of the three of those games. Ride Neuvirth for now.
Two other teams to look closely into are the Flyers and Coyotes. Ilya Bryzgalov is probably putting up better numbers than you realize (2.22 GAA, .923 SV%) for Philly. But when given a night off, Michael Leighton allowed five goals in a loss to the Lightning- not exactly gaining confidence from the coaching staff. Remember, Brian Boucher is lurking in the AHL.
And now, on to the Coyotes. They are the most intriguing team because Mike Smith is injured and wasn’t playing well when healthy. His backup, Jason LaBarbera, allowed four goals in each of his two starts in Smith’s absence. On Monday night, Chad Johnson got the start and pitched a 21-save shutout against the Predators. Interesting times lie ahead in Phoenix. As an update, Mike Smith is on the IR and Johnson could potentially get a few starts going forward. Smith’s status will now have to be really examined more closely as this was a bit of a surprise. Stay tuned.