Hi again, everyone. You and I know there is not a more important position to look deeply into than goaltending; mostly because a team can only choose one goalie to start a game. Even if they choose a different guy for the next game…and then change back. Let’s look at some goalie situations that are actually worth talking about after the jump.
Washington Capitals: Tomas Vokoun (starter) vs Michal Neuvirth (challenger)
At the time of my last post, Tomas Vokoun owners were uncomfortable at best and on the ledge at worst. He sat in favor of Neuvirth in the opener, which Neuvy won. Then when he started the next game, he gave up 5 goals to
Tampa Bay Lightning: Dwayne Roloson (starter) vs Mathieu Garon (challenger)
Ugly, ugly, ugly. Roloson started the opener with a 5-1 win, posting 32 saves. Since then, he’s given up 5, 5, and 7 goals in his next 3 starts. It’s good for a .858 Save % and an unsightly 5.11 GAA. As a results of this, Mathieu Garon has started 4 games, and mopped up for Roloson in one. In those games he’s 2-1-1 with a 1.51 GAA and .948 Save %. It’s probably being too hasty to say that Roloson has lost his position as the starter. He played so well last year that the Lightning owe it to him to allow him to sort things out. But as I mentioned earlier, Roloson is 42. At some point he has to fall apart altogether and this may be the warning signs. If I was counting heavily on Roloson, I would have Garon picked up already undoubtedly. Garon’s been the better goalie. We should get a better idea within the next 2 weeks as to how Guy Boucher wants to play this situation.
St. Louis Blues: Jaroslav Halak (starter) vs Brian Elliott (challenger)
This might be the most interesting goalie situation at this moment. Halak has been bad. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. He’s 1-4-0 and even though he hasn’t let in any more than 4 goals in a game (3.47 GAA), his Save % is awful (.835). The interesting thing here is that he’s just not seeing many shots. His shots against per game have been: 15, 17, 24, 23, and 18. He was seeing 26.6 shots per game last season when he flourished. Brian Elliott, on the other hand is 3-0 with a 2.06 GAA and .935 Save %. There was a time when Elliott was thought to be the future of the Senators. He was given his shot and was downright awful. He was equally awful for the Avalanche after the trade last season. Sometimes it takes goalies a while to figure it out. Unfortunately for Elliott, the leash is short. All it takes is one bad game to turn things back to normal. This makes Halak a great trade target. He’s just a little rusty but I’m confident that he’ll come around.
Los Angeles Kings: Jonathan Quick (starter) vs Jonathan Bernier
It was a swift knockout punch by Quick in the form of 3 shutouts with a 5-0-1 record and Bernier was dropped…then subsequently dropped by many fantasy teams. Bernier was a popular late round flyer on the off-chance that this was his season to overtake Quick for the starting job. Well to this point, Bernier has only gotten into one game and he lost, allowing 4 goals. Is it possible that he starts even less than last season (22 games)? It sure seems like it. That means he isn’t worth a roster spot in any non-keeper leagues. Make the drop, guys and gals.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Steve Mason (starter) vs Any Warm Body That Owns Goalie Equipment (challenger)
Mason has been bad. There’s no other way to put it. He’s posted a 0-7-1 record with a 3.53 GAA and a .878 Save % while starting all 8 CBJ games. One thing you could say for the kid is that he hasn’t allowed more than 4 goals in any game. He’s also allowed less than 3 only once, so at least he’s consistent. This would have been a great time for Mark Dekanich to be healthy but he’s on the IR. Curtis Sanford was the backup but he’s out with a groin injury. 22 year old Allen York was called up even though he, too, is recovering from an injury. Apparently he’s "healthy enough to be the backup". It looks like Mason will be given more undeserved time to try not to suck. I’d still be hanging onto Dekanich if I had an open IR spot. He CAN’T be worse than Mason.
Florida Panthers: Jose Theodore (starter) vs Jacob Markstrom (challenger)
Theodore has been admirable; definitely better than I expected. He’s 3-2-0 with a .913 and 2.63 GAA with 1 shutout through 5 and 2/3 games. He was pulled after 2 periods on Saturday night (10/22) with an LBI. Markstrom played well in the first game he started this season, a 3-0 loss to the Caps, turning away 29 of 31 shots. He also got the win coming in relief of Theodore and stopping all 18 shots that the Isles threw at him. Then, the sexiest of his performances, he stopped 40 shots in a 2-1 win over the Canadiens. If you’re starved for goaltending this is certainly a situation worth monitoring. If Theodore’s injury nags and Markstrom plays well, how could they not let the 21 year old play? They did spend a second round draft pick on him in 2008.
New Jersey Devils: Martin Brodeur (starter) vs Johan Hedberg (challenger)
Brodeur lasted a game and 1/3 until he got injured. He’s supposedly out only 7-10 days with a shoulder. Hedberg has been great in his absence to the tune of 3-1-1, 2.24 GAA and .923 Save %. With what Brodeur means to the Devils, it’s highly doubtful that any other goalie would be the starter while he still has the ability to stand on 2 legs. That being said, Hedberg could see time at a 40/60 clip even when and if Brodeur does get healthy. There are worse goalies to own than Hedberg.
Edmonton Oilers: Nikolai Khabibulin (starter) vs Devan Dubnyk (challenger)
At this point, you have to say that Khabibulin is the starter. He’s started 4 games and has not lost in regulation. His 0.72 GAA and .969 Save % are sparkling. Dubnyk has played well, too, but he hasn’t had the same results going 1-2-0. Tom Renney obviously wants to win games and give the Oilers fans something to cheer about. He’ll go with Khabibulin for the most part until he’s given a reason not to. Khabibulin is only owned in 28% of Yahoo! leagues as of now. Go out and grab him so you can ride the wave with me…until it crashes at least.