In the Crease is back for the 2016-17 season. This column will provide you with everything you need to know about goaltending and who to start and sit in the upcoming week. I’ll give you some Great options, Good options and Goalies to avoid every week.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld’s Season Pass is now available for the low price of $19.99. You get plenty of extra articles including the minor league report, the junior report and much, much more. Buy it now!
Week of December 19-25
Sergei Bobrovsky-Columbus Blue Jackets
Schedule: Tue vs. LAK, Thu vs. PIT, Fri vs. MTL
Coming into Saturday’s action, no goalie has more wins this season than Sergei Bobrovsky. He’s currently riding a seven-game winning streak, but he’ll have a stiff test this week, as the Kings Penguins and Canadiens are visiting Columbus. I’d expect him to get two of three starts this week. Bobrovsky has an 18-5-2 record with a 1.90 goals-against-average and a .935 save percentage. With the Christmas break right around the corner, each goalie’s schedule will be less than ideal.
Devan Dubnyk-Minnesota Wild
Schedule: Tue vs. COL, Thu @ MTL, Fri @ NYR
Some people would argue that Dubnyk is the top candidate for the Vezina Trophy at the quarter mark of the season, and when you look at his numbers, it’s hard to argue against him. The 30-year-old has rattled off six consecutive wins and he has dropped a game in regulation since Nov. 19. He has a 15-6-3 record with a 1.62 goals-against-average and a .947 save percentage in 2016-17.
Tuukka Rask-Boston Bruins
Schedule: Tue vs. NYI, Thu @ FLA, Fri @ CAR
The Bruins just aren’t the same team when Rask isn’t in nets. Anton Khudobin, Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre have all played games this year, but they were unable to give Boston quality performances between the pipes. Rask has been flat out terrific, and with all the other goalies struggling, don’t be surprised if the Bruins ramp up his game played as the playoff races start picking up. Look for Rask to play at least two games before the Holiday break, which means he’ll get plus matchups against “inferior” opponents.
Carey Price-Montreal Canadiens
Schedule: Tue vs. ANA, Thu vs. MIN, Fri @ CBJ
Price was pulled in the second period of Friday’s game against the Sharks (he wasn’t happy about that, by the way). Even though he was yanked, it’s hard to blame Price for any of the goals he allowed in that game. Of course, he’s been one of the top goalies for a while now and I expect him to bounce back. His schedule is far from ideal, but two home dates against the Ducks and Wild are winnable. Don’t be surprised if Al Montoya gets the third game in Columbus (he gave up the 10 last time he went there).
Chad Johnson-Calgary Flames
Schedule: Mon @ ARZ, Tue @ SJ, Fri vs. VAN
Johnson started the season as Brian Elliott’s backup, but the roles have reversed rather quickly. He’s now taken over as the starter and he’s had some success doing so. Johnson was on a six-game winning streak before dropping a game to Tampa Bay on Wednesday. He’s proven to be a quality signing for the Flames, and if he starts games against Arizona and Vancouver, that success should continue into next week.
Braden Holtby-Washington Capitals
Schedule: Wed @ PHI, Fri vs. TB
The Caps are one of the rare teams that have just two games next week, and neither one will be particularly easy. A date with the red-hot Flyers awaits them on Wednesday and they have a better matchup at home against the Bolts on Friday night. Holtby enters Saturday’s game having won four games in a row and he’s given up two goals or less in three of those games. He has a 14-6-2 record with a 2.08 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage. With backup Philipp Grubauer starting on Friday, there’s a good chance Holtby will be used in both games next week.
Martin Jones-San Jose
Schedule: Tue vs. CGY, Fri vs. EDM
Jones enters Sunday’s game against the Blackhawks with a three-game winning streak under his belt. He’s given up two goals or less in five of his last eight appearances, and there’s a good chance he’ll get to boost that winning streak with a pair starts before the break. Jones has a 16-10-1 record with a 2.10 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage this season. He’s a solid fantasy option this week.
Steve Mason-Philadelphia Flyers
Schedule: Mon vs. NSH, Wed vs. WSH, Thu @ NJ
Mason and the Flyers have been rolling. Their improved play has been obvious by their previous 10-game winning streak, but that was snapped Saturday against Dallas. Mason was in goal for eight of those 10 consecutive wins and he gave up two goals or less in six of those victories. Mason will likely get two of the three starts before the start of the break, which makes him an intriguing fantasy option, even though the Flyers will have some tough matchups.
Avoid these Netminders
Ryan Miller-Vancouver Canucks
Schedule: Tue vs. WPG, Thu vs. WPG, Fri @ CGY
The Canucks’ schedule isn’t too bad this week, but I just can’t trust them to win any games. Last week, they went into the third period of a game against Carolina with a 5-2 lead and managed to collapse. Miller hasn’t been brutal this year, but his teammates have. He simply can’t be trusted in fantasy circles and neither can Jacob Markstrom.
Schedule: Mon @ CAR, Tue @ TB, Thu @ FLA
Some might be surprised to see this duo on the “Avoid” section of the list, but they have three road games this week, which is far from ideal and their teammates have been struggling to spot them goals. The Red Wings are 29th in the league in PP %, average goals-per-game and average shots-per-game. That’s not a recipe for fantasy success.
Mike Condon-Ottawa Senators
Schedule: Tue @ CHI, Thu vs. ANA
With Craig Anderson’s schedule being unpredictable, Condon has received a lot more playing time than most expected before the start of the year. The 26-year-old has done a relatively good job. He has a 4-3-2 record with a 2.34 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage in 2016-17. Condon’s a great story, but I just don’t like his upcoming schedule. Stay away from the Ottawa goalies before the break.
Schedule: Tue @ MIN, Thu vs. TOR, Fri @ CHI
Varlamov’s missed the last couple of games due to injury, so we don’t know how much longer he’ll be out. Either way, if you can avoid Colorado’s goaltending situation, you’ll be better off. They’ll play four games in six nights before the Christmas break and that includes three road games in Winnipeg, Minnesota and Chicago. I don’t think that’s a recipe for success.