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.
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Week of October 17-23
Marc-Andre Fleury-Pittsburgh Penguins
Schedule: Mon vs. COL, Tue @ MTL, Thu vs. SJ, Sat @ NSH
Fleury was expected to battle Matt Murray for the starting job this season, but Murray is dealing with a hand injury and will be out for the first month of the season. That’s great news for Fleury’s fantasy stock. The 31-year-old turned in a solid performance in Thursday’s shootout win over Washington. Despite having a tough schedule this week, Fleury should get three starts.
Braden Holtby-Washington Capitals
Schedule: Tue vs. COL, Thu @ FLA, Sat vs. NYR
Holtby and the Caps didn’t get off to a great start in their regular season opener against Pittsburgh, but that shouldn’t stop you from trusting him. Like he was a year ago, Holtby will continue to be one of the top fantasy players at his position in 2016-17. Don’t be surprised if Holtby starts all three games for Washington.
Carey Price-Montreal Canadiens
Schedule: Tue vs. PIT, Thu vs. ARZ, Sat @ BOS
Price’s fantasy owners were disappointed after the goaltender missed most of last season with a knee injury. The Canadiens goaltender looked great at the World Cup, but he’s yet to make his regular season debut because he’s battling a nasty flu. He should be ready for Tuesday’s tilt against the Pens, but if he’s not, Al Montoya will be an intriguing short-term add. Montoya looked solid in Thursday’s regular season opener against the Sabres.
Jake Allen-St. Louis Blues
Schedule: Tue @VAN, Thu @EDM, Sat @ CGY
The Blues will give Allen a rest on Saturday night, which means that he’ll be fresh entering next week. Even though St. Louis is heading on a three-game road trip through western Canada, they’ve shown that there isn’t going to be a big drop off between last season and this one. Allen has shared the net with Brian Elliott over the last few years, but now that Elliott is gone, expect him to be a workhorse goaltender. Carter Hutton isn’t a threat to Allen’s fantasy stock.
Martin Jones-San Jose Sharks
Schedule: Mon @ NYR, Tue @ NYI, Thu @ PIT, Sat @ DET
More often than not, Jones will be fall into the “Great” category because of his projected workload and because of the fact that he’s a solid goalie. This week, the Sharks will play four games, but all four of those contests will be on the road, which makes him a slightly less appealing fantasy option.
Ben Bishop-Tampa Bay Lightning
Schedule: Tue vs. FLA, Thu vs. COL, Sat @ OTT
Bishop gave up four goals to Detroit in his first start of the season, but he still managed to pick up the victory. He’ll get the night off against New Jersey on Saturday and he should be ready to go on Tuesday. Bishop’s long-term fantasy value is a little shaky because of Andrei Vasilevksiy’s presence, but his grip on the number one job is firm right now. Expect him to see at least two starts next week.
Corey Crawford-Chicago Blackhawks
Schedule: Tue vs. PHI, Fri @ CBJ, Sat vs. TOR
Crawford and the Blackhawks are off to a rough start, as they dropped their first two games of the season. It’s still early in the season, but it seems like the Hawks may not be one of the elite teams in the Western Conference. Fantasy owners shouldn’t worry about Crawford’s slow start. He’ll likely get two starts this week with backup Scott Darling getting either Friday’s game against Columbus or Saturday’s game against Toronto.
Tuukka Rask-Boston Bruins
Schedule: Mon @ WPG, Thu vs. NJ, Sat vs. MTL
Rask will face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday before we get to next week’s schedule. Regardless of what happens against the Leafs, Rask will continue to get the bulk of the work for Bruins this season. Expect him to start two games, with Monday’s game at Winnipeg as a potential night off.
Avoid these Netminders
Sergei Bobrovsky-Columbus Blue Jackets
Schedule: Fri vs. CHI, Sat @ Dal
Not only are the Jackets considered one of the worst teams in the NHL coming into this season, but their schedule for the upcoming week is brutal. After Saturday’s game against San Jose, they’ll be off until next Friday when they’ll have a tough matchup against Chicago. Things won’t get any easier on Saturday, as they’ll have a date with the Stars in Dallas. Avoid Bobrovsky if you can.
Robin Lehner-Buffalo Sabres
Schedule: Tue @ CGY, Thu @ VAN
Lehner’s a big, talented goaltender, but he’s been unable to stay healthy for long periods of time. When he has been between the pipes, his play has been wildly inconsistent. Lehner’s season didn’t start on the best note as he lost a 4-1 decision to the Canadiens. That game opened up with him allowing a brutal goal to Habs forward Brendan Gallagher. With two games outside the eastern time zone, he’ll be someone to avoid this week.
Jeff Zatkoff-Los Angeles Kings
Schedule: Tue @ MIN, Thu @ DAL, Sat vs. VAN
What a story. Zatkoff went from being the third goalie on the Penguins to being thrust into the starter’s role in Los Angeles because of the injury to Jonathan Quick. The Kings have a good team, but I’m concerned about how Zatkoff will hold up with an increased workload. He hasn’t played more than 37 professional games in a season since 2012-13 in the AHL. If you’re a Quick owner, try to find a more suitable fantasy option until he gets back.
Cam Ward-Carolina Hurricanes
Schedule: Tue @ EDM, Thu @ CGY, Sat @ PHI
The Hurricanes will open the regular season with a five-game road trip and things didn’t get off to a great start against the Jets earlier this week. The ‘Canes jumped out to a 4-1 lead in that game, but ended up losing 5-4 in OT with Ward in nets. That’s not to put all the blame on Ward, but as much as this team is on the rise, they’re still mediocre right now. Ward’s numbers haven’t been good over the last couple of seasons and there’s no reason to believe he’ll be able to return to his once dominant form.