In The Crease returns to its roots as the column will provide you with everything you need to know about goaltending and who to start in the upcoming week. I'll focus on Great Options, Good Options and Goalies to avoid.
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Martin Jones-San Jose Sharks
Schedule: Thu @ VAN, Sat vs. VAN, Mon @ CGY
Jones’ first year as a starting goaltender has gone extremely well. The 26-year-old has already suited up in 53 games and although he’s had some ups and downs (like every goalie) his body of work has been impressive. One thing that concerns me about him heading into the playoffs is his heavy workload. The Sharks addressed that issue by acquiring a quality backup in James Reimer, but however you slice it, Jones will come close to playing 70 games in 2015-16. But we’re not here to worry about the playoffs. We’re looking for results for seven days and I can’t help but think Jones will give his fantasy owners some wins this week. He’s won back-to-back starts over Vancouver and Montreal and he’s only given up three goals in those victories. The North Vancouver, B.C. native might get two more cracks at his hometown team this week and he’ll have a winnable matchup against the Flames on Monday. I expect the Sharks to give Reimer some work this week, but if they decide not to that would only increase Jones’ value. Jones has a 31-17-4 record with a 2.32 goals-against-average and a .917 save percentage this season.
Braden Holtby-Washington Capitals
Schedule: Tue vs. PIT, Wed vs. TOR, Fri vs. NYR, Sat @ BOS, Mon @ ANA
The Capitals will be extremely busy this week, as they’ll play in five games between Tuesday and Monday. It’s hard to envision Holtby playing in all these games, but realistically his fantasy owners can expect him to get the nod in at least three contests. Washington have a tough matchup against Pittsburgh on Tuesday, but the Penguins will be playing their second game in two nights. Holtby’s next win will be his 40th of the season. The 26-year-old has a 39-7-3 record with a 2.23 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage. He has just three regulation losses since Nov. 10. It’s hard to imagine another goaltender being better (for fantasy purposes) than Holtby between now and the start of the postseason. As always, start him with confidence.
Jonathan Quick-Los Angeles Kings
Schedule: Thu vs. MTL, Sat vs. ANA, Mon vs. VAN
The Anaheim Ducks put an end to Quick’s three-game winning streak on Sunday night, but the Kings goaltender won’t have to wait long to get another crack at his state rivals. This time, Anaheim will be making the trip out to Los Angeles. Sandwiched between that huge game against the Ducks are very winnable games against the Canadiens and Canucks (all on home ice). Prior to Sunday’s loss, Quick hadn’t allowed more than two goals in a game in six straight contests. The 30-year-old has a 31-16-3 record with a 2.18 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage this season. Because the Kings have four days between games, it’s not impossible that Quick plays all three games between Thursday and Monday.
Corey Crawford-Chicago Blackhawks
Schedule: Wed @ DET, Thu @ BOS, Sun vs. DET
Crawford put an end to his two-game losing streak with a huge win over the first place Capitals on Sunday afternoon. The Blackhawks were very active in the week leading up to the trade deadline. They added players like Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann and Christian Ehrhoff which can only help the team and their goaltender win more games. It’s not like Crawford needed the help, but I’m sure he doesn’t mind it. The 31-year-old has just two wins in his last seven games, but he’ll be fine going forward. Crawford has a 33-16-3 record with a 2.25 goals-against-average and a .928 save percentage in 2015-16. The Hawks have three games this week with two of them coming against the Wings. Look for Crawford and Scott Darling to split starts on Wednesday and Thursday with Crawford getting the home date against Detroit on Sunday. He’d be higher on the list if it wasn’t for his mediocre schedule.
Devan Dubnyk-Minnesota Wild
Schedule: Tue vs. COL, Thu @ TOR, Sat @ BUF, Sun vs. STL
Last week, I had Dubnyk as one of my “Good Options” and it blew up in my face. The 29-year-old dropped two starts in a row to start the week, but he salvaged his fantasy performance by winning a decision against the Florida Panthers on Sunday night. Dubnyk and the Wild should have no problem winning multiple games this week. Minnesota has a good matchup against the Avalanche at the Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday before getting two great road matchups against Toronto and Buffalo. I fully expect Dubnyk to start three of the four games this week which means that Darcy Kuemper will play in one of the games over the weekend. Dubnyk has a 22-21-5 record with a 2.36 goals-against-average and a .918 save percentage in 2015-16. The Wild have to go on a long run if they hope to secure a spot in the postseason.
John Gibson-Anaheim Ducks
Schedule: Wed vs. MTL, Thu @ ARZ, Sat @ LAK, Mon vs. WSH
The Ducks have won eight games in a row. Not only has their goaltending been impeccable during that stretch, but the entire team has been pulling their weight. If the Ducks had a clear-cut number one goalie, that person would be much, much higher on this list. The problem with this goaltending situation is that not only is Gibson a fine option, but so is Frederik Andersen. Both players have been phenomenal during this stretch. I believe Gibson will get the first crack at starting this week after he put in such a strong effort against a strong Kings team on Sunday night. I’d expect Anaheim to turn to Andersen on Thursday night, but they should go back to Gibson in a rematch against Los Angeles on Saturday night. The 22-year-old has a 15-8-2 record with a 2.10 goals-against-average and a .918 save percentage. If Andersen gets the majority of the starts this week, feel free to consider him a (very) good option.
Avoid these Netminders
Cam Ward-Carolina Hurricanes
Schedule: Tue @ NJ, Sat @ TB
Ward might be the worst fantasy option of any goaltender in the NHL this week. There are two reasons for that. First, Carolina only has two games this week and they’re both on the road. Should Carolina decide to share the workload this week that would leave Ward with just one outing. Second, the Canes just shipped off a bunch of veterans like Kris Versteeg, Eric Staal and John-Michael Liles because they don’t see themselves winning enough games down the stretch to make it into the playoffs. The departure of those players definitely doesn’t help the fantasy stock of any of their players, including Ward and backup goalie Eddie Lack. Ward enters the week having lost three games in a row and four of his last five contests. The 32-year-old has a 2.43 goals-against-average and a .907 save percentage this season.
Louis Domingue-Arizona Coyotes
Schedule: Thu vs. ANA, Sat vs. FLA, Mon @ COL
Domingue and the Coyotes are going through their ugliest stretch of the season. The Yotes have dropped six straight games and Domingue has been between the pipes for each of those decisions. The 23-year-old has been thrust into a starting role because Mike Smith has been hurt and Anders Lindback has been awful. Domingue may have a bright future in the NHL, but it’s clear that he may not be ready to handle such a heavy workload right now. Arizona is returning home from their five-game East Coast road trip. The first game back from a long trip usually doesn’t go well for the home team. The Coyotes schedule doesn’t help either. They’ll take on the hottest team in the NHL-the Anaheim Ducks- on Tuesday and they’ll take on the Panthers and Avalanche. Leave Domingue on the bench if you can.
Mike Condon-Montreal Canadiens
Schedule: Wed @ ANA, Thu @ LAK, Sat @ WPG
I didn’t expect Condon to be named the NHL’s third start of the week last week, but he turned in unexpected performances against Nashville, Washington and Toronto. Unfortunately for Condon, I don’t see him having that kind of success this week. The Canadiens began their West Coast road trip on Monday night in San Jose and they’ll continue that journey over the next few days. They’ll have incredibly difficult matchups against the Ducks and Kings on Wednesday and Thursday before taking on the Jets at the MTS Center. Condon will likely be between the pipes for two of those three contests, but it’s hard to envision him having a big fantasy week. He’ll be a goalie to avoid from now until the end of the regular season. Montreal’s backup, Ben Scrivens, can also be ignored in all fantasy leagues.