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In The Crease

Keeping up with Khudobin

by Anna Dua
Updated On: January 24, 2021, 12:51 am ET

In the Crease is back for the 2020-2021 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.

Week of January 25-31

Great Options

Anton Khudobin - Dallas Stars: With Ben Bishop still sidelined due to injury, Khudobin remains the go-to goalie in Dallas. Last season his great performances helped Dallas go all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, but there were doubts about whether or not he would continue to remain consistent this year, as he is not a career starter. In Friday night’s season opener Khudobin silenced the critics, as he stopped 34 shots and picked up a shutout in a dominant 7-0 victory over the Nashville Predators. This upcoming week Dallas plays the Detroit Red Wings and the Carolina Hurricanes twice apiece, and thus he will have the opportunity to put up some good performances as he should be between the pipes three times.

 Philipp Grubauer - Colorado Avalanche: Grubauer made 36 saves in Friday’s 3- 2 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks and finished the night with a .947 save percentage. His season record currently sits at 3-1-0. He has a season save percentage of .931 and a GAA of 2.00 in four contests thus far. Other than in the season opener, Grubauer has put up good performances on a consistent basis. The divisional realignment in this season is also a great asset, as the Colorado Avalanche have an easier schedule during their regular season when compared to other Stanley Cup contenders. This upcoming week Grubauer and the Avalanche have two games with the San Jose Sharks followed by two games with the Minnesota Wild. As long as the Colorado offense performs up to the level they are expected to, Grubauer should have another great week.

Andrei Vasilevskiy - Tampa Bay Lightning: It would be a rare occurrence if Vasilevskiy was ever not in the great portion of this list, but the Tampa Bay netminder continues to be the most valuable goaltending asset on any fantasy team. Vasilevskiy has yet to lose this season, nor has he had a game in which his save percentage was below .900. He currently has a season save percentage of .941 and a GAA of 1.65 in three games played. This week the Lightning play the Carolina Hurricanes twice and the Nashville Predators once, all matchups where Vasilevskiy can continue to post great numbers.

Editor's Note: NBC's coverage of the 2020-21 NHL season continues with Sunday's matchup between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Coverage begins at 12:00 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Good Options

John Gibson - Anaheim Ducks: On Friday night Gibson put up a great performance against the dynamic offense of the Colorado Avalanche. Although the Ducks came out of the game with a 3-2 overtime loss, the result should not diminish the way Gibson played. Gibson made 29 saves during the course of the game and gave his team a fighting chance. In the third period he made a save on a penalty shot by Nathan MacKinnon, and in overtime made a spectacular save on an attempt by Gabriel Landeskog. Game outcomes aside, Gibson has been putting up pretty good performances so far this season. He has a record of 1-1-2 with a GAA of 2.26 and a season save percentage of .929 so far. If the rest of his team is able to step up their game and provide him with some support, Gibson could truly be a great goaltending asset.

Vitek Vanecek - Washington Capitals: The starting goaltender for Washington this season, Ilya Samsonov has tested positive for coronavirus and will be missing at least four games. This puts the spotlight on Vanecek, the 25-year-old goalie playing in his first NHL season. In three appearances, Vanecek has a record of 2-0-1, with a GAA of 2.90 and save percentage of .898. Friday night he came out of the game against the Buffalo Sabres with a shootout win, no doubt a confidence booster for the rookie. The Capitals have a tough schedule this week, especially since they will be playing without Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov, all who are on the COVID-19 list. They play the New York Islanders twice and the Boston Bruins once, but this is still a good opportunity for Vanecek to prove himself and he has to be considered in a daily fantasy situation.

Marc-Andre Fleury - Vegas Golden Knights: The Golden Knights are currently still pursuing a share rotation when it comes to goalies, with Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury playing two games apiece to kick off this season. Following Friday night where Lehner picked up a 5-2 loss against the Coyotes, Fleury is expected to have one game this week on Thursday against the St. Louis Blues. Fleury has yet to post a loss this year and has a save percentage of .933 and a GAA of 1.51 in two games played so far. He is in a situation where he is constantly trying to prove himself and when he is at the top of his game Fleury is an incredible asset. He is someone to keep a watch on as the Vegas schedule goes on.

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Bad Options

Tristan Jarry - Pittsburgh Penguins: Jarry picked up his first win of the year on Friday night, as the Penguins beat the New York Rangers in a shootout. Jarry allowed three goals on seven shots in the second period, but managed to come out of the game with a win. Jarry has had an underwhelming start to the year in his first two games. He allowed six goals in the first game of the year against the Philadelphia Flyers and finished that game with a .778 save percentage. Then in his second game he allowed three goals on six shots and was pulled after just over 11 minutes of play. So far the 25-year-old is just incredibly inconsistent and has showcased a lot of gaps in his performance. He is no longer the certain starter either, and until he gains some consistency it is a good idea to avoid him in your lineup.

Igor Shesterkin - New York Rangers: Before the season started Shesterkin was among the favorites to win the Calder, and some even said he was a dark horse in the Vezina race. However, his start to the year has been rather underwhelming. He is still looking for his first win and currently has a season GAA of 2.94 and a save percentage of .899. After his 12 games last season, in which Shesterkin performed phenomenally, there is no doubt that fantasy managers expected far more from the goalie to kick off this year. This upcoming week the Rangers play the Buffalo Sabres twice and the Pittsburgh Penguins once, which perhaps gives Shesterkin the opportunity to prove himself. However, until he puts up a momentum changing performance he can be considered a risk.

Thomas Greiss - Detroit Red Wings: On Friday night Greiss allowed three goals on a total of 27 shots and came out of the game with a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Greiss has yet to win a single game so far this season and his record sits at 0-3-0. Currently, Greiss has a GAA of 2.74 and a save percentage of .918 this season. The Blackhawks were an opponent that Red Wings could have beaten, based off their start to the year, but they picked up a huge loss as they prepare for a far more difficult week. The Red Wings play the Dallas Stars, who opened their season with a dominant 7-0 victory on Friday night, twice. These two games will make it hard for any Red Wings goalie to put up good numbers. They finish the week off with two games against the Florida Panthers.

Anna Dua

Anna Dua is from Virginia and grew up playing and coaching hockey. She is currently pursuing a B.A. in Sport Media at Ryerson University. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @annanoelledua.