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 31-November 6
Henrik Lundqvist-New York Rangers
Schedule: Tue vs. STL, Thu vs. EDM, Sat @ BOS, Sun vs. WPG
Lundqvist has a 4-3-0 record with a 2.45 goals-against-average and a .901 save percentage. Those stats are way below expectation for King Henrik, but I think he’s in the midst of turning things around. Friday’s 3-2 loss to Carolina was the first time Lundqvist had given up more than two goals in a game in five outings. This week, he’ll have some tough matchups against four good opponents, but three of those games will be played at MSG. I expect head coach Alain Vigneault to give Lundqvist three starts with backup Antti Raanta getting one of the weekend games. Lundqvist is locked in as a “great” option this week.
Devan Dubnyk-Minnesota Wild
Schedule: Tue vs. BUF, Sat @ COL
I realize that Dubnyk has only two potential games this week, but he’s too hot to ignore right now. Sometimes, it’s all about the quality of the starts, not the quantity. He’s pitched back-to-back shutouts against the Bruins and Sabres and he’s 4-0-1 in his last five outings. He also hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a game in each of his last four starts. He currently has a 1.67 goals-against-average and a .944 save percentage.
Carey Price-Montreal Canadiens
Schedule: Wed vs. VAN, Fri @ CBJ, Sat vs. PHI
Price missed most of last season because of a knee injury and sat out the first three games of this season because of an illness. Many fans across the league have been waiting for him to return and he hasn’t disappointed. Price is a perfect 4-0-0 with a sparkling 1.51 goals-against-average and a .947 save percentage since making his season debut. Look for Price to start against the Canucks on Wednesday and Philadelphia on Saturday, while Al Montoya will probably get Friday’s game in Columbus.
Petr Mrazek-Detroit Red Wings
Schedule: Wed @ PHI, Fri vs. WPG, Sun vs. EDM
The Wings are as hot as any team in the NHL right now, as they’ve won six games in a row. The play of their goaltenders has certainly helped get them to where they are right now. Mrazek has won four straight starts and he’s kept the opposition to two goals or less in three of those games. Expect Detroit’s starter to get the nod in two of his team’s three games this week. The 24-year-old has a 4-2-0 record with a 2.48 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage right now.
Corey Crawford- Chicago Blackhawks
Schedule: Tue vs. CGY, Thu vs. COL, Sat @ DAL, Sun vs. DAL
The Blackhawks are off to a modest 4-3-1 start this season, but their goaltender has shown signs of life over the last few games. Crawford has given up four goals in his last two games and his performance in Friday’s win over New Jersey was very solid. He’ll likely get three of the four starts. Scott Darling would probably get one of the two starts against the Dallas Stars over the weekend.
Cam Talbot-Edmonton Oilers
Schedule: Tue @ TOR, Thu @ NYR, Sat @ NYI, Sun @ DET
Not many people expected the Oilers to start the season as well as they have, but here they are in second place overall the league standings. Not only has Talbot played every game to this point, he’s also been very good in the process. All four of Edmonton’s games are on the road this week, but that won’t stop me from putting their starting goalie in the “good” category. He has a 7-1-0 record with a 2.17 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him start three of the four games.
Braden Holtby-Washington Capitals
Schedule: Tue @ WPG, Thu vs. WPG, Sat vs. FLA
Holtby’s been surprisingly average of late. He dropped his starts against the Rangers and Oilers last week and gave up seven goals in those two outings. He’ll like be rested for one of his team’s two games this weekend, which means he could be in line to play all three games next week. He has a 2-2-1 record with a 2.38 goals-against-average and a .910 save percentage so far this season. There’s no doubt that he’s off to a slow start, but don’t sell low. He’ll bounce back in the near future. If you’re trying to acquire him from a rival fantasy GM, this might be the right time. If you’re a Holtby owner, do not sell.
Tuukka Rask-Boston Bruins
Schedule: Tue @ FLA, Thu @ TB, Sat vs. NYR
The Bruins were a bit of a mess without Rask last week, but fantasy owners will be thankful knowing that he’s back and ready to start. The Bruins don’t have an easy schedule next week, which limits his fantasy appeal. I still think he’s good enough to be considered a “good” option. Assuming he’s fully healthy, don’t be surprised if he gets all three starts. The Bruins will also be getting David Backes back at some point during the upcoming week.
Avoid these Netminders
Pekka Rinne-Nashville Predators
Schedule: Tue @ COL, Thu @ ARZ, Sat vs. CAR
Rinne had a tough second half of last season and those struggles have continued into this year. The Predators haven’t been much better in front of him. As of right now, Rinne has a 1-3-1 record with a 3.25 goals-against-average and a .909 save percentage. He’ll likely get at least two of the starts this week and even though his opponents aren’t great, he’s not playing well enough to get the benefit of the doubt.
Louis Domingue-Arizona Coyotes
Schedule: Tue vs. SJ, Thu vs. NSH, Fri @ ANA
Domingue has taken over the starting job since Mike Smith was knocked out with an injury last week. In his absence, Domingue and the Coyotes haven’t exactly been lighting it up. He has a 1-4-0 record with a 4.74 goals-against-average and a .857 save percentage in five games this season. He’ll probably keep getting the majority of the starts until Smith comes back. He’ll get two starts this week, but don’t expect him to pick up a ton of victories along the way.
Cam Ward-Carolina Hurricanes
Schedule: Tue @ OTT, Sat @ NSH, Sun vs. NJ
It took Ward four games, but he finally collected his first win of the 2016-17 regular season. He made 28 saves in a 3-2 win over the Rangers on Friday night. It was a good performance, but I just don’t see his fantasy stock rising enough to make him a viable option in standard leagues. He currently owns a 1-2-1 record with a 3.52 goals-against-average and a .872 save percentage. He’s given up three goals or more in three of his four outings.
Frederik Andersen-Toronto Maple Leafs
Schedule: Tue vs. EDM, Thu @ BUF, Sat vs. VAN
The Leafs spent a first-round pick to get Andersen from Anaheim and then they paid him big money once they acquired him. Toronto’s been looking for some consistency in goal, but Andersen hasn’t provided them with that so far this season. His play hasn’t been very good and the young team in front of him has made their share of mistakes. The Leafs will be good in the future, it just won’t be this year. The young offensive talent on their roster is fantastic, they just make mistakes in their own end and that’s not a recipe for success for a goalie. Andersen has a 2-1-3 record and he’s allowed four goals or more in four of his six starts.