This week’s question is:
Which goaltender is in the biggest danger of losing his job as a starter?
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Michael: There are a couple of situations I think are worth noting. The goaltending problem in Philadelphia has Brian Elliott playing rather poorly and the Flyers are awaiting the return of Michal Neuvirth to see if he is able to handle the net. The goalie they really want to take over is their goalie of the future, Carter Hart but he has started quite slowly in the AHL and needs to gain some confidence. It’s not the right time to bring him up and ruin his confidence.
Another spot is Carolina. Their goalie of the future is Alex Nedeljkovic who they took 37th overall in the 2014 Draft. He has been strong in goal for Charlotte of the AHL with a 2.17 GAA in six games this season. The goaltending trio of the injured Scott Darling, Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney are not the caliber of goaltending you want, if your aspirations are the playoffs and the Stanley Cup.
Ryan: Jacob Markstrom got 57 of the Canucks starts last season, but Anders Nilsson has a real chance of wrestling the gig away from him in 2018-19. Both goalies have started in four games so far and Nilsson has averaged out to be the better option. They're going to be fighting over the job for a while yet, but I think it's fair to say that Markstrom has the least job security out of the list of established starters.
Brian: Carter Hutton's tenure as a starting goalie in the NHL could be a very short one. Signed to be the primary starter in Buffalo after very successful seasons as the backup in New York and St. Louis, Hutton has not been overly sharp in his six games thus far, posting a 3.27 GAA, a .906 SP and a 2-4 record. In contrast, talented backup Linus Ullmark, has won both of his starts allowing only one goal on 56 shots. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Ullmark steal the number one job from Hutton by Thanksgiving.
Corey: I agree with Ryan that Markstrom's job as the number one netminder is not secure. Nilsson has been the superior option early in the year.
Another team worth monitoring will be New Jersey. Cory Schneider lost his spot as the Devils' top goalie last year because of injury and some struggles, but he is healthy now and should rejoin the team soon following his AHL conditioning assignment. Keith Kinkaid had an outstanding start to 2018-19, but two straight losses will open the door for Schneider to seize back his role. He played very well in the playoffs last year and if he can rediscover that form then he should be able to wrestle back control of the crease.
Joey: Petr Mrazek is getting another opportunity to be a starting goalie in Carolina, but the results have been underwhelming so far. The Hurricanes liked Curtis McElhinney enough to claim him off waivers before the start of the season. In an ideal situation, McElhinney would be a backup goalie, but Mrazek's inconsistency could force the 'Canes to give the veteran a longer look. McElhinney has won three of four starts this season, while Mrazek has won one of four. The Hurricanes should probably go out and acquire a goalie at some point.