Sure, Holtby and Quick are obvious choices to start every week. But what if you have two stud goalies and can only start one, like this poster on the Dobber Forum who has to choose between Cory Schneider and Devan Dubnyk each time both play on the same night? Or another Dobber Forum poster who has to pick two of three between Tuukka Rask, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Martin Jones? Then sometimes the choice isn’t so easy.
Your choices might be daily or weekly, but your team’s goaltending situation can be fluid. So we’re here to help you navigate the choices you need to make each week, not only with matchups but also a goalie’s recent play and the number of games he will likely start.
Corey Crawford, CHI (@PIT, vs. PIT, vs. BUF, vs. COL)
We know, you’ve seen Crawford’s name on here once or twice these past few weeks. That’s because he is in the process of playing a stretch of 14 of 21 games over December and early January at the United Center. Crawford has three home games again this week, so this is a great time to use him.
He might be worth exchanging after this week, as the Blackhawks will play 9 of 11 games on the road. Need proof of that? Crawford has a 1.58 goals-against average and .946 save percentage at home, but a much worse 3.23 goals-against average and .893 save percentage on the road.
Devan Dubnyk, MIN (@CBJ, vs. PHI, @DAL, vs. NJ)
Dubnyk was also in this article before the Christmas break because of three home games. But he’s worth mentioning again because the Wild have a soft schedule of games coming up. Three of the Wild’s four opponents currently sit in the bottom third of the league in offence. Dubnyk might start three games this week because the Wild play back-to-back games on Saturday against Dallas and Sunday against New Jersey, but it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see him start all four games either.
If Dubnyk is finally given a rest, then perhaps we finally see the seldom-used Niklas Backstrom.
Eddie Lack, CAR (@EDM, @VAN, vs. CBJ, @CBJ)
Overall, Lack’s season numbers (5-6-3, 2.96 GAA, .892 SV%) aren’t going to make you scramble to your waiver wire to check his availability. But he has not been tagged with a regulation loss in any of his last six games, winning four of them. Lack and the Hurricanes have a two-game road trip across the continent early in the week, but the Canes’ opponents for the week possess relatively soft offences.
Expect Lack to start Wednesday in Vancouver, along with one of the back-to-back games against Columbus. Lack should be inspired to prove something against his former team while Canucks’ fans show their love for their popular former goalie.
Henrik Lundqvist, NYR (vs. DAL, vs. WAS)
Maybe this is the week you should bench Lundqvist. Fresh off a disappointing 3-0 loss in Florida, the Rangers face the NHL’s top two teams, who also happen to own the league’s top two offences. The Rangers struggled during December, and Lundqvist struggled along with them (3.27 GAA, .892 SV% in December).
In a season where many goalies are having career years, Lundqvist has been merely average. Use him if you must, but don’t expect top-notch results.
Thomas Greiss, NYI (vs. WAS, @PHI)
Greiss has had a decent run during his stretch filling in for Jaroslav Halak, posting three wins last week. However, the Islanders play just two games this week, and Halak could return from an upper-body injury soon. In particular, the Eastern Conference-leading Capitals are not a team you want your goalie exposed to. Over his last two starts Greiss has allowed nine goals, including being pulled midway through the second period of Saturday’s game after allowing four goals to the Penguins.
Martin Jones, SJ (vs. DET, vs. TOR)
Jones was one of the NHL’s best goalies in October (1.74 GAA, .938 SV%). Since then his ratios have gradually gotten worse (2.45 GAA, .914 SV% in November; 3.06 GAA, .889 SV% in December). He has already played a career-high 31 games, so it’s possible that the workload of finally being an NHL starting goalie is catching up. So this week’s two-game schedule might give Jones a bit of a rest for the second half, particularly if Alex Stalock is given one of the two starts.
Either way, fantasy owners shouldn’t expect to get a whole lot out of Jones this week.
If you’re worried about starting your fantasy goalie when the real team is actually starting the other guy, then you need Goalie Post on your side.