The Goalie Report: Risers & Fallers

The Goalie Report: Risers & Fallers

Goalies have been a carousel all season. Some established goalies remain on the bench and watch helplessly as their backups eat into their playing time, but for other teams, their situations seem to be heading back to some sense of normalcy.

Here's the goalie rundown this week.

Trending Up

Dan Vladar, Flames (Past four starts: 4-0-0, .918 Sv%, 2.25 GAA)

It's very telling that Darryl Sutter opted for Jacob Markstrom against the Blue Jackets last night and saved Vladar for the key Saturday night matchup against the Leafs. Vladar has now started five of their past seven games and won four straight, and it doesn't seem like he'll relinquish the starting job anytime soon with Markstrom suffering another loss (though he didn't get much goal support). There's no telling when Markstrom will be able to turn it around, but Vladar is widely available in most leagues and is worth at least a short-term hold.

Tristan Jarry, Penguins (Since Nov. 17: 8-0-1, .939 Sv%, 1.97 GAA)

Jarry had an excellent November, losing just once in regulation. The beginning of the month was a little shaky, but since Nov. 17 he's allowed three goals or more just three times. The Pens have rallied around star defenseman Kris Letang, who is still out indefinitely after suffering a stroke but has resumed skating already.

Jarry had a tough stretch through late October and early November, but overall, he's been very good this season. In a season in which the goalie position

Goalies have been a carousel all season. Some established goalies remain on the bench and watch helplessly as their backups eat into their playing time, but for other teams, their situations seem to be heading back to some sense of normalcy.

Here's the goalie rundown this week.

Trending Up

Dan Vladar, Flames (Past four starts: 4-0-0, .918 Sv%, 2.25 GAA)

It's very telling that Darryl Sutter opted for Jacob Markstrom against the Blue Jackets last night and saved Vladar for the key Saturday night matchup against the Leafs. Vladar has now started five of their past seven games and won four straight, and it doesn't seem like he'll relinquish the starting job anytime soon with Markstrom suffering another loss (though he didn't get much goal support). There's no telling when Markstrom will be able to turn it around, but Vladar is widely available in most leagues and is worth at least a short-term hold.

Tristan Jarry, Penguins (Since Nov. 17: 8-0-1, .939 Sv%, 1.97 GAA)

Jarry had an excellent November, losing just once in regulation. The beginning of the month was a little shaky, but since Nov. 17 he's allowed three goals or more just three times. The Pens have rallied around star defenseman Kris Letang, who is still out indefinitely after suffering a stroke but has resumed skating already.

Jarry had a tough stretch through late October and early November, but overall, he's been very good this season. In a season in which the goalie position has experienced more volatility than usual, Jarry's strong hold on the starting job and performance so far make him easily a top-10 fantasy goalie going forward.

Charlie Lindgren, Capitals (Past week: 3-1-0, .937 Sv%, 1.78 GAA)

Darcy Kuemper's upper-body injury is not considered serious, but he's missed the past three games, putting Lindgren in the starter's crease. He's filled in admirably, proving that the Caps' long-time gamble on him was the correct move. Lindgren's play also means the Caps don't have to rush Kuemper back, but note that the Caps have a back-to-back on Dec. 22-23, and not only will they be reluctant to start 27-year-old backup Hunter Shepard, who has zero NHL experience, it's also going to be interesting to see if Lindgren can handle such a big workload. Lindgren is worth streaming,

Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov, Maple Leafs (Past week combined: 2-0-1, .962 Sv%, 1.33 GAA)

Kyle Dubas' big gamble is paying off huge right now. Murray made 44 saves for a shutout win against the Stars and Samsonov made 29 saves for a shutout win against the Kings the following game. While this is an excellent result for the Leafs, this is also potentially shaping up to be another timeshare for fantasy managers to figure out. As long as Murray and Samsonov are both playing well, the Leafs will likely be committed to some kind of rotation. The smart money is still on Murray and managers who kept him on their rosters even upon Samsonov's return should continue to hold.

Eetu Makiniemi, Sharks (24 saves, 1 GA in first career start)

It's a minor footnote since Makiniemi will return to the AHL once James Reimer returns on Tuesday, but Makiniemi won his first NHL start against the Ducks in a 6-1 win. It's the second appearance by Makiniemi this season after he relieved Kaapo Kahkonen in a loss to the Canucks, and it's at least an encouraging sign for the Sharks that they have some goaltending depth in the minors. Should Reimer or Kahkonen be unavailable again, look for Makiniemi to get the call. Makiniemi's fantasy value is nil at the moment as the third-string option on a bad team, but he may get a chance to perhaps win a backup job next season as the Sharks begin their rebuild.

Trending Down

Jordan Binnington, Blues (Since Nov. 23: 0-6-0, .827 Sv%, 5.11 GAA)

Here we go again. Every once in a while, Binnington goes off the deep end, and this time even head coach Craig Berube publicly said his antics need to stop. In the meantime, the Blues will commit to Thomas Greiss, but you wonder how long Greiss can hold the fort before the Blues have to go back to Binnington. The Avalanche have a depleted roster, but it's still a key divisional matchup Saturday, and an ugly loss could mean Binnington's benching would be short-lived. Including last season, Greiss is sporting a 13-19-1/.893/3.67 line, which doesn't exactly breed a lot of confidence. He's worth a stream in the right matchup, but for now it's best to stay away from the Blues' goaltending situation.

Alexandar Georgiev and Pavel Francouz, Avalanche (Past week combined: 0-3-1, .899 Sv%, 3.46 GAA)

It's not exactly their goalies' fault. The Avs allowed 35 shots per game last week, sixth-highest in the league, and no team has been hit harder by injuries this season. With Nathan MacKinnon expected to miss approximately four weeks, the Avs have been forced to use a league-high 35 players this season. It's little wonder, then, that their defense has fallen apart, because they can't generate the same kind of offense to provide goal support and they don't have possession of the puck as often as they did before. It's inadvisable to dump Georgiev, but just note that the next few weeks are going to be really rough and that it's probably better to leave him on the bench unless it's an easy matchup.

Philipp Grubauer and Martin Jones, Kraken (Past week combined: 0-3-0, .863 Sv%, 3.74 GAA)

Now, this is more like what we expected, right? Whether Jones' play has fallen off after an unsustainable stretch of wins or the return of Grubauer has disrupted their team's rhythm, the Kraken have now allowed 13 goals in their past three games despite holding their opponents to fewer than 28 shots per game. This is déjà vu from last season, when the Kraken goalies couldn't stop pucks even if their lives depended upon it, and through seven appearances, Grubauer is somehow worse than he was last season.

The big change for the Kraken this season is their excellent goal support, which has also suddenly gone dry with four goals in the past three games. It's noteworthy that before their three-game losing streak, the Kraken had historically one of the best team shooting percentages in the cap era, and perhaps this regression was going to come sooner or later. Regardless, it's best to be cautious when it comes to dealing with the Kraken's goalies. Their upcoming schedule is pretty tough, as they'll face three Eastern Conference powerhouses on the road and then take on the Jets, Blues, Canucks, Flames and Oilers.  

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Chen
Jason won the 2021 FSWA Hockey Writer of the Year award, and was also a finalist on 2019. He joined RotoWire in 2013. Jason has also written for Yahoo Sports, CBS Sports, The Hockey News, The Hockey Hall of Fame's Legends Magazine, and Centre Ice Magazine.
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