The Goalie Report: Risers & Fallers

The Goalie Report: Risers & Fallers

This article is part of our The Goalie Report series.

It's playoff time for fantasy leagues, which means hard decisions need to be made. With the season almost over, does it make sense to dump that veteran goalie who's struggling down the stretch for the young prospect on a hot streak? Fantasy managers need to weigh the benefits of a much-needed win in a single week of a head-to-head matchup against the long-term value of a veteran goalie on a solid team.

To help you with those decisions, here's this week's Goalie Report.

Trending Up

Alex Stalock, Blackhawks (Since returning from injury: 3-2-0, .930 Sv%, 2.68 GAA)

Not only has Stalock been good - highlighted by a 35-save shutout against a red-hot Sens side that essentially ended their playoff hopes - he offers the potential to start a lot down the stretch. Petr Mrazek is out with a groin injury – again. And while he's expected to rejoin the team once they wrap up their road trip, who really knows if he'll be able to.

It necessitated a call-up for Anton Khudobin, who was dealt to the Hawks at the deadline and has yet to play a minute in the NHL this season. He last appeared for the Stars two years ago and didn't do too well with an .879 Sv%. And this season in the AHL, Khudokin ranked 39th with an .899. Given Stalock's track record, he'd be the goalie to stream for the Hawks.

Pheonix Copley and Joonas Korpisalo, Kings (Since the trade: 5-0-1, .940

It's playoff time for fantasy leagues, which means hard decisions need to be made. With the season almost over, does it make sense to dump that veteran goalie who's struggling down the stretch for the young prospect on a hot streak? Fantasy managers need to weigh the benefits of a much-needed win in a single week of a head-to-head matchup against the long-term value of a veteran goalie on a solid team.

To help you with those decisions, here's this week's Goalie Report.

Trending Up

Alex Stalock, Blackhawks (Since returning from injury: 3-2-0, .930 Sv%, 2.68 GAA)

Not only has Stalock been good - highlighted by a 35-save shutout against a red-hot Sens side that essentially ended their playoff hopes - he offers the potential to start a lot down the stretch. Petr Mrazek is out with a groin injury – again. And while he's expected to rejoin the team once they wrap up their road trip, who really knows if he'll be able to.

It necessitated a call-up for Anton Khudobin, who was dealt to the Hawks at the deadline and has yet to play a minute in the NHL this season. He last appeared for the Stars two years ago and didn't do too well with an .879 Sv%. And this season in the AHL, Khudokin ranked 39th with an .899. Given Stalock's track record, he'd be the goalie to stream for the Hawks.

Pheonix Copley and Joonas Korpisalo, Kings (Since the trade: 5-0-1, .940 Sv%, 1.65 GAA)

Keep in mind Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen finished with a .888 and .865 Sv% in October and a combined 6-5-0 record. Their improved goaltending has been Rob Blake's best move this season. And with Copley's win against the Blue Jackets on Thursday, he's proved he can still handle enough of the workload. Korpisalo is the more experienced netminder and it looked like he would take over more starts, but it's become a perfect 50-50 timeshare. Both should be rostered in all leagues with the Kings looking to lock up the Pacific Division title.

Trending Down

Vitek Vanecek, Devils (Past seven games: 4-3-0, .862 Sv%, 3.59 GAA)

Vanecek's numbers since Feb. 21 have been subpar, and that's including a 32-save shutout against the Canes. It's worth mentioning he's now reached career highs in both games played (43) and starts (40), and that the Caps decided to move on from him partly because he couldn't be a consistent No. 1. Fatigue may be a factor since the Devils have played at a high level all season, and they may have simply run out of gas.

Vanecek can be streaky so there's always a chance he can get back on track, and Sunday's head-to-head against the Lightning could be very telling about how much he can be trusted down the stretch. Akira Schmid has looked better of late, and might be worth a stash in deeper leagues with Vanecek potentially on a short leash.

Matt Murray, Maple Leafs (Since returning from injury: 1-2-0, .848 Sv%, 4.11 GAA)

Sheldon Keefe can pump Murray's tires all he wants and the Leafs' defense hasn't been exactly stout, but there's no hiding from the ugly numbers. Despite the loss, Ilya Samsonov only allowed one goal against the Avs and he's looked solid all season. I think the Leafs went with Murray for two straight starts just to see where he's at since returning from injury, and going forward they should stick with Samsonov as the starter. Murray might be worth a streaming play, and there's no hurry to stash him even in deeper leagues given his recent performance, injury history and current job status.

Pyotr Kochetkov, Hurricanes (Since call-up: 1-2-0, .879 Sv%, 2.67 GAA)

Frederik Andersen hasn't been sharp either, and I understand if Rod Brind'Amour wants to save Andersen and Antti Raanta for the playoffs, but Kochetkov hasn't been up to the task during his most recent call-up. His 19-save shutout against the Flyers didn't take a lot of work, and Carolina's stumbling given top center Sebastian Aho's dry spell and the season-ending injury to Andrei Svechnikov.

Kochetkov's stint with the Canes may not last long if his play doesn't improve. Andersen is their starter and will be for the postseason, so he'll probably be given the bulk of the action at some point. Raanta's injury isn't expected to be serious, which means Kochetkov will likely go back to the AHL once Raanta is healthy.

Mads Sogaard and Kevin Mandolese, Senators (Since March 6: 1-5-1, .848 Sv%, 4.70 GAA)

Ottawa was on a five-game roll and then they got shut out by the Hawks, which was pretty much it for their playoff aspirations. They lost four of their next five, and in each one gave up at least five goals. That's hard to overcome even when the Sens' offense is humming, and it's a tough schedule coming up with the Leafs, Penguins, Bruins, Lightning, Devils and Panthers. Sogaard's hot streak is over and Mandolese was always a dicey streaming option to begin with, which means Ottawa's goaltending should be avoided for the rest of the season.  

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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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