#ZeroG to Victory: Week 9 Power Rankings

Josh Hutchinson (@JustJoshin41)

Remember when I said it would take a lot for Philipp Grubauer to regain the starting job in Seattle because Martin Jones had been so good? Since I wrote that article, Jones has allowed 16 goals in 3 games. Luckily for Seattle, they also scored 22 goals in those 3 games and won all three. Nonetheless, Dave Hakstol’s trust in Jones has clearly been shaken as Grubauer was given 2 straight starts after Jones’ most recent 9-8 victory over LA. In Grubauer’s first 2 starts since his return from injury, he had a save percentage above .900 in each game. Unfortunately in his most recent start, he allowed 5 goals on 28 shots in a 5-1 loss to Florida on Saturday night. I don’t think he’s won the job back, but I think we may have a true tandem again. Jones is still 63% rostered in Yahoo leagues but I expect that number to drop especially if Grubauer keeps stealing starts.

Someone please remind me to stop trying to predict what Montreal is going to do with their goalies each week. I’ve been horribly wrong for two weeks in a row. Jake Allen started all three games in week 8 despite his recent struggles and Sam Montembeault’s strong play. He snapped his 5 game sub .900 save percentage streak on Thursday with an impressive 2-1 win over Calgary in which he made 45 saves on 46 shots. He followed that up by allowing 5 goals on 22 shots on Saturday (.773 save percentage). It seems like Martin St. Louis is loyal to Allen despite his play. The Habs have 3 games this week with one back-to-back so Montembeault should get at least one start, but my hopes of Allen handing the reigns over to him have been dashed.

Elvis Merzlikins has been activated off the IR. I think this may mean the end of a fun run for Joonas Korpisalo as a volume starter. Merzlikins has had a brutal start to the year but I imagine the Jackets are going to want to give him some playing time to find his game again. My guess is he’ll get the start on Sunday. Columbus has 4 games next week but the way Korpisalo and Merzlikins are deployed may depend on Sunday’s result. My best guess would be that they each get two starts but I’ve been wrong before. Keep an eye on those line rushes at Columbus morning skates this week. Both of these two will get you save volume at the very least.

Week 8 #ZeroG Power Rankings:

  1. Spencer Martin (25% Rostered) – Vancouver
  2. Karel Vejmelka (47%) – Arizona
  3. Pyotr Kochetkov (33%) – Carolina
  4. John Gibson (41%) – Anaheim
  5. Kaapo Kahkonen (10%) – San Jose
  6. Philipp Grubauer (20%) – Seattle
  7. Elvis Merzlikins (23%)/Joonas Korpisalo (9%) – Columbus
  8. Craig Anderson (16%) – Buffalo
  9. Dan Vladar (10%) – Calgary
  10. Charlie Lindgren (3%) – Washington

Pyotr Kochetkov

Alright, alright, alright! I’ll talk about Kochetkov. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it, Kochetkov has simply outplayed Antti Raanta. He has a save percentage of .909 or higher in each of his last 4 games. One of those games was in relief of Raanta. He’s in the top 10 in GSAx in the league so he’s performing well personally not just being propped up by strong team defense. It’s unclear when Frederik Andersen will be back but Kochetkov seems to be the goaltender of choice for Rod Brind’Amour right now. The Hurricanes only have two games this week but there’s a strong chance that Kochetkov could start both.

Dan Vladar

Is there a goaltending controversy in Calgary? Jacob Markstrom has been one of those high volume starters that were drafted high in most fantasy leagues that has really faltered this year. I wonder how you could reduce the risk of wasting high draft capital on situations like this (Hint: draft the #ZeroG way)? Markstrom has a save percentage below .900 in 8 out of his last 10 games. After his most recent loss against Montreal, he was quoted as saying, “I just suck at hockey right now.” That sounds like someone that’s struggling with confidence which usually isn’t a recipe for success, especially for goalies.

Dan Vladar has now started 4 of Calgary last 6 games. In his last 5 games, he has a .938 combined save percentage despite only going 2-2-1. It’s not as if they’re shielding him from tough competition either as the Flames played Boston, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Florida and Washington in those 5 games. He’s earned a shot but I’m not sure that he’ll get it. Regardless, Calgary has 4 games this week, including a back-to-back so he’ll get at least one start. It just seems based on Markstrom’s recent comments and play along with Vladar’s strong performance as of late that the tide may be turning a bit. Definitely a situation to keep an eye on.

Charlie Lindgren

I haven’t touched on Washington’s goaltending this year because Darcy Kuemper has been their guy. He’s started 20 of Washington’s 26 games and has posted really solid numbers despite the Capitals’ struggles. Unfortunately, in Saturday’s game against Calgary, Kuemper was removed from the game after Tyler Toffoli made contact with his head. He did not return and he’s been listed as day-to-day with an “upper body injury”.

It’s still very early and Kuemper will be re-evaluated Sunday morning, but if he isn’t able to play this week, Lindgren could get as many as 4 starts. Now Lindgren has been pretty inconsistent this season but is that because he’s a bad goalie or because he plays so rarely that he hasn’t found a rhythm? In fact, he hasn’t even had a run at all in his career. He’s played in only 37 NHL games across 7 seasons. Is there untapped potential here? Maybe. We may find out very soon. This conversation will be trivial if Kuemper ends up being ok which is why I have Lindgren so low on the rankings. In a hypothetical situation where Kuemper isn’t healthy enough to go at all this week, Lindgren may be number 1 on my list (likely 4 starts which is more than anyone else on this list). But because of the uncertainty, he sits in 10th. Watch for news on Kuemper this Sunday or during Washington’s morning skate on Monday.

If you have any questions or concerns about my power ranking choices, hit me up on Twitter @justjoshin41 or in the Apples & Ginos Discord Server. Happy streaming everyone!

Stats and player information gathered from:

  • moneypuck.com
  • hockey-reference.com
  • naturalstattrick.com

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