Josh Hutchinson (@JustJoshin41)
We have two (!) #ZeroG to Victory graduates this week! Karel Vejmelka and Pyotr Kochetkov have both surpassed 50% rostered in Yahoo leagues. These two were not drafted in most leagues but in the last 30 days they were both in the top 10 goalies in KKUPFL scoring. I hope you picked them up as I suggested in previous articles because it’s going to be considerably tougher to acquire them moving forward.
Do the New York Islanders have a goaltending controversy? All everyone can talk about is how Ilya Sorokin has been ice cold. I think the Islanders are just crashing down to the earth again. They’ve been a surprisingly poor team in terms of expected goals allowed and shot attempts against this season but have coasted by with spectacular play from Sorokin. He’s had 3 poor games and all of a sudden the sky is falling. I think there will be negative regression for Sorokin but he’s not the reason the Islanders are losing. Semyon Varlamov has been the benefactor of more consistent playing time through this cold streak for Sorokin and he’s been very solid. He has a .916 save percentage on the season and has won 4 of his last 5 starts. It seemed like maybe we may be seeing even more of Varlamov in the near future as he stopped 35 of 37 shots against the Golden Knights last night in a fantastic showing but he unfortunately was forced to leave with an apparent injury. I don’t think there’s a goaltending controversy here but Varlamov’s stock is rising and if Sorokin continues to stumble, there may be some value in picking up Varlamov if this injury isn’t severe. This is definitely a situation to watch closely.
Speaking of goaltending controversies, everyone and their dog is talking about how Filip Gustavsson could be stealing the starter’s job from Marc-Andre Fleury in Minnesota. I’m not so sure. Gustavsson has been great. He’s won 5 straight starts and in 4 of those starts he’s had a save percentage of .941 or higher including a game where he had his first career NHL shutout. His total season save percentage is now up to .921. Fleury on the other hand has noticeably struggled. He has an .899 save percentage on the year which would be his worst season since his sophomore season when the Penguins were bottom feeders. In his last 2 starts however, he’s only allowed a total of 2 goals and has looked really solid. Minnesota is quietly one of the hottest teams in the league right now and they’ve been sharing the starts between Fleury and Gustavsson pretty evenly lately. I don’t think they would be inclined to drastically change things up. Fleury’s veteran status and history of success will give him a lot more leash. When the playoffs roll around, he’s the starter unless things really fall off the rails. Until then, he may just be sharing more of the net than we expected.
Jacob Markstrom has started 3 games in a row for the first time in almost a month. I guess that’s it for Dan Vladar right? Maybe not. Markstrom started the week off with a very strong performance in a shootout loss against Montreal stopping 37 of 38 shots. He followed it up with a slightly more shaky performance against the Canucks. In his last game, he gave up 5 goals on 24 shots against St. Louis for one of his worst performances of the season. I would be shocked if Vladar doesn’t get the start on Sunday against San Jose. The Flames obviously want Markstrom to be their starter but they’ve lost 5 straight and are not currently in a playoff spot. They can’t afford to lose and though the team as a whole has been playing poorly, they need to find consistency in net. If Vladar performs well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get another run.
Week 11 #ZeroG Power Rankings:
- Jake Allen (36% Rostered) – Montreal
- Charlie Lindgren (44%) – Washington
- Pheonix Copley (8%) – Los Angeles
- James Reimer (31%) – San Jose
- Spencer Martin (25%) – Vancouver
- Elvis Merzlikins (21%) – Columbus
- Dan Vladar (28%) – Calgary
- Philipp Grubauer (15%) – Seattle
- Lukas Dostal (1%) – Anaheim
- Semyon Varlamov (44%) – New York Islanders
Charlie Lindgren just won’t stop. He is now 6-1 in 7 starts since Darcy Kuemper went down with an injury and has a .938 save percentage over that span. Like I’ve said a million times, the timeline for Kuemper’s return remains unclear. He faced shots at practice on Thursday but has not been able to suit up for a game yet. Lindgren’s time as a volume starter may be limited, but I think his stellar play has earned him some starts even when Kuemper returns. Kuemper was on pace to start the most games of his career before he went down with this injury. Even though he was playing well, at some point you have to trust your backup to share the load on more than just the second night of back-to-backs. It seems like Lindgren has earned the trust of the Capitals to at least share some starts. Keep riding him for the time being, but also keep him on your radar when Kuemper comes back. He’ll still be a viable streamer in my opinion.
Is Pheonix Copley the answer in LA? Maybe not long term, but it seems like they think he might be for now. He’s started the last three games for the Kings and is 4-1 in 5 starts since being called up after Cal Petersen was sent down to Ontario. I was quick to write Copley off after he allowed 6 goals in the 3rd period against Buffalo this week, but at this point in the year, what goalie hasn’t been a victim of Tage Thompson and company? He has a combined .930 save percentage through his other 4 starts.
It’s clear that Todd McLellan is favoring Copley right now although I’m not sure he has another choice. Jonathan Quick has been one of the worst goalies in the league this year and Cal Petersen was so bad that he got put on waivers 2 months into the first year of a 3 year contract. I think Copley is a great pickup right now. LA’s strength of schedule is weak this week (they play Anaheim, Calgary and Arizona) and I think Copley will start 2 out of 3 games. Cal Petersen is, believe it or not, dominating the AHL (4-1 with a .947 save percentage in 5 games) so if he regains confidence and can transfer this success to the NHL level, he’ll likely be their starter moving forward. For now though, stream the Pheonix!
Anaheim Ducks goalies are a hard sell, I get it. But Lukas Dostal has been really solid since John Gibson has been out. Dostal has 3 starts and 4 appearances this year. Let’s eliminate his relief appearance against the Leafs. I watched this game and the Ducks’ defense was an absolute no show (what else is new?) and none of the goals were his fault in my opinion. In his 3 starts, he’s 2-1 with a .929 save percentage. In those 3 games, he made 104 saves. He’s also, believe it or not, had a .916 save percentage in each of his 3 seasons that he’s played in the AHL including this year.
Dostal has some pedigree. He was a 3rd round pick in 2018 and ranks an 8.0 in both fantasy upside and NHL certainty according to Dobber Prospects. He’s considered the goaltender of the future for Anaheim but he’s only 22 and I don’t think they want him to fully make the jump yet. Nonetheless he’s been solid. If you’re in a league that values save volume, Dostal may be a solid temporary streamer. The Ducks don’t really have another choice right now with Gibson and Stolarz out, so ride the kid while he’s hot.
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: