Every Thursday during the season, Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy goaltenders in NHL.com's weekly segment: "In the Cage." From updated goalie rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Goldman will be your fantasy goalie expert all season long.
There was unexpected movement in the goalie market Wednesday as the Edmonton Oilers replaced Devan Dubnyk (traded to the Nashville Predators for Matt Hendricks) with Ben Scrivens (acquired from the Los Angeles Kings for a third-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft).
Dubnyk and Scrivens currently have low ownership in Yahoo Fantasy leagues, so let's take a closer look at their projected change in fantasy value and see if either is worth acquiring.
Devan Dubnyk: After posting a 3.36 goals-against average and .894 save percentage in 32 games, Dubnyk now has a chance to rejuvenate his career and earn a new contract in a better environment.
Dubnyk has been plagued by inconsistency behind a poor team this season. It started with a record of 0-4-1 record in his first five games and continued with a five-game losing streak from Nov. 7-15. He enters play Thursday with tied for the third-most losses (17) of any goaltender and the fourth-most goals-against (94).
Now that he has a clean slate to work with, one way to project Dubnyk's fantasy value in Nashville is to look at the percentage of Corsi events he experiences while logging 5-on-5 minutes. Edmonton's Corsi-for percentage with Dubnyk in goal was 44.8 percent, which was near the bottom of the League. Entering games Thursday, Nashville has a 48.6 Corsi-for percentage.
Another way to project Dubnyk's value in Nashville is by looking at the variance in penalty killing. Last season Dubnyk was one of the best in the League while shorthanded with a .907 save percentage behind the League's ninth-best penalty-killing unit (83.4 percent).
This season Dubnyk has an .893 save percentage when his team is shorthanded while playing behind the 21st-ranked PK unit (79.6 percent). His workload on the PK has been reduced -- he averaged 5.39 power-play shots-against against last season and is at 4.69 power-play shots-against this season -- but his save percentage has dropped.
Nashville is at 82.2 percent on the penalty kill and has allowed 193 power-play shots, which is fourth-best in the NHL.
Looking at team-oriented statistics is an easy way to prove an obvious point -- Nashville should provide Dubnyk with more support. But the biggest influencer to his fantasy value for the rest of the season will be the status of Pekka Rinne, who is working his way back from arthroscopic hip surgery to help repair a bacterial infection.
While Rinne was able to start doing weight-bearing exercises last week, there's still no timetable for his return so Nashville could reach a point where they decide to shut him down for the rest of the season; if that happens Dubnyk likely will be leaned on heavily.
This is important to note because Dubnyk has a history of playing well late in seasons. March and April are his best in terms of monthly production; in March he's 14-13-7 with a 2.50 GAA and .920 save percentage, and in April he's 9-10-1 with a 2.36 GAA and .928 save percentage. March is the only month where he has a winning record, including a mark of 6-2-1 with a .934 save percentage in 2011-12.
Dubnyk is owned in 37 percent of Yahoo Fantasy leagues so he's readily available. There's clearly nowhere for his value to go but up, so he might make a nice addition to your team. His arrival certainly will damage Marek Mazanec's fantasy value, but how the workload is split ultimately will depend on their performances.
Ben Scrivens: While Scrivens still has plenty of long-term upside, his projected fantasy value with Edmonton is not appealing.
The good news is that Scrivens has a chance to log some legitimate minutes. Behind Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles, that just wasn't going to happen. Furthermore, he's owned in 27 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues, so if he does have a few good games right off the bat he will be ripe for the picking.
With 51 NHL games on his resume, Scrivens doesn't have a large sample size. He is 18-19-6 with a 2.54 GAA and .917 save percentage in his career, but his seven wins, 1.97 GAA and .931 save percentage in 19 games with the Kings certainly brought some solid fantasy Value during Quick's injury.
It's unclear how the workload will be split between Scrivens and Ilya Bryzgalov, but both could end up being nothing more than stop-gaps as the Oilers likely will look to land a top-end experienced goalie for next season and beyond.
The one thing that Scrivens, Dubnyk and Bryzgalov have in common is that they all can become unrestricted free agents after the season. Whether that elevates someone's fantasy value to new heights remains to be seen, but if we had to choose just one we would be adding Dubnyk.
Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche -- After a 46-save effort in a 3-2 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, Varlamov is now 5-0-1 with a .933 save percentage in his past six games. Read more about Varlamov in Pete Jensen's latest fantasy spin.
Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks -- With back-to-back wins over the weekend Hiller has extended his winning streak to 14 games. In five January games he has a 1.97 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and one shutout.
Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals -- The 24-year-old has played three times since Dec. 10, and in each of those games he allowed five goals. Entering play Thursday his 3.08 GAA was 42nd of 48 eligible goalies.
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks -- Despite a .924 save percentage in five January games Crawford is 0-1-4 in that span. His most recent was Nov. 29 and he is 8-3-5 with a .902 save percentage at home.
Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers -- Allowing 14 goals in his past five games, Mason continues to cool down. He has a 3.03 GAA and .879 save percentage in five January games after he had an .899 save percentage in 11 games in December.
KEEP AN EYE ON ...
Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets -- With a new coach in Paul Maurice, Pavelec could see his fantasy value surge. He stopped 18 shots in a 5-1 win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday. It was his first win in seven games.
TOP 30 FANTASY GOALIES
These modified re-rankings are a projection of a goalie’s fantasy output for the entire season. Our rankings are based on volume categories like games played, wins, saves, and GAA and SP%. The plus or minus for each player is movement based on our most recent rankings from last week (NR means not ranked in previous rankings). It is important to note that our rankings reflect sheer fantasy value, not talent. A less-talented goalie could be ranked higher due to their team’s strong defense and offense.
1. Tuukka Rask, Bruins (same)
2. Carey Price, Canadiens (same)
3. Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins (same)
4. Antti Niemi, Sharks (same)
5. Jonas Hiller, Ducks (+1)
6. Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers (+1)
7. Semyon Varlamov, Avalanche (+2)
8. Ben Bishop, Lightning (NR)*
9. Steve Mason, Flyers (-1)
10. Ryan Miller, Sabres (+2)
11. Jaroslav Halak, Blues (+2)
12. Kari Lehtonen, Stars (-2)
13. Jonathan Bernier, Maple Leafs (-2)
14. Jonathan Quick, Kings (+3)
15. Corey Crawford, Blackhawks (same)
16. Martin Brodeur, Devils (same)
17. Mike Smith, Coyotes (-2)
18. Cory Schneider, Devils (+2)
19. Sergei Bobrovsky, Blue Jackets (+2)
20. Craig Anderson, Senators (+2)
21. Antti Raanta, Blackhawks (-2)
22. Jimmy Howard, Red Wings (+2)
23. Ben Scrivens, Oilers (-4)
24. Anton Khudobin, Hurricanes (+4)
25. Braden Holtby, Capitals (-2)
26. Ondrej Pavelec, Jets (+1)
27. James Reimer, Maple Leafs (-2)
28. Tim Thomas, Panthers (+2)
29. Philipp Grubauer, Capitals (NR)
30. Marek Mazanec, Predators (-1)
* Appeared on injured list last week
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