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Fantasy goalies: Pavelec return can spark Jets

Hellebuyck remains goalie of future; top 30 rankings

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Fantasy Staff Writer

Ondrej Pavelec is back from injury, and the Winnipeg Jets appear to be giving him a chance to turn their season around.

Pavelec, who missed nearly three months with a knee injury, made 21 saves in a 2-1 shootout win against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. He followed that up with 27 saves in a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old's numbers have been mediocre this season (6-7-1, 2.64 goals-against average, .910 save percentage), but there's no question he is the guy the Jets want in net down the stretch. Pavelec (55 percent owned) went 9-2-1 in his final 12 decisions last season, including three straight shutouts to end the regular season, leading the Jets to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He entered the NHL in 2007-08 and relocated to Winnipeg from Atlanta, but his breakout season didn't come until 2014-15, when he posted career-bests in GAA (2.28), SV% (.920) and shutouts (five).

The Jets may be a longshot to return to the playoffs, but they're hoping for more late-season magic from Pavelec.

When Pavelec was recalled, rookie Connor Hellebuyck (15 percent owned; 13-11-1, 2.34 GAA, .918 SV%) was sent to Manitoba of the American Hockey League and subsequently dropped by many of his fantasy owners. Hellebuyck, 22, is tied for the rookie lead in wins (13 in 26 games) and posted a .937 even-strength SV%, tied for sixth among goalies with at least 20 games played this season.

Michael Hutchinson (nine percent owned), the third goalie in the Jets' equation, has started only four of Winnipeg's past 28 games. He had 21 wins last season as a rookie with solid peripherals (2.39 GAA, .914 SV%, 2 shutouts), but has taken a step back in each category (six wins, 2.87, .908, 0 SO).

The Jets have no need for all three goalies and Pavelec has one year left on his contract, so finding a suitor for him could be difficult. The most likely of the three to be traded is Hutchinson, a pending restricted free agent. Hellebuyck is Winnipeg's goalie of the future, so he's worth stashing on your bench in deeper formats in case the Jets trade Pavelec or Hutchinson leading up to the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline. In keeper formats, there's even more of a reason to be patient with Hellebuyck.

But, for the short term, definitely add Pavelec regardless of format since Hellebuyck will not be competing with him for the time being.

Video: WPG@CAR: Pavelec lays out to save Nestrasil's shot

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TRENDING UP

Thomas Greiss, New York Islanders

It's going to be difficult for Islanders coach Jack Capuano to keep Greiss out of the crease if he continues to play this well. The Islanders have three goalies, and Greiss and Jaroslav Halak are Nos. 1 and 1a with Jean-Francois Berube behind them. But it's been Greiss (46 percent owned) who has been steady all season. In 25 games (23 starts), he's 16-6-2 with a 2.18 GAA and a .931 SV%. He has won each of his past five starts and has allowed 11 goals in his past six appearances. (.929 SV%).

"I didn't really know much about him," Islanders forward Ryan Strome said after Greiss allowed one goal in a 4-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday. "When he came into training camp we were like, 'This guy is pretty good.' … He never gets too high or low or down on himself. He comes with a smile and works hard and the results have been great for him this year."

Halak (84 percent owned), who's had his share of injuries this season, is 13-12-4 with a 2.42 GAA and .914 SV% in 30 starts. He has allowed more than three goals in four of five starts. He also has a .914 even-strength save percentage compared to Greiss' .936 mark. Capuano noted the Islanders have a lot of hockey in a short time and will use all three goalies down the stretch, but Greiss has already tied his career high in games for a season and will surpass that total Thursday when he starts against the Washington Capitals.

TRENDING DOWN

Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings

Howard isn't among my top 30 goalie rankings, and won't be anytime soon with the way he is playing. He allowed four goals on 32 shots in a 4-1 loss to the Islanders on Monday and has allowed at least three goals in each of his past eight games. In his past nine outings, Howard (46 percent owned) is 0-5-3 with an .884 save percentage. He's 7-9-4 with a 2.94 GAA and a .903 SV%, and his last win was Dec. 3. He had at least 20 wins in each of the past six seasons, including three seasons of 35 or more wins, but his numbers are the worst of his career and he's stuck behind Vezina Trophy candidate Petr Mrazek (83 percent owned).

KEEP AN EYE ON

Carter Hutton, Nashville Predators

Pekka Rinne has been the guy in Nashville for the past eight seasons. Last season, he was a Vezina Trophy finalist despite missing time with a knee injury. But Rinne (98 percent owned) has 20 wins and 26 losses (regulation and overtime/shootout) this season after 23 losses all of last season. He has a low SV% (.902) and a high GAA (2.57), which has opened the door for Hutton.

Hutton is owned in four percent of leagues, so he's there for the taking in fantasy. He's started 10 games and is 6-2-2 with a 2.17 GAA and a .922 save percentage. Hutton is 3-0-1 in his past four starts and has started the past two games for Nashville, a surprising development. He allowed three goals on 32 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars on Monday but has two shutouts in his past four starts. Nashville needs all the points it can get in pursuit of the postseason, so it wouldn't be surprising if Hutton splits starts with Rinne in the near future.

Video: DAL@NSH: Hutton sprawls to rob Benn's late chances

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WORTH NOTING

-- Anders Lindback sustained a torn Achilles tendon and the Arizona Coyotes goalie will be out indefinitely. Niklas Treutle was recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League to be the backup to Louis Domingue (34 percent owned). Mike Smith (37 percent owned) has missed two months (core muscle surgery) but coach Dave Tippett said earlier this week he is not close to returning. Expect the Coyotes to be in the market for a goalie if they remain in the Western Conference playoff race.

-- Calgary Flames goalie Karri Ramo (24 percent owned) sustained a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. Joni Ortio (one percent owned) was recalled from Stockton of the AHL earlier this week. Ortio had some success last season but has not been good in five games this season (0-3-1, 4.13 GAA, .862 save percentage). Jonas Hiller (48 percent owned) should see the bulk of the starts.

-- The Ducks assigned Anton Khudobin (two percent owned) to San Diego of the AHL on Wednesday, meaning John Gibson (66 percent owned) is likely healed from the upper-body injury which sidelined him for a few games. Frederik Andersen is 9-1-1 since Jan. 13, the best record League-wide in that span, so get ready for a healthy competition between him and Gibson down the stretch.

-- Cam Ward (37 percent owned) of the Carolina Hurricanes missed their previous game with a knee injury, but traveled with Carolina for its game Thursday at the Ottawa Senators. Coach Bill Peters hadn't decided whether Ward or Eddie Lack (26 percent owned) would start.

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TOP 30 FANTASY GOALIES

These rankings indicate fantasy expectations for the rest of the season. Value is quantified by projected starts, peripheral category coverage, timeshare situations, team defenses, past performance and upside in standard Yahoo categories, which include wins, goals-against average (GAA), save percentage (SV%) and shutouts. These rankings reflect fantasy value, not necessarily the most talented goalies in order.

1. Braden Holtby, WSH
2. Petr Mrazek, DET (+2)
3. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
4. Corey Crawford, CHI (-2)
5. Jonathan Quick, LAK (+1)
6. Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT (+4)
7. Cory Schneider, NJD (-2)
8. Brian Elliott, STL
9. Ben Bishop, TBL (-2)
10. Martin Jones, SJS (+1)
11. Roberto Luongo, FLA (-2)
12. Thomas Greiss, NYI (NEW)
13. Tuukka Rask, BOS (-1)
14. Devan Dubnyk, MIN
15. Semyon Varlamov, COL (+3)
16. Jaroslav Halak, NYI (-1)
17. Frederik Andersen, ANA
18. Antti Niemi, DAL (+1)
19. Pekka Rinne, NSH (-3)
20. John Gibson, ANA (DTD)
21. Joonas Korpisalo, CBJ
22. Craig Anderson, OTT (+3)
23. Robin Lehner, BUF (-1)
24. Kari Lehtonen, DAL (NEW) 
25. Ondrej Pavelec, WPG (NEW)
26. Ben Scrivens, MTL (-3)
27. Ryan Miller, VAN
28. Louis Domingue, ARI (-2)
29. Eddie Lack, CAR (NEW) 
30. Steve Mason, PHI (-1)

Dropped out: James Reimer

Key injuries: Carey Price, Jake Allen, Sergei Bobrovsky, Cam Ward, Karri Ramo, Mike Smith

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