Week three has come and gone, leaving a list of fallen goaltenders in its wake. Tuukka Rask, Cory Schneider, Malcolm Subban and Roberto Luongo were all injured this week. This is bad news for owners but good news for the managers looking for streamers and pickups to tide them over. Let’s look at who we have this week.
Fantasy Hockey Weekley: Goaltender Graveyard
Week 3 Review
The Lightning are heating up, as they picked up three wins this week to take control of the Eastern Conference. Andrei Vasilevski has been solid in net, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos are dominant, and Mikhail Sergachev has been able to make an early impact. Their top line of Stamkos, Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov has been doing most of the heavy lifting. Their second and third lines offer some great fantasy pickups as well in Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson.
After getting off to a slow start, Couture led the way for the San Jose Sharks and had a great third week. A two goal, two assist effort from Couture against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday was followed up with a hat trick on Saturday against the New York Islanders. Playing with Tomas Hertl may provide a spark to get both players going and offer some secondary scoring for San Jose. Couture has always been a bit of a streaky scorer when not injured, so look for him to continue heating up for the time being.
Just like everyone expected, Derek Dorsett leads the Vancouver Canucks in goal scoring after seven games. While it may say more about the Canucks scoring issues than it does Dorsett’s play, he was able to pot four goals and add a helper this week. Of course, he leads the team in hits and PIMs, but the points have a been a surprise early on. New head coach Travis Green has been giving Dorsett more ice time, averaging over 14 minutes a night now with penalty killing duties. He didn’t turn into a goal scorer over the off-season, but added ice time on an already impotent Canucks squad may propel him into Antoine Roussel, Andrew Shaw and Dustin Brown territory in banger leagues.
Subban was featured in last week’s article as a potential pick up as he replaced Marc-Andre Fleury in Vegas. He was great in three starts, making 88 saves for a .936 save percentage. However, he was forced to leave Saturday’s game due to what looked like a lower body injury. Wait until his evaluation before dropping him, but it didn’t look good Saturday night. It’s unfortunate for the Vegas Golden Knights, who still only have one loss on the season, largely due to strong goaltending. Oskar Dansk looks like the immediate replacement should Subban be sidelined for the next while.
Cory Schneider was placed on the injured reserve this week, opening the door for Keith Kinkaid to see some minutes for the New Jersey Devils. His only start of the week came against San Jose on Friday, where he allowed three goals on 33 shots in a 3-0 loss. The Devils have a full week off now, with their next game coming Friday against a tough Ottawa Senators squad. The time off will be good for Schneider, but there is a possibility it could be a more nagging injury. The Devils play the Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers after seeing Ottawa come to town Friday. With New Jersey playing the way they are, Kinkaid could be a great option for the short term.
Tuukka Rask was another goalie casualty this week after colliding with Anders Bjork in practice. He is still only day-to-day, but he didn’t look good being helped off the ice. Rask’s concussion symptoms will allow Anton Khudobin to see more of the net now. The Boston Bruins are still struggling to maintain any consistency, as they lost to the lowly Buffalo Sabres in overtime on Saturday. With some tough opponents coming up, Khudobin isn’t a great option but may be a necessary pickup with all of these injuries.
Watch Listers and Waiver Wire-ers
Ownership – 37% in Yahoo, 21% in ESPN
Sergachev had a great week, putting up three goals and three assists in four games. A highly touted rookie coming into this season, Sergachev broke out this week as Tampa’s offense exploded. Playing with veteran Anton Stralman should allow Sergachev to develop his offensive game and continue being involved. If you’re looking for some defensive depth, Sergachev looks like the pick of the week.
Ownership – 9% in Yahoo, 12% in ESPN
If Sergachev has already been picked up, Michael Del Zotto may be a nice little consolation prize. He has been quarter backing Vancouver’s (poor) power play and is about the only offensive option for Vancouver’s defense. But he has five assists so far with two coming on the power play. If you need to add a defenseman and can sacrifice the +/-, Del Zotto may be worth a pick up and give you a few points a week.
Ownership – 9% in Yahoo, 15% in ESPN
Milano leads the Columbus Blue Jackets with five goals so far this season. Interestingly, he has been dropped to the fourth line Saturday in favour of Boone Jenner, but he still found his name on the score sheet. He still has no assists yet, but if he continues to chip in he may force head coach John Tortorella to move him up in the lineup.
Ownership – 64% in Yahoo, 59% in ESPN
Dustin Brown has seen a career resurgence so far this season. He owes a lot of it to new coach John Stevens, who has loosened the reins on the Los Angeles Kings offense. He is also pairing Brown with Anze Kopitar, who is also having a much better season thus far. There is a pretty good chance Brown is already owned in your league, but you may be able to trade for him for relatively cheap. Riding shotgun to Anze Kopitar as he regains form could be enough for Dustin Brown to hit 20 goals and 20 assists for the first time in five years.
Ownership – 9% owned in Yahoo, 19% in ESPN
Chris Stewart is another early season injury benefactor, as he has been forced to move up the Minnesota Wild line up. With Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise all injured, Chris Stewart has led the way for Minnesota. He has six goals and two assists so far this year and could continue to produce until some of those offensive weapons return.
Ownership – 35 in Yahoo, 6% in ESPN
The Detroit Red Wings finally caved and signed Athanasiou to a contract Friday. The speedy and skilled winger will hopefully return sooner than later, but his season debut could be a week or so away yet. He had 29 points in 64 games last season. Athanasiou isn’t a sure fire bet by any means, but has shown flashes of great skill in the past. He should find himself on Detroit’s third line when he returns so it could be a while before he starts to produce. In deep leagues, Athanasious could be a great diamond in the rough, eventually.
There are some favourable double-header matchups this week, including the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles. New Jersey won’t see action until Friday, following that up with a game Saturday as well. You can expect to see some backups, so keep your eyes peeled for promising matchups.
A busy week for the Penguins should mean another night off for starter Matthew Murray. Antti Niemi is the rostered backup, who has played three games so far. With a .797 save percentage and 16 goals allowed over those three starts, he should be avoided, especially on the second night of back-to-backs. Those poor three starts may be enough to convince head coach Mike Sullivan to bring in third stringer Tristan Jarry.
With four games this week, Philipp Grubauer should see his fourth start of the season. Usually Grubauer is one of the favourite goaltending spot starts. However, he has struggled so far this year, dropping all three of his games so far. He has alos allowed three or more goals in each of those three losses. With the double headers coming against Calgary and Edmonton, he may be a bit of a gamble if you are looking to keep your stats up late in the week.
Anaheim also has four games this week with a double header going into the weekend. With the return for Ryan Getzlaf planned for Tuesday, Anaheim becomes a much better option for spot starting goalies. With Ryan Miller still out of the picture, expect Reto Berra to get the start in one of the back-to-backs, either Saturday or Sunday night.
And that closes out week three. Next week, we will watch and see if Tampa continues to produce and if the Kings really have turned the corner offensively. We will also look back on the ‘Week of the Backups’ and reevaluate their fantasy potential.
Main Photo: NEWARK, NJ – APRIL 08: Adam Pelech #50 of the New York Islanders scores at 2:48 of the second period against Keith Kinkaid #1 of the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on April 8, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)