Some people say I'm too optimistic, that I think every goalie will do amazing things if they simply get the chance. At times, this is true. It is my nature to see the best in pro-level goalies, so I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt. More often than not, they prove me right (Ray Emery, Brian Elliott, Al Montoya, Josh Harding, Kari Lehtonen).
But I can still clearly sense when things aren't quite right. If I read certain articles, learn of certain facts, or see certain goalies doing (or not doing) certain things, foreboding premonitions pierce my mind like a diamond-tipped nail. My intuition engages, I trust my instincts, I research, and then I have no problem warning poolies that storms approach.
I hate to say it, but I'm doubtful about a ton of goalies right now. So be warned – if I were you, I'd be very careful in how you manage these guys heading into the weekend. I'm not saying to drop or trade them or do anything drastic, I'm just saying that I don't really feel like they're in a situation to succeed.
I hated reading that James Reimer told his mom he has no idea when he's coming back and that he has a history of concussions. I hate how Steve Mason, after all this time, is still giving up early, untimely goals, and displaying a lack of readiness. I hate seeing Semyon Varlamov get absolutely no help here in Denver. I also can't handle trying to dissect the convoluted riddle known as Jack Capuano's goalie rotation. My list goes on and includes Corey Crawford, Jonas Hiller, and Craig Anderson, but I'll stop there for now.
In Toronto, the fans, the coach and the players have little or no confidence in Jonas Gustavsson. He's a man on an island, lacking his own confidence as well. This situation with him and Ben Scrivens is a slippery slope just waiting to derail. Brian Burke left himself exposed by not acquiring a veteran goalie over the summer, and he'll have to deal with this mess by eventually finding one. In my opinion, it's not a matter of if, but when.
That's where poolies should be preparing. Create a short-list of potential replacements like I did. Ready your free-agent queue, or stash a few on your roster, just in case the inevitable happens sooner than you think. If I had to choose a few, as I said on Tuesday, I'd consider Michael Leighton, Evgeni Nabokov or Scott Clemmensen.
What I dreaded most back in July about Varlamov's season is coming true. He has no support. J-S Giguere is a great mentor, but he's not a goalie coach, and he doesn't have the ability to go over video, or make minor tweaks to Varly's game. That's what he needs to play better right now, yet that's what he's missing.