Happy Valentine’s day! Hopefully you love your team, but since that’s not always the case, hopefully we can help. This week we’re going over the crux position of your goaltending. By the end, we’re going for the roses and chocolates look.
Let’s get to this week’s targets.
Linus Ullmark – Buffalo Sabres
Cap Hit: $750,000 (His contract expires this summer, as an RFA.)
This has to be one of the least discussed goalie controversies in the league. Buffalo is finally climbing their way out of the basement after winning the first overall pick less than a year ago. They are only a few points out of a playoff spot, and their starting goalie may be available on the wire, or for pennies on the dollar in your league. It is not Carter Hutton anymore, as Ullmark has started five of the Sabres’ eight the all-star break, with two of Hutton’s starts coming on back-to-backs, generally playing the role of the backup. Hutton does have the larger and longer contract, however, a three-year deal with an AAV under $3 million, means that it is still a backup’s contract if the other goalie is playing better hockey.
On the season, Ullmark owns a 2.89 GAA, and a save percentage of .913%. Despite having a few rougher outings over the last few weeks, the whole Buffalo team has been in a slump, so we can’t really blame it all on the young goaltender. Aside from a few extra dates with the Maple Leafs to close out the season, you can’t really find schedules with more games against non-playoff bound teams than what the Sabres have through March and April.
I own him in a couple leagues this season and have been pleasantly surprised with the results thus far. A successful second half with a few wins, over 30 saves per start, and above average ratios is what every fantasy owner needs for cheap through the stretch run.
Martin Jones – San Jose Sharks
Cap Hit: $5,750,000 (With five years remaining after this summer.)
Jones is in his first year of a six-year deal that sees him earning the 12th highest AAV in the league this season for goaltenders. He is a curious case, as he is currently second in the league for wins, while owning a save percentage below the .900% mark. That kind of season just doesn’t happen, not in this era anyways. If the Sharks didn’t have a set of skaters as dominant as they are, or if backup Aaron Dell was doing half as well as he was last season, we would have seen fewer starts out of Jones this season, and he wouldn’t even be placating owners with his high win totals. However, his contract keeps getting him starts, and the Sharks keep winning games.
Some owners in leagues that count more than just wins, may be growing tired of the lackluster peripheral stats, and this may be the time to get in on one of the higher ceiling goalies in keeper leagues. He also has four wins in four starts since the all-star break, only allowing two goals in each (two of those games were difficult road matchups against the Flames and Jets).
Joonas Korpisalo – Columbus Blue Jackets
Cap Hit: $900,000 (His contract expires this summer, as an RFA.)
Everyone and their aunt knows Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin intend to test free agency this summer, so as we learned from the Islanders last summer, maybe the smart thing to do is to move them. There are a couple teams that may make sense as a short-term landing spot for Bobrovsky, most of them on the playoff bubble. If he is moved, then it creates quite the void, leaving a lot of starts for Korpisalo. It is possible that in a return for Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets would receive a goalie in turn, however, anyone coming back in that kind of deal would be of a lower caliber, and susceptible to losing quite a few more starts to the incumbent Korpisalo.
No matter what path the Blue Jackets choose to go, it seems like the 24-year-old backup is in line for more starts, and soon. For those where goaltending is scare, and needing to roll the dice on possible volume, this is a good place to start kicking the tires.
Jack Campbell – Los Angeles Kings
Cap Hit: $675,000 (With one year remaining after this summer.)
The former first round pick (11th overall) has taken a lot longer to play his first season of over 10 games than many would have imagined. Now that he is here, Campbell is showing some of the pedigree that launched him to such a lofty draft slot nine years ago.
Maybe a bit of a dice roll here, but there have been rumours of a possible Jonathan Quick trade. If he leaves town (or gets hurt again), Campbell and his 2.12 GAA would take over the main goaltending duties for the Kings. I have one deep dynasty league where I own Campbell and I am hoping for just that. Worst case scenario, he can provide you with excellent ratios in spot starts, all on a miniscule contract for the rest of this year and next.
Last plug for the Midseason Guide, check it out to set yourself up for the last (and most important) quarter of the season!
That caps off this week’s record article, thanks for reading. As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean.
Previous Capped articles:
Future Building Blocks as Trade Targets – Forwards