With the trade deadline coming up in under a month, now is the time to be bearing down and sorting out where your roster needs help. Especially this season, for a lot of us that spot is in net. Whether the season started with Braden Holtby, Matt Murray, Sergei Bobrovsky, or another struggling starter as your anchor, there have been a lot of disappointing goalies dragging down fantasy squads this year. On the flip side, there have been a lot of goalies who have filled those voids, such as Tristan Jarry, Ilya Samsonov, and more recently, Elvis Merzlikins. All of them will have been scooped up by now, with expensive price tags, but here are a few names that may be viable options for teams with a budget or a lack of assets to spare.
*All numbers in this article are from before Monday’s games.
Cam Talbot (G) – Calgary Flames
Cap Hit: $2,750,000
Though David Rittich is seen as the heir apparent to the crease long term, Talbot has the same stake in the starting role this year as Rittich does.
Using the Goalie Compare Tool, we see that Rittich and Talbot have performed very similarly to this point in the season, though Rittich has seen the bulk of the starts. Talbot deserves to be starting more than every third start, and the contracts are the same as well. However, since Bill Peters was ousted as the Head Coach of the Flames (two months ago), these are the numbers for the two goalies. You tell me who the better one is.
Down the stretch, I expect Talbot to see a good share of starts and put up solid numbers as he gets into more of a groove. He’s valued as a backup (or at best a 1B option right now), so get in while his value is still depressed by the slow start to the season.
Robin Lehner (G) – Chicago Blackhawks
Cap Hit: $5,000,000
One of last year’s Vezina candidates isn’t getting the same level of love this season, however his individual numbers are close to just as good. Especially looking at the situation in Chicago as compared to with New York last season. Last year, Lehner put up a .930 save percentage, and a quality start percentage of 54.3%. This year, the Blackhawks’ goalie has a .922 save percentage, despite seeing seven more shots per game, and has somehow increased his quality start percentage to 62.1%. Lehner is flying under the radar, especially since he started to run with the starting gig around New Year’s. If Chicago can tighten things up a little in chasing the post-season, Lehner could win a lot of fantasy championships.
Juuse Saros (G) – Nashville Predators
Cap Hit: $1,500,000
Saros has generally been splitting starts with Pekka Rinne all season, with a slight edge to Rinne. Neither of their season long numbers have been great to this point in the year. Enough so, that it got coach Pierre Laviolette fired.
Though Rinne may have the track record and the contract, and despite having better numbers on the surface, Saros’ underlying numbers are actually beating out Rinne’s.
With new coach John Hynes needing to bring the team back into the playoff race, he will run the hot hand. That could very well be Saros. At his contract price, he will almost certainly be worth the investment.
James Reimer (G) – Carolina Hurricanes
Cap Hit: $3,400,000
James Reimer’s numbers are very good this season, but they are even better over the last month. Looking at his split stats for home vs away games, his numbers are even better. Reimer’s contract isn’t the greatest, but with his production to this point, it becomes very palatable. On the flip side of the contract, Reimer actually has the upper hand when it comes to salary over Mrazek’s $3.125 cap hit. In Toronto, there was too much pressure for Reimer, and not enough defensive structure, however in Carolina, Reimer seems to be fitting in excellently as a secondary option, with the ability to push for more. With Carolina having one of the lowest games played totals to this point in the year, he makes an excellent addition as a depth goalie moving forward.
If you have questions, comments, or article requests, you can find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean.
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