Capped: Goalies who could see a bigger opportunity
Cam said it well in yesterday's Ramblings, as a white male I don't have the experience to be able to sympathize with the racial injustices in the United States. However, that doesn't mean I can't be an ally, and empathize with those who are being persecuted and living in fear. Take a minute before getting to the rest of the article, and join me in doing our part to make things better. Here is a link to what you can do to help right from your couch.
It is hard to discuss something so trivial after that, but I know that sports are an escape for some, and so we will continue on with the hockey related discussions from here.
Building off of coverage from the previous two weeks of productive and cheap skaters to look into for next season, this week we're going to look at the backbone of any team, the position of voodoo – goaltenders. Last season there were five goalies to hit 20 wins on a cap hit either at or under our $1-million threshold. All five of these goalies also had solid ratios. The season before, there were three goalies to hit those benchmarks, while no one managed it the year before that (2017-2018). In 2016-2017 we had an influx of future stud goalies, including Matt Murray, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Connor Hellebuyck, who all hit the mark. This year, it looks like we may have another wave of future stars upon us before there is a lull in the cheap and successful young goalies. Between Ilya Samsonov, Igor Shestyorkin, and Carter Hart, it appears that the future of goaltending is in good hands. However, with the stars already established, that makes it tough to mine for value in the cheap options.
Moving into next year, we expect the goalies I mentioned above to take over as dominant starters (if they haven't already), while the goalies such as Pavel Françouz, Tristan Jarry, and MacKenzie Blackwood are re-signed to new and more expensive contracts. To be able to hit 20 wins next season, goalies will likely need at least 30 starts, so in looking for future cheap production at the position, opportunity is one of the most important factors. As a result, we may be able to find a few names here that haven't had their opportunity yet, and therefore are flying a little under the radar.
Meanwhile, popular picks such as Alex Nedeljkovic, Ilya Sorokin, Kaapo Kahkonen still have a couple of roadblocks in the way, which may mean they still have another season or so before they can finally break through.
Here are my top five outlined in no particular order:
Alexandar Georgiev (G) – New York Rangers
Will be an RFA at the end of the current season.
There is still a lot of question marks around Georgiev moving towards next year, and the opportunity may sway towards Igor Shestyorkin as the starter in New York, however there is still plenty to like about the Bulgarian born netminder. Some situations we don't know how they are going to play out, but everyone just knows that there is going to be a move made. This is one of those cases. Whether Henrik Lundqvist moves on, or Georgiev is traded this summer, he should end up in line for a heavier backup workload, at around 30 starts. With an improved defence in front of him, 15-20 wins in 30 starts is more than reasonable. His value will be a little depressed as long as he's third on the depth chart for the Rangers, so take advantage of that now before it changes.
Joey Daccord (G) – Ottawa Senators
Will be an RFA at the end of the current season.
Of the Senators' three headed prospect goalie monster (Marcus Hogberg and Filip Gustavsson being the others), Daccord's AHL numbers lead by a country mile in comparison to the other two. The 23-year-old is the best bet to win the second goalie job in Ottawa moving into next season, and can back up journeyman Anders Nilsson. A backup job in Ottawa may not be the best place to find wins, but Daccord can still come out with 20 wins if he plays his way to 40 starts, and with a heavier shot volume expected, his save percentage could be comparable to Nilsson's league average numbers this past season.
Chris Driedger (G) – Florida Panthers
Cap Hit: $850,000 – UFA in 2021
This is perhaps my favourite bet on the list. He actually out-played Sergei Bobrovsky last year and would have had a much more obvious run with the starting gig if he hadn't gotten injured in the middle of the season. This year he is playing for a free-agent contract, and coach Quenneville should have things a little more settled in his second season (read: not having to dress eight defencemen for multiple games at a time). The best part about Driedger's success last season was his consistency – he put up zero really-bad starts in twelve games, while posting seven wins to only two regulation losses. If Dreidger gets 25-30 starts next season he could hit 20 wins. If he gets the 40 he deserves, then we could see 30 wins and some very fantasy relevant peripheral stats.
Cal Petersen (C) – Los Angeles Kings
Cap Hit: $858,333 – UFA in 2022
With two years remaining on his contract, this is the best option on the list to buy in on and sit on him while his stock slowly continues to improve. Petersen bested counterpart Jonathan Quick in nearly every single relevant category (as shown below). This trend will likely continue with Petersen seeing more and more starts as time goes on. Jack Campbell was moved out last year because the Kings knew Petersen was ready to take over the backup duties, but he may even be ready to take over a platoon role as a timeshare starter. Even on the LA Kings, with 40 starts Petersen should be able to claw to 20 wins, and if he can keep his peripherals anywhere near the 2.64 GAA and 0.922 save percentage he had this past season, he should provide a huge return on investment immediately and in the future.
Colin Delia (G) – Chicago Blackhawks
Cap Hit: $1,000,000 – UFA in 2022
This is the goaltender that I am least sure about. Delia came in to the 2018-2019 season with a lights-out four game stretch, and then got exposed by the NHL speed in the subsequent dozen games. Last year he put up solid numbers in the AHL, but with Robin Lehner coming in, he couldn't get a foot in the door. In the fall, he should break camp as one of Chicago's two goalies. This would likely be with either Corey Crawford (injury prone), or Malcom Subban (less talented). Either way, Delia should be in line for a fair chance to see at least half of the starts in the Blackhawks' net next year. With a calmer approach, some league average numbers on a middle of the pack team would be reasonable to expect. For those of you in need more of volume than percentages, this may be the best bet on the list.
In case you skipped the intro, here is a link to what you can do to help Black Lives Matter right from your couch.
Stay safe everyone, and if you have any article topics you are hoping to read about, give me a shout! You can find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean for questions, comments, or article requests.
Previous Capped articles:
No data at this moment.