Ramblings – Thoughts on Goalies, Hoffman, Suter, Lafreniere, Byram, Kyrou, Puljujarvi and lots more (Jan 25)

Dobber

2021-01-25

I thought that this season would be a very difficult one to navigate through in fantasy hockey. I even considered punting one of my three dynasty/keeper leagues for this year and just build for a big 2021-22 (a friend of mine actually did/is doing that). Just a few games in and it's tougher than I thought, and I'm sure most of you are with me. With Covid protocols (Ovechkin? Really?) coming at you with no warning, and players moving in and out of the lineup seconds before the game, it's a lot to stay on top of. And you can be the king of staying on top of roster moves…and you'll still miss some. The Taxi Squad is just super-handy, and with the rebuilding teams especially – they're trying different things with their lineup. Dylan Cozens scratched? Lucas Wallmark? Ryan Graves?

*

I thought Ilya Sorokin would come in and make the same splash as Igor Shesterkin. So far, it would appear that I was wrong. I figured he would show enough this season that by next year he would split the starts equally with Semyon Varlamov, primarily spurred on by a Varlamov injury that seems to happen often. But Varlamov is stepping up his game when pressed – back-to-back shutouts in his first two starts, just one goal allowed in Start 3. While Sorokin coughs up five goals in his debut. On Sunday, Sorokin was solid. Give him time.

It's early, but my goalie predictions are off to a rocky start. This has been my strength over the years – really just evaluating talent and properly balancing that with opportunity as well as the talent of what is above him on the depth chart. Sorokin is in a good spot in terms of timing, with Varlamov's contract up after the 2022-23 season.

*

My other big call – Collin Delia – isn't doing so shit-hot either. Then again, all Chicago goaltenders began poorly. Delia was the first goalie on the team to get a second start, so that speaks to who the coach was leaning towards. But he blew it. So the Coach Jeremy Colliton turned to Kevin Lankinen…who gave up five goals. In the first four games, Chicago had given up (in order): five goals, five goals, five goals and five goals.

But Lankinen's five goals took an extra five minutes (overtime), so he got another start. And he won. He got the next start Sunday – and won again. Kevin Lankinen, 25, is now 2-0-1, with a 2.63 GAA and 0.909 SV%. The job is his for now. And with the Chicago offense figuring it out, he makes for a good add. I still lean Delia long-term, because I don't drastically shift my opinion based on two games, but Lankinen is absolutely the guy who will get most of the starts over the next 10 games. Last year in the AHL, Lankinen had seized the Rockford job over the first six weeks. But then Delia fantastic after mid-November while Lankinen stumbled. I suspect they'll be back and forth throughout the year. The only thing we can be s