I have tried to check in on goalie usage a few times this season as things change more often than they have in the past. Most starting goalies don't play more than 60 games anymore and the typical sweet spot for playoff-bound teams is 50-55 games for the starter to make sure he is fresh enough at the end of the regular season. Exceptions this season are Connor Hellebuyck, Juuse Saros, Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko.
We checked in with Western teams in November and December.
When we last looked at Anaheim, Anthony Stolarz was beginning to see more starts in December and the split with John Gibson was 70/30 for Gibson at that point.
Since then Anaheim has played 24 games where Gibson started 15 games with a 6-7-2 record, a 90.1 save percentage and a minus 4.70 GSAA (goals saved above average).
Stolarz started eight games with a 3-5-0 record and a 90.4 save percentage and a minus 2.64 GSAA.Rookie Lukas Dostal got into three games and won one and lost one with a 92.9 save percentage and a 1.48 GSAA. The 21-year-old Dostal was a 3rd round pick for the Ducks in 2018 and is in his second year in the AHL. He scored a goal last week to go along with 51 saves in a 5-2 victory with San Diego.
Overall, Stolarz has started a career-high 16 games this season and until recently was in better form than Gibson, but he has come back to earth as you can see from above. Stolarz did win in overtime on Sunday night where he gave up two goals on 22 shots in a 3-2 win against San Jose.
Gibson has struggled at times this year, which is three years in a row of being a little below average. That has to be concerning for the Ducks as he is signed until the end of 2026-27 at $6.4 million AAV.
January/February split: 60/40 Gibson (Overall 68/22 Gibson)
In December, Scott Wedgewood saw about 66 percent of the starts for the Coyotes, but since then Karel Vejmelka has started 16 of Arizona's 26 games with a record of 6-10-0, a save percentage of 90.4 and a GSAA of minus 4.00. Wedgewood received eight starts and had a record of 4-4-0, a 92.7 save percentage and a GSAA of 4.95.
Overall, Vejmelka has played well at times but has yet to grab the brass ring completely over the journeyman Wedgewood, who has outplayed him recently and should see more games down the stretch but probably won't. The Coyotes might see Vejmelka as the solution for the next few seasons, so might elect to give him starts over Wedgewood just to give him the experience.
Vejmelka has 30 starts on the season with a record of 8-21-1, a save percentage of 90.3 and a GSAA of minus 6.15. Wedgewood has 24 starts with an 8-13-3 record and a 90.7 save percentage and a GSAA of minus 3.66.
January/February split: 64/36 Vejmelka (55/45 Vejmelka)
The split in December was 67/33 Markstrom and I expected it to be much the same as I'm always concerned with fatigue and Markstrom after seeing it over several seasons in Vancouver. The reality for January/Februa