The Journey: Early Playoff Standouts (Ingram, Jarvis, Bouchard)

Benjamin Gehrels

2022-05-07

Welcome back to The Journey, where we follow hockey prospects and their paths to the NHL, providing fantasy predictions and analysis along the way. This week, we'll highlight a few rookies who are playing key roles with their teams so far in the 2022 playoffs.

(Stats do not include Saturday’s games.)

Connor Ingram

Ingram has jumped into the spotlight with his dominant performance in Nashville's loss to the Avalanche in Game 2. His strong positional play and ability to battle through traffic created what felt like a force field in front of the Predators' net: in between Nathan MacKinnon's goal with Colorado's first shot of the game and Cale Makar's overtime winner with their last, Ingram made 49 consecutive saves. As an Avalanche fan, I was nervous throughout that game. Nashville never had a ton of momentum but Ingram just had that "unbeatable" look to him, and that has to be exciting for anyone who owns him in fantasy.

Ingram has been a top goalie prospect for years (12th in Dobber's most recent prospect goalie ranking), but his stock has been down lately. When the Preds drafted Yaroslav Askarov 11th overall in 2020 and Juuse Saros took over the starting role from the legendary Pekke Rinne at the end of 2021, Ingram's window to even become the Preds' backup goalie seemed too narrow to invest in him for fantasy. There was a general sense that Ingram was solid but wasn't a threat to Saros and would soon be bumped by Askarov. To further muddy the waters, he voluntarily stepped away from hockey in January 2021 to join the Player Assistance Program to deal with symptoms related to his obsessive-compulsive disorder. At that point, his once-promising future seemed even more uncertain.

But now he's back, and the injury to Saros has thrust him onto the world's biggest stage against one of the league's top teams. In case you missed it, check out some of his highlights from Game 2:

Ingram looked consistently solid when facing down shooters one-on-one with a clear lane, even from dangerous areas like the hash marks. He was aggressive but not overly so, often coming out just past the edge of the blue paint to cut down the angles without compromisin