Ramblings: Elvis, Bratt, Vanecek, Rossi, Hellebuyck, Guenther and more … (Oct. 31)

Dobber

2022-10-31

Check out the new Goalie Post if you haven’t already. Set up email update notifications now (you'll have to do it again, with the new platform). Login using only an email address and one-time passcode (that's it!). Go to your settings, and check off the boxes of teams you want emailed updates on for starting goalie notifications. It's free! Emails are now working 100% (last week we fixed the issue that was sending out email notifications for the "tomorrow" games when we were just putting in our best guesses – no need to be notified of those, so we put in a fix that prevented that).

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In the fantasy world we typically think of the Blue Jackets as a lower-scoring team that is pretty frugal in terms of giving up goals against. When they added Johnny Hockey, it would be fair of you to think that this team had solved the former. So far it turns out that the former issue is still not really resolved – and now the goaltending and defense have been terrible. The Jackets have given up six or more goals in three of the last five games. Elvis Merzlikins was in net for two of them and his fantasy owners are getting worried. I have long been a fan of Merzlikins, early in his career even considering him one of the three best young goalies in the world in terms of talent and NHL-readiness (Igor Shesterkin and Ilya Sorokin the others). His SV% was 0.923 as a rookie in 2019-20, slipping to 0.916 and then 0.907 last year. So far this season he is at 0.863 after giving up all seven goals to New Jersey on Sunday. I must admit my confidence is shaken for this season. But long-term I'm still a backer. You see production nosedive like this for a season or two and then bounce back all the time. Once a goalie is strong for a sustained length of time, he has a bounceback year if his talent level is high and he gets enough of a leash. You saw it with Pekka Rinne, for example. Sergei Bobrovsky, too. Horrible seasons in decline, only to bounce back and win Vezinas. Merzlikins' contract ($5.4M AAV each of the next four years after this one). Without that contract, then I'd be mu