Wild West: Rising Goalies 2019

by chriskane on February 4, 2019


Before the break, and team’s bye weeks, we were looking at player time on ice and using it to get an idea of who was rising and falling on the depth chart. We have a final installment of that idea, but this week are going to touch on goalies.


We are using much the same process as previously. We are taking the last three weeks (as it included the All-Star Game and bye weeks) and comparing it to the month prior. We are looking for goalies who are getting in more games recently than they were before. The table below shows the top 6 (as there was a tie for 5th place) goalies who have been getting more time on ice. The method doesn’t entirely account for funky schedules (i.e. the number of back-to-backs, or rest days between games) that could affect a team’s choice in starter so make sure to keep an active eye on the deployment of any goalie on this list you are interested in.







































Juuse Saros has played in five of Nashville’s last eight games. His quality start and save percentage numbers are excellent and he has three wins over this time period. If he is somehow available in your league he is worth serious consideration.


Alex Stalock has actually played four of Minnesota’s last eight, but a little less convincing than Saros. He had a three game stretch from January 14th to 17th where he saw time in all three Minnesota games. He then sat out of four straight, before playing in Minnesota’s most recent game. His numbers look relatively miserable as well so I am in no hurry to add him.


Jordan Binnington has played in seven of St. Louis’s last ten games, and just hit four in a row. If you don’t know about him by now then you have already missed the boat. He seems to have been the starter, or at least the 1A for several weeks now, but he makes the list as prior to this stretch he hadn’t started more than two games consecutively.


Chad Johnson has played in three straight for Anaheim, but it is more by default than anything he accomplished. There have been 18 goals scored on Anaheim in those three games so he has been getting time in relief. It seems like the best idea to steer clear of Anaheim netminders for the moment.


Cam Ward and Mike Smith are both in similar boats. Both had the mantle of apparent starter taken from them earlier this season (though Ward only had it because of the injury to Corey Crawford). While it can’t really be said that they are making a comeback they have both played three of their team’s last six games – which is an improvement.


Potential Streaming Pickups

Now that the All-Star game and the bye weeks are behind up, there are a number of teams slated for four games. There are a lot of players to keep an eye on and here are two of them.


Carl Soderberg: Soderberg stepped on to a line with Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen in Colorado’s most recent game. They appear to be trying to spread the offense and it could benefit Soderberg mightily. Watch the line combos to make sure it sticks, but he has 15 shots and three points in his last four games regardless.


Jack Roslovic: He has ten shots and six points in his last four games, which is a good start. The majority of the points game in four point outburst Saturday night, so likely won’t be repeated next week. There seems to be a glimmer of hope that he is finally clicking with Bryan Little (5 points) on the second line at even strength and on the power play so it seems a good time to give him a spin.


Last article’s recommendation

Brandon Tanev: Tanev was recommended if your league counts hits and he delivered. He did not give you any points, but 22 hits on the week should suffice. He has four games again next week if you want to keep the gravy train running.


Bryan Little: Little’s week was excellent. Over four games he put up two goals, three assists, five shots and two power play points. Especially given the oddity of the schedule, a guy who put up five points could have been incredibly valuable to your team. Like Tanev, he has four games again next week if you want to keep running with him..


Drop or Not

Jason Zucker: Coming into the 2018-19 season many (myself included) were high on Zucker. He seemed to be checking all of the boxes for a good season. He has not exactly lived up to the hope. His point pace is his lowest in three seasons even while maintaining excellent linemates, and good power play and overall ice time.


So what gives? Well in this case the answer seems to be pretty straight forward. He is getting the same amount of ice time, the same amount of power play time (and percentage of the team’s total time). He is seeing most of his time with similar linemates, and is shooting at almost exactly the same rate as in 2017-18. The only numbers that appear to be different are the ones most likely to be impacted by luck.


His personal shooting percentage is down, his team’s five-on-five shooting percentage is down, and his IPP is down. The only caveat here is that they are down from two seasons (and from 2017-18 especially), where his linemate Eric Staal was a particularly and potentially unsustainably effective scorer. Generally Staal has been much cooler this season (though has been heating up recently) and that has to account for some of the change in Zucker’s puck luck.


All of the numbers seem to show that Zucker has some room to bounce back over the rest of the season. Overall I would guess a few bounces do start to go his way again, though I would be surprised if he gets all the way back up to 2017-18 scoring rates without some help from Staal. He is 50% owned in Yahoo, and is likely worth a shot if you have the space. He will at least help a bit in shots if nothing else. With only two points over his last seven games though he may quickly become a free agent in more leagues, and you may be safe to just add him to your watch list until something changes.


Thanks for reading.