Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? You somehow made the fantasy playoffs, even though your goaltending is suspect. For this playoff edition of the Goalie Report, I’m going to do away with the regular format and go right ahead and list who’s worth an add, who to avoid, and a few desperation plays – if that’s how you roll.
These guys might be available in 12-team leagues, but anything deeper and who are we kidding? You’re likely stuck with what you’ve got, and if you’re lucky, one or more of the desperation plays will work out for you.
Playoff Pickups and Streamers
Arizona Coyotes – Mike Smith is back. And he could be your savior. He faces a lot of shots, and what do you know, he’s stopping almost all of them. In the 3 games since his return, Smith has a shutout and a .972 save percentage.
Chicago Blackhawks – Scott Darling should get a few extra starts down the stretch, so they can rest Crawford.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Bobrovsky’s back (and there’s gonna be trouble, hey la, hey la, Bobrovsky’s back).
Nashville Predators – There’s no way he’s on the wire, but it bears saying that Pekka Rinne has found his identity, folks. Pretty much to the day that I finally demoted him in the last goalie report, he has been playing his best hockey of the year. If you somehow managed to make it to the playoffs with Rinne as your main goalie (which I actually did, myself), it will feel a bit like an early Christmas to have the real deal back on your team all of a sudden.
New York Islanders – Well, I’m man enough to say I got it wrong with Rinne, above. Or perhaps he reads my column and it was just what he needed to finally get his ass in gear. Either way, it’s all good. Besides, here’s one that I did call before it actually became a thing: Thomas Greiss has taken over the starter reigns for the Isles, and while you’d like to see more Wins, he’s playing pretty well regardless.
St. Louis Blues – Jake Allen looks tired. Brian Elliot just came back after a 10 game absence and posted a shutout. I’d rush to the wire and pickup Elliot. Betcha he gets no less than 75% of the starts for the rest of the season.
Situations to avoid
Anaheim Ducks – It’s hard not to get caught in this trap. You’re damned if you’ve got John Gibson and damned if you’ve got Fredrik Andersen. Double damned if you’ve got both. Yes, we seem to have a committee again. The Ducks are playing well right now, so it doesn’t matter which one is playing. On any given night, you’re in good shape if you’ve got the correct starter. Problem is, it’ll cost you two roster spots to start one borderline elite goalie. Rolling with only one of these guys will help you, but it will also drive you completely insane.
Detroit Red Wings – Jimmy Howard has gotten the last two starts, both wins. Petr Mrazek had a shaky stretch that he seemed to have corrected, but then he got sick and sat out a couple. Are the Wings going to rest him up a bit for the playoffs? Oh probably. But maybe not. Who knows!? That’s why he’s on this list and not the other one.
Montreal Canadiens – Oh, I’m not gonna fall for the banana in the tailpipe again! Michael Condon and Ben Scrivens. You guys know to steer clear of this situation, right? Even though they keep tempting you with a great game here and there, avoid like you would another Beverly Hills Cop sequel.
New Jersey Devils – Keith Kinkaid has been manning the pipes (is that a thing?) since Schneider got injured, to the tune of an .873 save percentage. Let’s just say he’s no Cory Schneider. Or even John Schneider, for that matter, who could probably save just as many if you gave him some pads.
Ondrej Pavelec – The Jets keep rolling him out… and the other team keeps on rolling over him. I wouldn’t touch him right now.
Chad Johnson in Buffalo has been outplaying Robin Lehner lately. And surprise, Lehner is out for a few games. It seems that when healthy, Lehner will get the nod again, but Johnson is worth a desperation add in the meantime.
Joni Ortio – The Flames have given him 7 straight starts, so he’s the man now. He’ll get you Cam Ward numbers, basically; That is, neither good nor bad. But it’s good if you’re desperate for a goalie and he’s still available on your wire. Buffalo
Toronto’s goalie du jour – They are playing a very good game of musical goalies right now. They’ve got Garret Sparks, who played well against <ahem> Buffalo, and um, absolutely no one else. They called up some other guy and sent him down so fast that no one can remember his name. But Jonathan Bernier, on the other hand, has quietly strung together 3 great starts. The last time he did that, I went and picked up, only to have him let in his next 3 or 4 shots in succession. So yeah, he’s a bit of a tease.
Edmonton Oilers – Cam Talbot is playing well, and at times seems to be channelling the great Oilers goalie, Grant Fuhr, who famously would shut the door on the opposing team just as soon as his team had a 6-5 lead. Which in real life is a great thing. Fantasy, not so much. But, these Oilers are hard to pin down right now. You might get lucky with a spot start.
Michael Hutchinson – Call this a hunch, but why on Earth would the Jets not give him a few more starts right now? Pavelec is playing about as well as if he had lost a limb — say, his glove side arm. Hutchinson’s recent starts have been solid, though wins have been hard to come by.
As always, thanks for reading, and let me know your thoughts below!