Fantasy Hockey Goalie Report: The Hart Era Begins
Due to the holiday season, we’re in for a short week. There’s plenty of material to chew on from recent events though. The fantasy goalie guide will fill you in on everything that transpired and what to lookout for this week.
Fantasy Hockey Goalie Report
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Getting the Call
Carter Hart, PHI: The future is now in Philadelphia, as the 20-year-old 2016 second round pick finally made his NHL debut. The Flyers have been patient with Hart, as he was expected to spend more time developing in the AHL, where he posted a 3.05 GAA and .901 save percentage in 17 games this year. Injuries to Brian Elliott (lower body) and Anthony Stolarz (lower body) combined with lackluster goaltending from Michal Neuvirth and Alex Lyon fast-tracked Hart’s road to the NHL. He stopped 20 of 22 shots in his debut last Tuesday, defeating the Red Wings. He followed that up with an even stronger performance, saving 31 of 32 pucks on goal, helping his Flyers overcome the Predators. Hart is the new starter (the sixth goalie the Flyers have used this season) and has the net for the foreseeable future. Elliott isn’t close to returning yet, but even when he does, he could wind up as the backup should Hart continue his level of play.
Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford suffered a concussion last Sunday against the Sharks. There is currently no timeline for his return, but given his recent injury troubles, Chicago will surely allow him to take all the time he needs to fully recover. Crawford has struggled this year, winning just six of 23 games with a 3.28 GAA and .902 save percentage. Collin Delia has been called up to serve as Cam Ward’s backup. Ward will likely be the starter for a significant portion of Chicago’s remaining games, if not all of them.
New Jersey Devils: 2018 has not been kind to Cory Schneider, who was moved to injured reserve due to an abdominal strain. As a result of the games he’ll miss, Schneider will have gone an entire calendar year without winning a game. He’s 0-5-1 this season, with a staggering 4.66 GAA and .852 save percentage. Keith Kinkaid will continue as the starter, with MacKenzie Blackwood backing him up. Blackwood wasn’t bad in his first career start, stopping 36 of 38 shots in a loss to Columbus. Once Schneider is healthy, and his teammates stop scoring on their own net, he could rebound in the second half of the campaign. Or at the very least, pick up a win.
Anaheim Ducks: Ryan Miller is expected to miss five more weeks with a knee injury. He has four wins in 10 games, with a 2.72 GAA and .922 save percentage. The Ducks are used to relying heavily on John Gibson, who’s made an appearance in 30 of Anaheim’s 37 games. Chad Johnson was claimed off waivers to back him up. He got the nod last Tuesday, giving up two goals on 23 shots in a loss to the Rangers.
Returning to the Crease
Carolina Hurricanes: Curtis McElhinney was activated off injured reserve, and served as Petr Mrazek’s backup in Thursday’s loss to Detroit. Scott Darling was sent back down to Charlotte of the AHL to make room. The Hurricanes have a back-to-back scheduled for Saturday and Sunday before the holiday break, and we should see both McElhinney and Mrazek get a game.
St. Louis Blues: The Blues have struggled between the pipes all season, and they felt a change was needed, so Chad Johnson was waived. Jordan Binnington has been called up to back up Jake Allen. Binnington played his first game since January 14 2016, when he saw the ice for less than 13 minutes. He played a bit more this time around, 37:45 to be exact, after Allen got the hook in Sunday’s loss to the Flames. Allen should continue to get the lion’s share of the work, but Binnington could get more playing time should Allen continue to struggle.
NHL Teams with the Most Games
Vegas Golden Knights: They’ll begin by hosting Colorado, then heading off to visit Los Angeles and Arizona. Marc-Andre Fleury should receive two of those games, where he can pad his league-leading win total (20). Malcolm Subban will look to get his first win of the season, taking some of the burden off of Fleury.
Arizona Coyotes: We’re still awaiting a further update on Antti Raanta’s potential season-ending lower body injury. Darcy Kuemper and Adin Hill will continue to patrol the crease in the meantime. Kuemper hasn’t seen a victory since November 15, while Hill has come back down to earth, losing three of his past four games. The Coyotes will take on the Kings, Ducks, and Golden Knights this week.
With only four days for games to take place, 29 teams have just two games, but there’s some that include a back-to-back, giving way for a start from these team’s backup goaltenders: Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights.
For more great fantasy hockey talk, listen in on Chris Meaney and Neil Parker on the Fantrax Fantasy Hockey Podcast, as they hit on all the injuries, streamers, and recent trends you need to know to stay on top of the fantasy ice.
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