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Slappers and Bangers: Future Starting Goalies

Hey folks, welcome back to another installment of Slappers and Bangers; where we look at fantasy hockey through a multi-cat lens; specifically for limited keeper and dynasty leagues.

We haven’t spent much, if any time looking at goalies. Well, it’s time to change that. A wave of new goalies are taking the next step in their respective careers. Some are closer to prime time than others, but they are coming.

There’s one caveat, goalies are voodoo. There is no ‘sure’ thing. If there is, he’s on his own timeline – not yours. Consider Joseph Woll. Two years ago, he fell off most goalie prospect ranking lists, only to break out last year in the AHL. That breakout carried into the NHL. Comparatively, Sam Knight looked to be ready to steal the starting job from Sergei Bobrovsky two years ago. For reasons beyond hockey, Knight took time off and is now trying to get his career back on track in the AHL.

So here’s a look at the next wave of starting goalies and potential stars in NHL nets and fantasy hockey.

Fantasy Hockey: Future Starting Goalies

Lukas Dostal, G, Anaheim Ducks

He has worked himself into a timeshare this year with John Gibson. The numbers don’t look great, but it’s kind of expected when you’re playing behind a very young team sitting at the bottom of the standings. Keep in mind, that the Ducks have had four defencemen in their regular rotation under the age of 25 this year.

With John Gibson trade rumors continuing to swirl, it appears only a matter of time before Dostal becomes the number one goalie.

Only the Chicago Black Hawks, San Jose Sharks, and Columbus Blue Jackets have given up more goals this season. Yet, Dostal is hanging onto a .900 save percentage. At five on five, the save percentage rises to .908.

There’s also no immediate challenger in the pipeline. Calle Clang is still finding his way with the San Diego Gulls, and undrafted Tomas Suchanek is a couple of years away. That is if he can continue his early pro success.

If the Ducks do move John Gibson, expect them to bring in a veteran presence to shoulder the workload.

The Ducks are a team on the rise and every indication is that the franchise is looking at Dostal as their future number one.

Joel Hofer, G, St. Louis Blues

Hofer has taken another step this year. With the departure of Thomas Griess, he has stepped in as Jordan Binnington’s backup.

Like Gibson, trade rumors are swirling around Binnington. Even though Binnington holds a 2-1 start ratio over Hofer, Hofer has been the better goalie statistically, even if the difference is slight. His goals saved above average (GSAA) is 2.45 is almost identical to Binnington’s 2.42. The slight difference comes with his .909 save percentage to Binnington’s .905.

The difference becomes larger at five on five, where Hofer’s save percentage rises to .922, and Binnington’s only increases to .910.

Don’t be surprised to see Hofer begin to shoulder more of a 50-50 workload down the stretch if they don’t trade Binnington. If Binnington is a Blue at the start of 2024-25, expect Hofer to begin to take control of the net and push hard for the starting job. If Binnington is traded before then, expect a veteran to join the Blues in a similar fashion as Dostal above.

Pyotr Kochetkov, G, Carolina Hurricanes

It has been a trying year for goalies in Carolina. Only once Kochetkov began making timely saves did the Hurricanes go on a run.

With Freddy Andersen always on injured reserve and Antti Raanta’s inconsistent play, all eyes are on Kochetkov.

He hasn’t been great, but as of late, he has been good enough. At the end of the season, Raanta is an unrestricted free agent and Andersen has one year remaining. Don’t be surprised to see Carolina move on from Andersen and find a more reliable partner for Kochetkov.

Kochetkov has a -2.17 GSAA on the year, which is not inspiring, and holds a mediocre quality start ratio of 52% (12 of 23). There will be growing pains, which is evident with his .900 save percentage, which only increases marginally to .903 at five on five.

The Hurricanes should be a team that looks to acquire a goalie at the deadline. They’re in win-now mode and Kochetkov hasn’t shown he can shoulder that load, yet. Likely, they acquire a shorter-term option, like Jake Allen. Someone they can lean on this year and comfortably hand the reigns back to Kochetkov next year.

He’s going to receive every opportunity to nail down the starting job. It is really up to him.

Joey Daccord, G, Seattle Kraken

Daccord has done for the Kraken what the Hurricanes hoped Kochetkov would have done for them. The Kraken faced with an injury to their starter, Philip Grubaurer. Given a string of starts, Daccord has run with the opportunity. Grubauer, now healthy, finds himself in a backup role.

Of the four names listed, Daccord has the highest quality start rate, at 59%. He also has a 15.22 GSAA. In 32 starts, Daccord is cruising along with a cool .921 save percentage. It increases to .932 at five on five.

His performance isn’t exactly a fluke, Daccord has put up a .925 and .918 save percentage in the AHL the last two years.

Similar to Kochetkov in Carolina, Daccord has been thrown into the starting role due to injuries. Both Grubaurer and Chris Dreidger spent long stretches on injured reserve this year. Given the opportunity, Daccord has thrived.

Moving forward, it’s his net to lose.

That will do it for this week. Thanks for reading

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