Fantasy Hockey: Target Thomas Griess for a Goalie Boost
When playing Daily Fantasy Hockey, the first rule of thumb for me is to find the goaltender I want to start. Some nights are easier than others. Sure, we would like to be able to start a Braden Holtby or Corey Crawford each night, but that can be price prohibitive at times. On nights you don’t want to pay top price for a goaltender there are other options.
[caption id="attachment_104273" align="alignright" width="407"] Thomas Griess has been the hot hand for the Islanders of late.[/caption]
You can always start whomever is starting versus the Maple Leafs. They had very little talent to begin the season with and with their best scorer, James van Riemsdyk, still on the shelf with a foot injury, Dion Phaneuf recently traded, Leo Komarov about to be suspended (elbow to the head), and the team being better off losing to get a better shot in the draft lottery, this is a first look every night. You can also think about whomever will start for Anaheim each night. Neither Frederick Andersen nor John Gibson should be all that expensive and either one is worthy of a start. After a slow beginning to the season, the Ducks are now playing like the team we expected them to be. The bottom line is, if you’re not feeling comfortable with a top net minder and want to go heavy on scorers, there are other options for you to choose. Let’s see what’s going on in the goaltending world over the past week.
Could Thomas Greiss take over the starting job for the Islanders? He has started four of the past five games for the Islanders and his only loss occurred in overtime Thursday to Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals. His numbers on the season: 16 wins, 2.19 GAA, and a .930 save percentage are all much better than Jaroslav Halak, who has 13 wins, 2.42 GAA, and a .914 save percentage. The numbers say yes, but can the team admit that the backup goaltender is better than the high paid starter? Halak is only in the second year of a four-year $18 million contract. If you need a goaltender, you might want to take a look at Greiss.
The Coyotes have potentially lost backup goaltender Anders Lindback for the season with an Achilles injury. On its face, this injury doesn’t mean all that much, as Louis Domingue was clearly the starting backstop anyway; but it could push the team to see if Mike Smith can return a little quicker than first anticipated. Smith is recovering from core muscle surgery and will accompany the Coyotes on their upcoming five game road trip.
Jake Allen is participating in full practices for St. Louis and is more day to day now than week to week. The knee injury has healed but with Brian Elliott (1.99 GAA, .934 save percentage) playing so well, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the team decides to send Allen to the AHL on a conditioning stint before starting him in the crease for the big club. As an Allen owner, I find it unlikely that coach Ken Hitchcock will go back to Allen as the starter when he is deemed healthy enough to play.
Sergei Bobrovsky is skating with the team but still isn’t all that close to a return to action. He has suffered three separate groin injuries this season. With the Blue Jackets not having anything left to play for this season, it would still seem prudent for the team to play it cautious with their number one goaltender. What could be making matters easier for Columbus is the play of Joonas Korpisalo. He has only allowed 11 goals in his last six games, as both he and the team seemed to have found their stride late in the campaign.
Several goaltenders around the NHL returned from minor injuries this week. Cam Ward (leg) was healthy enough to back up Eddie Lack for Carolina on Thursday. John Gibson (upper body) started for Anaheim on Thursday and only allowed two goals on 21 shots in a victory over Vancouver. Jonathan Quick (knee) has only allowed four goals in his two starts this week for Los Angeles but has lost both games. Tough losses to say the least but at least he is back between the pipes.
Karri Ramo will be lost to the Flames for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. This shouldn’t be a huge loss for Fantasy owners, as Ramo and just about any Flames’ net minder have been terrible this season, statistically the worst in the NHL. This could be addition by subtraction.
You can feel free to follow me on Twitter, @georgekurtz
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