By Neil Parker, RotoWire Hockey Writer
Special to Yahoo Sports
There has been tremendous volatility in the goalie position this season, and while that’s usually the case, it seems to be heightened through the first half of this year.
Breakout candidates Scott Darling, Antti Raanta and Robin Lehner have all been busts. Additionally, there have also been a number of reliable options who’ve seen their stock plummet considerably. We’re looking at you, Carey Price, Cam Talbot and Craig Anderson.
Now, Corey Crawford (illness) is projected to be out long term with vertigo-like symptoms, and Matt Murray isn’t with the Penguins following the passing of his father. Roberto Luongo and Semyon Varlamov are also both currently on injured reserve.
It’s been a rough go in the crease, and how owners approach the position in the second half of the season is important. Because high-end options have become so scarce, plucking one away in a trade will be difficult, but it’s not something to rule out.
The best course of action is likely to stream netminders in favorable matchups, target top backups from the waiver wire and pay attention to back-to-back sets and busy team schedules. Looking ahead a day or two is a good way to stay ahead of other desperate owners chasing goalie statistics.
Remember, the All-Star break begins Jan. 26, so it’s another lightly scheduled week.
Here’s the schedule for the next scoring period, Jan. 22-28:
One game: Capitals
Three games: Sabres, Flames, Blackhawks, Avalanche, Red Wings, Devils, Senators, Lightning, Maple Leafs
All other teams play two games.
Make sure to keep tabs on who is cut in your leagues, and also remember to check the handful of players previously covered who are listed below.
(Yahoo ownership rates as of Jan. 18.)
Micheal Ferland, CGY (38 percent): A recent heater (four tallies and five helpers through six contests) has Ferland up to 19 goals and 29 points for the campaign, and he remains locked in alongside Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau in all situations. Ferland’s 19.2 shooting percentage is unsustainable, but he’s also a candidate to help more in the PIM and hit columns.
Evgenii Dadonov, FLA (18 percent): Sporting a four-game point streak with two goals, three assists and 15 shots, Dadonov is clicking again alongside Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Hurberdeau. The trio has combined for an impressive 4.21 goals per 60 minutes this season. As long as Dadonov is receiving top-line duty and skating with the No. 1 power-play unit, he’s a solid asset.
Jesper Bratt, NJD (19 percent): Another top-line winger flying slightly under the radar, Bratt is currently skating in an intriguing assignment next to Nico Hischier and Taylor Hall. Bratt has flourished in the promoted role with a goal and four assists through his past five contests and has combined with Hall for 4.58 goals per 60 minutes this season.
Andreas Athanasiou, DET (8 percent): The speedster has four multi-point showings for four goals and four assists through his past six contests. The stretch has him up to a respectable 2.31 points per 60 minutes for the campaign, and if he continues to receive consistent looks in a top-six role and with the man advantage, he’s going to score. Watch out for his plus-minus rating, though.
Teuvo Teravainen, CAR (41 percent): With Sebastian Aho (concussion) out indefinitely, there’s potential for Teravainen to take a step forward offensively in his countryman’s absence. While three goals and 11 points through 17 games aren’t numbers to write home about, Teravainen remains on track to have the best offensive season of his career. Additionally, his ownership percentages are dipping, so he could be a potential upgrade.
Tyler Bertuzzi, DET (1 percent): Since his last mention in this space, Bertuzzi has collected a goal and four helpers through five games, including consecutive multi-point showings. He’s currently skating in a top-six role and receiving power-play looks, so he’s definitely worth a look in deeper settings. Additionally, he projects to chip in regularly in the PIM and hit columns.
Anthony Beauvillier, NYI (14 percent): Promoted to the second line with Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle because of a slew of injuries, Beauvillier’s fantasy stock is way up. The sophomore has notched four goals, a helper and 11 shots through his past four games. However, this could be a fleeting value boost, and he’s not only struggled to score consistently through his first two seasons, but he’s also been a regular healthy scratch.
Sami Vatanen, NJD (18 percent): Vatanen has marked the scoresheet in six of his past eight games while recording 21 shots, 13 blocks and 12 PIM. He’s also averaged a healthy 21:38 of ice time with 2:05 on the power play and started 57.6 percent of his five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone since joining the Devils.
Darnell Nurse, EDM (38 percent): The 22-year-old defenseman’s untapped offensive potential is beginning to translate to fantasy success of late. He’s recorded four goals, an assist and nine shots through his past four contests, and his 1.27 points 60 minutes at even strength rank 12th among all defenseman with at least 800 minutes this season. He’s likely to remain an inconsistent scorer moving forward, but sometimes everything just clicks, so a strong second half shouldn’t be ruled out.
Jamie Oleksiak, PIT (3 percent): A true flier, Oleksiak has played well in a depth role for the Penguins. He’s collected two goals, two assists, 18 shots, 26 PIM and 34 hits through 11 games, and if Pittsburgh puts together a second-half surge, he could be a nice cross-category contributor. Expectations should definitely be kept in check, but this also wouldn’t be the first time a player’s value skyrocketed after joining the Pens.
Nikita Zadorov, COL (8 percent): Dating back to mid-December, the hulking defenseman has collected eight assists, 14 PIM, 47 hits and a plus-9 rating through 12 contests. The offensive numbers are likely unsustainable, but Zadrov’s peripheral contributions can provide value in deeper settings. The Russian is clearly benefitting from his extended role with Tyson Barrie (hand) out of the lineup.
Carter Hutton, STL (47 percent): With a win in four of his past five starts and a 9-3-1 record, .942 save percentage and 1.78 GAA for the campaign, Hutton appears to have taken over the No. 1 gig in St. Louis for the immediate future. Still, the career backup likely doesn’t offer long-term stability, as Jake Allen has the better track record and a higher salary. Allen’s not going away.
Tristan Jarry, PIT (39 percent): The rookie’s won nine of 16 starts with a respectable .919 save percentage and 2.44 GAA, and he’s also now started seven of the past nine games. With Matt Murray’s (personal) return timeline unknown, Jarry projects to see plenty of action for the short term.
Jonathan Bernier, COL (41 percent): With six consecutive wins (.962 save percentage and 1.27 GAA during the surge), Bernier’s rising to the occasion with Semyon Varlamov (groin) out of action. Varlamov’s expected to face shots next week and return following the All-Star break. Bernier’s current form is obviously unsustainable, but there’s plenty of room for negative regression before it’s a concern, and it could be a few more weeks before Varlamov solidifies himself again in the Colorado crease.
Jeff Glass, CHI (12 percent): Corey Crawford is looking at a long-term absence due to vertigo-like symptoms, so Glass and Anton Forsberg project to split starts moving forward. There’s a chance one of them takes the No. 1 job and runs with it, and there’s been a little more fantasy buzz surrounding Forsberg. Turning to Glass instead could prove to be the better move. He has much more experience, and while neither have proven anything at the NHL level, Glass’ resume suggests there’s late-bloomer potential.
Players to consider from past columns: Kyle Connor, Nico Hischier, Danton Heinen, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Spooner, Anthony Duclair, Josh Anderson, Mikko Koivu, Mathieu Perreault, Pierre-Luc Dubois, David Backes, Joel Armia, Alexander Kerfoot, Elias Lindholm, Calle Jarnkrok, Erik Johnson, Shea Theodore, Josh Manson, Hampus Lindholm, Mike Matheson, Jeff Petry, Samuel Girard, Antti Raanta, James Reimer, Anton Forsberg, Aaron Dell, Jacob Markstrom, Philipp Grubauer, Malcolm Subban.