Chasing beautiful goals can be a painful exercise. At the beginning of the season, like now, it’s easy to feel like you made a bad choice investing in, say, Carter Hart, Ilya Samsonov, Tristan Jarry or Darcy Kuemper. That feeling may be true, but it’s too early to tell.

For comparison: Tuukka Rask led all goalies who played at least 1,000 minutes last season with an average of 4.39 fantasy points per 60 minutes (FPP60). Ben Bishop, Jordan Binnington and Andre Wasilewski all surpassed that mark in the 2018-19 season between 4.48 and 4.65 FPP60. In 2017-18, Curtis McElhinney, Pekka Rynn, Carter Hutton and Ryan Miller all met this threshold of 4.31 to 5.06 FPP60. And going back even further, only Sergei Bobrovsky broke that barrier in the 2016/17 season with an FPP60 of 4.55.

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In other words: You can expect the best goalie in the NHL to end up somewhere in the ballpark with a FPP60 of 4.50. Because it is so early, many guards destroy this mark and many others miss it by a long shot.

Anton Khudobin reaches a ridiculous 7.56 FPP60 to lead the league. The Carolina Hurricanes’ two goaltenders are very strong, Petr Mrazek with a 6.91 FPP60 in three games and James Reimer with a 6.20 for his only start. Marc-André Fleury matched Mrazek’s mark with three games played.

On the other end of the spectrum, Jarry managed to get you -1.38 FPP60, effectively costing your team fantasy points in all six of his outings. Lehner earned just 0.84 FPP60, while Kuemper earned just 1.35.

But as Reimer shows, one game can make a big difference. In his only appearance, Reimer stopped 31 of 33 shots in the win and scored 6.2 fantasy points. A quick and solid start here, and then some, can take any goalie from the bottom of that list to a respectable position. After all, we’re less than three full weeks into the season.

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However, these statistics are not meaningless in the context of their teams. Many organizations have more than one goalie to rely on, which limits the chances of goalies stabilizing their stats if they have to sit on the bench.

Vegas Golden Knights (Marc-Andre Fleury [6.91 FPP60] and Robin Lehner [0.84]) : The team has maintained a steady rotation so far, but Fleury has been nearly perfect in all three starts. Lehner will be better, but neither goalie has a chance to be one of the best fantastic goalies this season when the game is balanced. In these situations, you need to add another goalie to the mix for fantasy reasons. The best target is a highly efficient reinforcement like Jack Campbell or James Reimer. However, you can also just use the prediction calendar to aim for the favorable departure of some free agents. This week, for example, Andrei Vasilevskiy expects to get his first break when the Bolts play two games against the Detroit Red Wings. This means Curtis McElhinney (if he’s not under COVID protocol by then) or Christopher Gibson would deserve a start.

Minnesota Wild (Cam Talbot [3.40] and Kaapo Kahkonen [3.09]) : The Wild’s two goalkeepers have started useful games so far, with 24-year-old Kahkonen replacing 33-year-old Talbot who was injured last week. Kahkonen has played more minutes this season than Talbot. What looked like a Talbot show in the first three games quickly turned into something of a timeshare upon his return. Since both goalies scored solid FPP60s, they are a potential source of goaltrials in the future.

Vancouver Canucks (Braden Holtby [2.18] and Thatcher Demko [1.62]) : No goalie has been a great teammate. And both had their backs turned, beating the Ottawa Senators in three games last week. Excluding the Senators’ games in which the duo scored 28.6 fantasy points, they had only one good fantasy performance in their other seven games together – Holtby with 3.6 fantasy points in their season opener. Avoid this fold for now.

Fantasy Prediction: 1 to 7 February

We are about to use this season’s data, but not quite yet. The postponement – nine so far by my calculations – means that some teams (I’m looking at you, Dallas) haven’t played away or at home yet. And we really need more than one or two sample sets before we move on to the others. But we’re close. I used this season’s data for some of the meteorologist’s calculations.

Talk about outsourcing: There should be handy rods for the Golden Knights and Sharks players. While no further cancellations have been announced, the Golden Knights will be the first team to miss a single game due to viral protocols. All other postponements involved at least four parties. One could have expected the Golden Knights Sharks series to be delayed.

Command Gms Rating Mo
2/1
Mar
2/2
cf.
2/3
Do
2/4
Fr
2/5
Sa
2/6
dim.
2/7
4 3

7

OFF @LA

3

6

OFF @STL

2

5

SJ

3

6

SJ

3

6

OFF
3 6

6

OFF @STL

4

6

OFF OFF OFF @MIN

6

6

@MIN

6

6

4 7

10

@WSH

6

7

OFF @ PHI

4

7

OFF @ PHI

4

7

BUF

7

8

OFF
3 4

5

OFF @NYI

5

6

OFF @NYI

5

6

OFF @BOS

3

5

OFF
4 8

6

@ WPG

6

5

@ WPG

6

5

OFF @ WPG

6

5

OFF EDM

7

3

OFF
3 5

8

OFF @CHI

6

8

OFF @CHI

6

8

OFF OFF @CLS

4

8

3 2

5

OFF AUTOMOBILE

3

5

OFF AUTOMOBILE

3

5

OFF OFF @DAL

2

6

4 9

6

OFF MIN

8

5

OFF MIN

8

5

OFF @STL

6

5

@STL

6

5

3 7 OFF DAL

2

8

OFF DAL

2

8

OFF OFF AUTOMOBILE

3

7

3 2

8

OFF @CLS

2

8

OFF @CLS

2

8

OFF OFF CHI

4

8

3 OFF OFF @TB OFF @TB OFF @ FLA

4

3

2 6

2

OFF OTT

8

5

OFF OFF OFF @CGY

9

4

OFF
3 7

6

OFF OFF OFF NC

6

5

NC

6

5

OFF DET

9

7

3 5

4

OFF ANA

5

7

OFF OFF @VGS

5

4

OFF @VGS

5

4

4 7

5

OFF @COL

6

3

OFF @COL

6

3

OFF ARI

4

5

ARI

4

5

4 5

5

FROM

3

3

FROM

3

3

OFF OTT

4

5

OFF @OTT

4

5

OFF
3 5

4

@TB

3

3

OFF OFF @ FLA

6

5

@ FLA

6

5

OFF OFF
3 5

4

OFF @ PIT

4

5

OFF @ PIT

4

5

OFF NEW YORK

7

4

OFF
3 4

5

OFF BUF

5

6

OFF BUF

5

6

OFF PIT

4

4

OFF
3 6

3

PIT

6

3

OFF OFF WSH

6

4

OFF @NJ

7

4

OFF
3 6

4

OFF @EDM

6

3

OFF @MTL

6

6

OFF MTL

6

6

OFF
3 5

7

OFF OFF BOS

4

7

OFF BOS

4

7

OFF @WSH

6

8

4 9

9

@NYR

9

5

NJ

7

7

OFF NJ

7

7

OFF @NYI

7

7

OFF
4 7

8

VGS

5

4

OFF VGS

5

4

OFF @ANA

5

8

@ANA

5

8

OFF
4 7

8

OFF ARI

4

7

OFF ARI

4

7

OFF COL

6

5

COL

6

5

3 9

9

NC

9

8

OFF DET

10

9

OFF DET

10

9

OFF OFF
2 4

2

OFF OFF OFF FROM

7

3

OFF FROM

7

3

OFF
4 10

7

@MTL

9

7

@MTL

9

7

OFF @ TOR

8

4

OFF @ TOR

8

4

OFF
4 8

7

@SJ

7

6

OFF @SJ

7

6

OFF LA

7

5

OFF LA

7

5

3 4

5

BOS

4

5

OFF OFF @NYR

8

5

OFF OFF IHP

3

6

3 6

4

CGI

6

4

CGI

6

4

OFF CGI

6

4

OFF OFF OFF

For those who are not familiar with the synoptic table, here is some explanation: O (offense), which is on the left after each game, and D (defense), which is on the right, rankings of games are based on a scale of 1 (bad game) to 10 (great game) and are calculated using a formula that evaluates team statistics by season, home and away performance based on where the game is played, and the number of opponents in those categories. The Rankings column shows the cumulative rankings from 1 to 10 games this week for offense (O) and defense (D).

Instruction manual

Hurricanes in Carolina: We mentioned above the quality of play from the goalies, and the schedule looks solid with two games against the Blackhawks and one against the Blue Jackets. Mrazek is still available in about a third of ESPN leagues, but should be credited as soon as possible. In attack, Vincent Trocheck, Martin Nekas and Nino Niederreiter are the best to take part of the attack. Note that one of them, probably Necas, will be removed from the score lines when Teuvo Teravainen and others leave the COVID log.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning have a doubleheader in Detroit this week, as they play the Red Wings twice. The start was a bit slow for the defending champions, who certainly miss Nikita Koucherov. Without that, there’s not much depth to drive a corner for fantasy purposes. The only real focus among the available skaters is Alex Killorn, thanks to his role in the Higher Power Unit. Ondrej Palat has been added to too many leagues to be considered likely, and Blake Coleman hasn’t hit as much as he has in the past. It could be the story of the entire season with a team that is currently super-heavy due to Kucherov’s absence.

Montreal Canadian: The Hub will play four games against teams ranked 31st and 25th in terms of number of goals scored per game. It should be a good week for the on-call tournament team. There’s a lot of imaginary love here, and rightfully so for Tyler Toffoli and Nick Suzuki. This group has left the station, but there is still something to love. Jonathan Drouin seems to have found his elite game and is a nice long-term acquisition, while Corey Perry hits all the right notes as Joel Army’s replacement and is a nice short-term asset.

Player notes

Adam Larsson, D, Edmonton Oilers: Is this the new version of Larsson we see here? For comparison: He blocked 82 shots in 49 games last season and 128 shots in 82 complete games last season. He is currently blocking nearly 200 in a season of 56 games. He is also gaining speed to match his previous years of good shots.

2 Connected

Add to that the offensive power of sharing the ice with some of the best forwards in the world, and it’s enough to score 9.35 FPP60 or 2.67 fantastic points per game. Both brands are in the top group for production after nine games. In fact, he’s the best fantasy defender per minute (unless you count Nate Prosser’s 13 minutes, which is very impressive).

Nick Ritchie, F, Boston Bruins: It’s not necessarily worth adding, but the current pace of Ritchie’s production will inevitably slow down when David Pastrnak returns. But will things not go as well as we think? Ritchie has enjoyed life so far in the Bruins’ best power play unit. He scored three goals and two assists for five of his six points.

You can look at the Bruins’ current unit and expect Richie to get a bonus for Pastrnak’s return. But it’s actually David Krejci who is the underdog. The Bruins will use their Big Three and another wing to put on a game of top-notch performance. The last two seasons, it was Jake DeBrusk. It looks like Ritchie has the role now. Add.

Quick blowing

  • So far this season, seven players have taken to the ice and have yet to score a single fantasy point. Your minutes go from six to twenty. Morgan Frost leads the group with 20 minutes of play and no contributions, which counts as ESPN.com’s standard play. Next up is Jack Roslovic, who scored zero points in the first 14 minutes with the Blue Jackets.

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  • I’ll admit that Cinderella was thinking about Matt Murray in Ottawa this season. There are so many exciting young talents on this team that I thought maybe, just maybe, they could be strong enough for Murray to find a groove worthy of fantasy attention. Not by a long shot. He got -2.57 FPP60 in 341 minutes. For comparison: That’s enough to wipe out all of John Klingberg’s fantasy points this season.
  • Just behind Leon Draisaitl and just ahead of Connor McDavid at FPP60 this season is Tyler Motte. The Canucks third-row forward hits everything that moves and has scored 47 goals so far this season, plus five goals. Sure, the success rate drops (23.8% of shots), but with a base of blocked shots and blocked shots (14 good enough for an outfielder), it could have lasting value.
  • Every time I see the Avalanche score out of context, I feel remorse for talking to Cale Makar in the offseason. But seeing the statistics in context makes me feel better. Makar is an absolute monster of a defender leading the game, but he’s not even leading his own fantasy production team – despite his excellent debut. Makar will surpass Devon Toews to lead the Avs in fantasy points this season, but early results remind us that other defensemen have an advantage over Makar in the NHL because of more shots, shots and blocked shots in fantasy. He will be in the top 10, but not top 4 like he was when he was hired. But damn, he’s good, isn’t he?

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