Robin Lehner is on the rise
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Robin Lehner, Golden Knights (since Dec. 1: 9-4-1, .903 Sv%, 2.60 GAA)
Maybe it just took Lehner a little longer to adjust to being the only Vegas starter since the departure of Marc-Andre Fleury, but in the last couple of months it has improved dramatically. From the start of the season until the end of November, Lehner was 9-8-0 with a 0.913 Sv% pedestrian, but the most glaring number was his -4.52 5v5 GSAA, which ranked 73rd out of 79 keepers, according to naturalstattrick. com.
Since Dec. 1 and into Tuesday’s game against the Sabers (another win, of course), Lehner’s 5v5 GSAA has improved to -0.37, ranking 55th out of 101 goaltenders. There’s still a long way to go before Lehner gets back to his Vezina-worthy form, but his game is on the rise and with Max Pacioretty back in the lineup and Alec Martinez returning sooner rather than later, Lehner is coming back. once towards the status of essential player. again.
Matt Murray, Senators (January totals: 4-1-2, 0.924 Sv%, 2.51 GAA)
When I wrote two weeks ago that Murray was playing much better since being called up and that he was a potential addition for managers to take risks to start against the Sabers on Jan. 25 and the Oilers on Jan. 31, I don’t m wasn’t expecting a 32-save shutout and a 37-save win. It was a surprising result, better than expected, as if owner Eugene Melnyk had managed to make a profit on the Sens at the end of the season. Murray is playing like he has something to prove, and the timing is pretty good because Ottawa can play the spoiler next week against some tough teams, and he’ll see plenty of action as the Sens play a game-high seven games. in the league, during these two weeks.
Pavel Francouz, Avalanche (7-1-0, .927 Sv%, 2.29 GAA)
Francouz was so good he forced a timeshare with Kuemper, and until Tuesday’s game against the Coyotes, the two had shared starts for nearly two weeks. The Avs may have started Kuemper because the Avs have an eight-day break until the next game on Feb. 10, and they think they’re trying to keep him as fresh as possible. Note that the Avs have back-to-back games on Feb. 15-16 and Feb. 25-26, but it certainly looks like Francouz is worth the lineup right now playing behind arguably the best team in the league.
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Honorable mention: John Gibson, Ducks; Frederik Andersen, Hurricanes; Darcy Kuemper, Avalanche; Jake Oettinger, Stars; Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen, wild; Juuse Saros, Predators; Igor Shesterkin, Rangers; James Reimer, Sharks; Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek, capitals
Jacob Markstrom, Flames (16-10-5, .923 Sv%, 2.20 GAA)
Markstrom has two more shutout wins in his last three games, giving him a career-high and season-leading seven this season. Maybe that’s just nitpicking, but it’s important to note that the statistic is somewhat misleading. When the Flames play well – as they do now – their forecheck prevents the opposition from creating scoring chances, and note that four of Markstrom’s shutouts were earned when the Flames limited their opponents to 25 shots or less; it’s happened only 28 times this season, and only four other goalies (Jarry, Shesterkin, Campbell, Samsonov) have managed to do it more than once. That’s masked how mediocre Markstrom was in January, as he has an .896 Sv% excluding shutout wins.
The Flames face Vegas and Toronto next week, which will be good matchups for Markstrom to see where his game really stands.
Tristan Jarry, Penguins (last 3 starts: 0-1-2, .899 Sv%, 3.24 GAA)
Jarry was poised to have a Vezina-worthy season, but even though he’s 13-4-2 since Dec. 1, the performances haven’t been particularly compelling, ranking 57th in the GSAA 5v5 , according to naturalstattrick.com. He finished January with eight wins, one more than his second-best November, but also note that for the second month in a row, Jarry finished with a lower save percentage (.907) and higher goals-against-average ( 2.78). He lost his third straight game on Tuesday to the Caps in a game the Pens definitely should have won.
The Pens are still a great team, but they need to find a more capable defender and find their midfield if they want to help Jarry and stay on top. Perhaps this is a regression to the mean for a guard many thought was the Pens’ weakest point at the start of the season? His status as a fantastic top-five goalkeeper is slipping, and now might not be a bad time to assess what managers can get for him should Jarry continue to regress.
Connor Hellebuyck, Jets (14-15-6, .910 Sv%, 2.90 GAA)
Hellebuyck makes the bad guys list for the second week in a row because, well, are we even sure the Jets are still a good team? The Flyers (!) handed the Jets their seventh loss in eight games, and Hellebuyck is now one game under .500 for the season. It wasn’t a good follow-up to a six-game losing streak against the division-rival Blues on Saturday, and while not all of the Jets’ misfortunes should be blamed on the goalie, their decline this season is a little alarming. After finishing in the top five at Vézina voting the past two seasons, it doesn’t look like Hellebuyck will get there for a third straight time. His real fantasy value lies in his workload, where he ranks third in the league in saves, but there’s just not much to it in terms of quality; even a timeshare goalkeeper but playing behind a better team might have more imagined value.
Dishonorable Mention: Karel Vejmelka, Coyotes; Braden Holtby, stars; Alex Nedeljkovic, Red Wings; Cayden Primeau and Samuel Montembeault, Canadians