Fantasy Hockey Goalies: Should you put your playoff hopes in Casey DeSmith?

·6 min read

By Jason Chen, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Goalies Trending Up

Carey Price, Canadiens (0-2-0, .918 Sv%, 2.02 GAA)

It's been a long way back for Price, and how do the Habs show him their appreciation?

By scoring zero goals in two games, that's how.

Despite this, Price has looked good in a short period, putting up the second-best stats among Habs goalies behind — *checks notes* — Andrew Hammond. While it's unclear how big Price's workload will be the rest of the season, that he was able to put in solid performances in two games over five nights is a good sign. He likely will get another start on the April 23-24 back-to-back and then perhaps the season finale. He may end the season without a win, but fantasy managers hunting for saves with minimal goals against should give him a look if he's still available.

Jack Campbell, Maple Leafs (April totals: 6-0-1, .906 Sv%, 2.95 GAA)

Campbell still looks a little shaky, but it's an encouraging sign the Leafs have been winning even without Auston Matthews. The major upside, however, is that Campbell is healthy and ready to be the No. 1 once again since Erik Kallgren's play has fallen off after providing a spark initially. It's unlikely Campbell will return to his early season form — he's never had a workload like this and he has a lengthy injury history — but fantasy managers should rest assured that he will get most of the starts down the stretch.

Scott Wedgewood, Stars (With Dallas: 3-0-2, .916 Sv%, 2.68 GAA)

Wedgewood started consecutive games at home against Tampa Bay and Minnesota, and came in relief for Jake Oettinger on Monday against the Canucks, bringing his total appearances to three in their last four games. It's a situation to monitor; Oettinger was thrust into the spotlight this season sooner than expected and performed admirably, but he's never faced a workload or pressure quite like this. The Stars are still in the playoff hunt, but there are subtle signs that they're leaning toward Wedgewood to play more if only to give Oettinger a break, but Wedgewood has also yet to lose in regulation for the Stars and Rick Bowness could opt to ride the hot hand. Wedgewood is worth rostering if you have the roster space; at least keep an eye on him in case you need a spot start.

Pyotr Kochetkov, Hurricanes (with AHL Chicago: 13-1-1, .921 Sv%, 2.09 GAA)

Kochetkov, a 2019 second-round pick, was assigned to the AHL after the conclusion of the KHL season, and he was brilliant right away, earning rookie of the month honors in March. An injury to Frederik Andersen, who's expected to be out for at least a week, has opened the door for Kochetkov, especially since Antti Raanta has fared poorly lately. The Canes have a weekend back-to-back, so there's a chance Kochetkov will play, but consider his call-up a signal to remember the name for the future. He's a sneaky gamble for a spot start in case fantasy managers need it.

Casey DeSmith, Penguins (April totals: 1-1-1, .921 Sv%, 2.60 GAA)

Tristan Jarry might miss the rest of the regular season, which thrusts DeSmith into the spotlight again. Remember, it was just two seasons ago where DeSmith upstaged Matt Murray, and Murray lasted just one more season before getting traded. Although Jarry has played more games, it's worth noting that DeSmith has outplayed him in April, and three of the remaining five games on the Pens' schedule are against non-playoff teams: Detroit, Philadelphia and Columbus.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Casey DeSmith could be the answer to Pittsburgh's goalie woes. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Mike Smith, Oilers (April totals: 6-0-0, .955 Sv%, 1.49 GAA)

It's Smith's show yet again in Edmonton, and he's played six games to Mikko Koskinen's two, both of which were losses. When Smith is on his game, he's still occasionally great, but that's really the problem — he's not consistent enough. At any time, Smith's play can fall off drastically, and the rest of the season definitely isn't a cakewalk with the Stars, Avs, Pens and rival Canucks coming up. Fantasy managers are riding a high with consecutive shutouts but just be wary the rest of the way.

Logan Thompson, Golden Knights (April totals: 2-1-0, .930 Sv%, 2.33 GAA)

The Knights haven't provided much goal support, so I'm not sure why Peter DeBoer wanted to throw Robin Lehner under the bus, but based on his most recent comments, Thompson should play. Lehner has been shaky all season and Thompson, their No. 3 to start the season, has really stood out with his strong play. The Knights might stubbornly stick with Lehner, but Thompson continues to be worth rostering just in case they smarten up. He's their best chance to win a playoff spot down the stretch and is available in most Yahoo leagues.

Honorable Mention: Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight, Panthers; Cam Talbot and Marc-Andre Fleury, Wild; Ilya Sorokin, Islanders; Igor Shesterkin, Rangers; Anton Forsberg, Senators; Ville Husso, Blues; Thatcher Demko, Canucks

Goalies Trending Down

Juuse Saros, Predators (April totals: 5-4-0, .913 Sv%, 2.69 GAA)

The Preds are fighting for a playoff spot, but after seeing Saros get lit up for four goals in one period starting both games of a back-to-back, you can't help but feel a little worried. The Preds have two more back-to-backs remaining on the schedule, all of which require travel in between. Saros can be streaky and hasn't been sharp in April, so fantasy managers should be cautious. Saros gives the Preds a chance to win every night, but his back-to-back performances haven't been good at all.

Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov, Capitals (Combined April totals: 6-2-0, .877 Sv%, 3.40 GAA)

They're lucky the Caps offense has really bailed them out, because other than wins, neither of the Caps' goalies have offered much this season. Washington's record is truly astonishing considering its below-average goaltending, and that included impressive wins over the Bruins and Avs. The schedule — other than a matchup against the Coyotes — is pretty tough the rest of the way, so fantasy managers shouldn't be looking at anything more than a few wins. Depending on the league settings, the poor peripherals might not be worthwhile.

Dishonorable Mention: Karel Vejmelka, Coyotes; Antti Raanta, Hurricanes; Kevin Lankinen and Collin Delia, Blackhawks; Sam Montembeault, Canadiens; Carter Hart and Martin Jones, Flyers; Connor Hellebuyck, Jets

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