Goalie Post Ramblings Jan 21, 2015

Jan 21st 2015, 10:30am EST

By Jason Banks

We are nearing the all-star break, leading into deadline transactions and we are starting to see interesting situations develop.

Ryan Miller is trucking along, at an elite pace since late-December. Having compiled seven wins and only three losses in 10 games with only 14 goals allowed in those games. At almost 35 years old he is yet to have a drastic fall off and I don't see his game collapsing inward for another year or two with a possibility of going to 40.

Also rocking along is Braden Holtby. I personally do not like him, but I can't argue his numbers and his pace for over 70 games this season. Scary thing is Washington could add to the roster to make it better, including a better backup which would hurt Holtby's starting rate, but overall keep him fresh.

Joni Ortio has possibly opened himself a spot on the Calgary roster with his play since being recalled. Jonas Hiller isn't going anywhere and will not lose the crease, but Karri Ramo is likely being pushed out with Arizona being a possible destination. Ortio has been a much better goalie in his second stint in North America and is a talent that we seen long ago, just had work to do cleaning up his efficiency in the crease. Finnish goalies there is something about them…

Since I've mentioned Arizona above, I might as well discuss my musings on this situations… It's weird! Good job on clearing space, and getting good value on a goalie that was signed from the scrap heap. In case you haven't heard, Mike Lee was the recall from the ECHL, an undeserving recall and is only a place holder. Lee has had limited success and experience since leaving NCAA three years ago. The optimal recall would have been Mark Visentin but instead it was announced his season is over due to his ankle injury suffered in the pre-season (this would be a good time to acquire him as I feel he will be a backup next year). Mike McKenna is the recall that would have made sense for the organization as he is tearing up the AHL and has NHL experience leaving room for Lee and Louis Domingue to develop but it seems as if they will see if any goaltender is placed on waivers in the next few days. Before the Deadline I see them making a deal for a netminder, maybe a pair if they find a deal for Mike Smith as they start to sell off for next year. This team is rather attractive in the long term future, I wouldn't be sad owning Mark Visentin or whoever they bring in that is currently in their prime.

Pekka Rinne is out for a few weeks in his \'glory recovery\' season. The duties have been handed to Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec. You may remember Mazanec from last season filling in, which is an argument for recall, he was being outplayed by Magnus Hellberg who will now start pretty much all the games for Milwaukee in the AHL until Mazanec is returned.

Jim Howard is also out week to week for a little while, if anything this makes Detroit better in the net with Petr Mrazek taking the reins and running on a high octane mixture. Mrazek is prone to the odd O.M.G. game, which afforded Tom McCollum his first NHL win. As far as McCollum goes… please… just don't. The only goalie prospects to hold in Detroit are Mrazek or Jake Paterson and it's a bit early for Paterson. McCollum is fighting for his career on a year to year basis, I expect to see him in Europe before long.

One of the two super subs, Martin Jones is day to day (Cam Talbot being the other), up comes J.F. Berube who is 19-7 this year in the AHL. Berube will do exactly what Jones does and has a similar career setup. Berube would not actually be a bad prospect to own as a 3rd stringer going forward if you are in deep pools.

While talking LA, Jon Quick… Ouch! Quick has not won since January 1st and if you look month to month he is dropping off. I do expect a rebound back to normalcy, but if you can start someone else toll he has a few good games. People want analytics, only start him on Tuesdays and Thursdays when he has SV% above .930 but not Saturdays where he is .890. He has a below 50% chance of winning against teams in his division, but he posts respectable numbers. Also get him in games when he is at home and avoid him on the road. Hopefully that cuts down on questions on the message board on who to start.

Anton Khudobin is a good speculative play going forward as he has only given up eight goals in his last seven appearances. He is gaining leash in Carolina and a chip will need to fall soon be it him or Cam Ward. Khudobin is very fun to watch and has paid his dues and is ready to get a starting gig while hitting his prime of 28 years old.

Evgeni Nabokov looks done, his last start was miserable. With Andrei Vasilevskiy hitting full stride over here, it is time to waive the former elite goaltender. I'm waiting every day to see this transaction as the only thing I can think of is that they are waiting till after the all-star season.

I'm sure everyone seen the video of Reto Berra scoring in the AHL last weekend, he could be on the chopping block as Pat Roy has no use for him and is quite content with Cal Pickard. Berra is too god for the AHL but barely capable in the NHL… Likely heads back to Europe next year or year after.

I try and plug up an comers in the AHL few others are watching, today I'll give you Matt Murray. He is duplicating everything AHL All-Star, Jeff Zatkoff is doing but under the radar. He is also held down by the hype of Tristan Jarry. Matt Murray will find himself in the NHL one day but not likely for the Penguins, at 6-4 he is a whole bunch of goalie at 21 years old and is acclimating himself very well to major Pro.

Should Chicago chose to deal a goalie, they need not worry about insurance or depth as Mike Leighton is chompin\' at the bit to get another NHL sniff. Leighton has just reeled off 7 straight appearances in the AHL with two goals against or less. In January his GAA is 1.08 and .971 SV% in 5 games.

Richard Bachman pulled off a pair of shutouts after my last rambling, and has only lost a trio of games all season in regulation. Similar to the above mentioned, Bachman is sporting a 1.11 and .961% since New Year's Eve passed by.

Looking at Junior prospects, I didn't mention Linus Soderstrom in the World Juniors as I wasn't overly impressed with the Islanders draftee, but he is having a solid statistical season in Sweden bouncing around a few teams on loans, he is a decent prospect to hold if you're looking with a long term view as the soon to be Brooklyn franchise isn't fully on stable ground in net. There also was a former Soderstrom in that franchise, Tommy who wasn't half bad… no relation as far as I know, Justin Goldman hasn't mentioned it anyway.

Mason MacDonald in the Q is a lesser known Flame prospect who has won 7 of his last 10 decisions and only given up 23 goals in last 11 appearances. He is a projectable 6-4, 200 pounder that still has room to grow. Keep your eyes out, 3-6 years down the road.

Lucas Peressini is a name to watch for at the draft or late in the season as he is having a very solid OHL season for the Kingston Frontenacs. He is currently 19 years old but will turn 20 in March can be signed or drafted in the off season. He is currently 2nd best OHL goaltender in GAA at 2.33 and is listed at 2 inches above the 6 foot mark and 188 pounds. Already Detroit has been sniffing around as he was invited to camp this year.

KHL Notes:

Curtis Sanford has apparently notified Lokomotiv Yaroslavl that he is likely to retire at the end of this season, he was and still is a solid goaltender who never fully caught on in the NHL and was never given respect for what he could do. Sanford is likely to get a coaching gig somewhere in the NHL in the next couple years.

Former Calgary prospect Kevin Lalande is having another awesome year in the KHL after being screwed out of North America. Normally he is in the business of making absolutely horrible teams, semi respectable like Dinamo Minsk, Vityaz, Syracuse Crunch and Belleville Bulls. This season he is riding 1B on a well-known CSKA Moskva team where over 16 games he has a 1.20 GAA and .940 SV%. We see Rob Zepp doing what he is in his return to North America, Lalande is a candidate to return and be notable too. Last season the Belarus/Canadian duel citizen (Kingston, Ontario native), appeared in the World Cup for Belarus and posted a 1.25 GAA and .938 SV% in 5 games as the 2nd best goalie in the tourney to Sergei Bobrovsky.

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Throwback Thursday
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Nov 14th 2014, 9:23am EST
Throwback Thursday
We start off with the Varlamov and the Avs beating Lundqvist and the Rangers. I am kind of surprised with this as I thought the Rangers were turning it around and Lundqvist had his A game going but Varlamov was great in this one and pretty much stole the two points for the Avs.
Nov 14th 2014, 9:22am EST
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Berra, Bobrovsky, and Braden
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On Steve Mason and Mike Smith
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Test for the ramblings
This is a test for the ramblings. This is a test for the ramblings.
Oct 10th 2014, 11:32pm EDT