2023-24 NHL Week 1 Goalie Report

by Mark Pitts
2023-24 Fantasy Hockey Week 1 Goalie Report

The first week of the NHL season is behind us and it was an exciting one. Let's do a quick recap before we get into the week 1 goalie report.

The biggest story of the week, as you can imagine, was the debut of Connor Bedard. The hype has been nonstop but the kid has delivered. He led Chicago to an opening night win over Sidney Crosby's Penguins and has made the Blackhawks a must-watch team.

The Golden Knights picked up where they left off after winning the Stanley Cup with three straight victories. And on the other side of the aisle, Edmonton surprisingly dropped their first two games to the Vancouver Canucks.

We've seen high-flying action from the Maple Leafs and Auston Matthews, who started his season with back-to-back hat tricks. We've even seen four-goal nights from an unlikely hero in Brock Boeser.

In the area of goaltending, Andrei Vasilevskiy was ruled out for 2 months due to back surgery. I never thought I would worry about the Lightning but they don't look right without him.

We could go on and on about all the stories across the league, but let's do a check-in on net minders around the league. And remember, we are only one week into the season. There is no need to panic or make a myriad of unnecessary moves.

2023-24 NHL Week 1 Goalie Report

Stock up

Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues (1-0-1, .969 SV%, 0.92 GAA)

 


Jordan Binnington was one of my dark horse goalies this year, and he's looked great so far. He's developed a pretty bad reputation as a hot-head and his actual talent goes overlooked.

He had a career-low .894 SV% last season but let's not forget he won a Stanley Cup his rookie year. He's been tested 67 times through two games and has only been beaten twice.

Ultimately the Blues are not a very good team but if Binnington plays at his best, they can overperform. They had the 3rd worst penalty kill last year at only 72.4% which puts a damper on how this season may play out. As long as he doesn't try to fight the opposing bench, he should have a solid season.

Petr Mrazek, Chicago Blackhawks (1-1, .935  SV%, 2.54 GAA)

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The talk of the town has been Connor Bedard, and for good reason. Quietly though, Petr Mrazek has been very impressive in net through the first week. His first start of the season was against a revamped and motivated Penguins team.

It was a sort of revenge game as Chicago eliminated Pittsburgh from playoff contention last season. The Penguins were excited to showcase their new toy in Erik Karlsson, but Mrazek shut them down.

He was nearly perfect with 39 saves on 41 shots to register his first win. Goalies from bad teams are largely ignored, but Mrazek is playing excellent between the iron. His ceiling is kind of limited as they are not expected to win many games. Still, Bedard looks great and if he can provide some offensive support, Mrazek could be sneaky value.

Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins (1-1, .944 SV%, .153 GAA)

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Tristan Jarry signed that big contract extension in the off-season so the expectations are high. He dropped the season opener to Chicago, allowing three goals on 35 shots. He bounced back nicely though against the Capitals, recording his first shutout of the year.

This Penguins team is loaded and I expect Jarry to answer the call. The addition of Ryan Graves should help take some pressure off Jarry with his shut-down defensive abilities.

We shouldn't get too excited just yet though. I don't consider the Blackhawks or Capitals to be good teams so he has not been truly tested thus far.

 

Stock Down

Ilya Samsonov, Toronto Maple Leafs (2-0, .839 SV%, 4.42 GAA)

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I don't know how, but Ilya Samsonov is undefeated through the first week. Okay, maybe it's because Auston Matthews had two hat tricks and the Leafs scored a million goals. Toronto's offense looks unreal but Samsonov allowed nine goals on 56 shots. Woof.

If he played for almost any other team he would be 0-2. He's looked absolutely dreadful in the net and will be heavily depending on the offense to carry him.

Lucky for him this will probably work out most of the time. In close games though, it will be a little difficult to fully trust him. Toronto is expected to win a ton of games but it may come at the cost of other categories.

Stuart Skinner, Edmonton Oilers (0-1, .750 SV%, 5.33 GAA)

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What is happening in Edmonton? The Oilers were picked to win the cup by many but they have not looked sharp. In the opening game, Jack Campbell gave up four goals and Stuart Skinner was called in. He in turn gave up four goals of his own on 16 shots. He followed this up by allowing four more goals on 16 shots in the Vancouver rematch. It's a little concerning seeing him play this poorly this early in the year.

Much like Samsonov, Skinner should at least be expecting a lot of offensive support through the season. He was the runner-up to the Calder Trophy last year and still has the entire season ahead of him.

The Oilers have been terrible defensively for years which isn't doing him any favors either. It's only a matter of time before the Oilers destroy another team and give Skinner a much-needed confidence boost.

Pheonix Copley, Los Angeles Kings (0-0-1, .737 SV%, 4.66 GAA)

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I had, and still have, high hopes for Pheonix Copley this year. He had a great run last season, finishing with a 24-6 record. His only start this year was against a tough Carolina team so we shouldn't read too much into the loss. He struggled in net, allowing five goals on 19 shots.

The real problem here is he will split time with Cam Talbot. I won't write him off after one game but a string of bad games could give Talbot a greater share of the starts.

I'd let the season play out a little more before making any rash decisions. If you have him, you got him late in the draft so you shouldn't feel any obligation to stick with him.

 


Be on the lookout for next week's goalie report here!

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