McKenna Match of the Day: March 25 – Filip Gustavsson vs. Alex Stalock

Former NHL goaltender Mike McKenna gives his Daily face-to-face Start of the goalkeeper game of the day for Saturday. March 25, 2023:

Why I love this game:

Gustavsson has started 31 games this season and allowed a goal or less 15 times. It’s total and massively impressive dominance for his first full-time NHL season. I also love the year Alex Stalock has had after being out of the NHL for nearly two full seasons.

To monitor :

Both goaltenders are an incredible story. Gustavsson is in his third franchise in the NHL at just 24 years old – pretty strange to think about. But he was everything the Wild had hoped for when they traded goaltender Cam Talbot for him last summer. Gustavsson has a .932 save percentage and an 18-9-5 record. Given the quality of his play, the former second-round pick is Minnesota’s heir apparent when Marc-Andre Fleury’s contract expires after the 2023-24 season. It will be interesting to see if Gustavsson gets any action in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year. He deserved it. But he also has a quality goalkeeper partner (Fleury) with a ton of equipment.

Stalock has lost two games in a row, but honestly, who cares? This guy was about to retire after missing the entire 2020-21 season due to serious health complications. But he returned this year with the Hawks and posted a .915 save percentage in 21 games. By comparison, his goalkeeping partner – the often-injured Petr Mrazek – averaged just 0.895 in 33 appearances. Congratulations to Stalock, one of the newest NHL goaltenders to stand under six feet tall.

What fantasy owners should do:

All aboard the Gus Bus! Start it, especially against the understaffed Blackhawks. Stalock starts in his home state of Minnesota, so maybe he pulls a rabbit out of his hat tonight. But the smart money says it’s a long shot for him to play in the fantasy against the Wild.

Conclusion for Filip Gustavsson:

No matter how good he is from now on: Fleury will probably start Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Conclusion for Alex Stalock:

I think he deserves the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

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