Fantasy Grapevine -- Week 3 

October, 16, 2013
Joey Macdonald, Josh HardingGetty ImagesJoey MacDonald and Josh Harding have performed well thus far in 2013-14.
We’re only two weeks into the regular season and, already, three designated backup goaltenders are attracting positive attention as early-season substitutes. While Jonas Gustavsson is filling in admirably for Jimmy Howard (bruised hand) with the Detroit Red Wings, veteran goalie Joey MacDonald is putting forth his best impression of No. 1 netminder for the Calgary Flames. Then there’s Josh Harding doing simply outstanding work between the pipes for the Minnesota Wild, as Niklas Backstrom recuperates from a minor knee injury. And two of the three are conceivably in position to sport the No. 1 crown for their squads for the foreseeable future.

Of the aforementioned trio, Harding (3-1, 0.94 goals-against average, .952 save percentage) stands the best chance of keeping a grip on the starter’s job. As discussed by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Wild coach Mike Yeo is keen on sticking with the 29-year-old, even once Backstrom’s knee is all better.

“I have liked not only how he’s looked in the net -- he’s looked quick, he’s looked big -- but I’ve liked the way he’s been playing the puck, too,” Yeo said. “He has helped our ‘D’ go back in transition and get ourselves out of trouble.”