by PuckStopsHere on 11/02/08 at 07:38 AM ET
When teams begin the season, they have an expectation of which players will be the frontline players and which will be the backups and lower line players. As games are played, the circumstances change. Players get hurt. Players exceed and fail to reach expectations. In a given year, a few teams will start the season with a given number one goalie and replace him over the course of the season. The first team to fall into that situation this season appears to be the Ottawa Senators
Ottawa began the season with Martin Gerber as their number one goalie and Alex Auld as his expected backup. Neither are NHL superstars and both have been starters in the past. Both have also lost starting jobs in the past.
Last season, Gerber won the starting job when Ray Emery imploded. He played 57 games and though he wasn’t a superstar, he put up a .910 saves percentage and a 2.72 goals against average, Those are respectable numbers.
Emery was bought out and went to Russia to play in the KHL. Alex Auld, who had been the Vancouver Canuck starting goalie in 2005/06 was acquired as a free agent. He had split the last season between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Boston Bruins and had little chance to play regularly.
So far this season, in five games Martin Gerber has a .891 saves percentage and a 3.39 GAA. Those are not spectacular numbers. Alex Auld is off to a very good start. He has a .931 saves percentage (fourth in the league) and a 2.15 GAA (better than a goal ahead of Gerber).
A team must play the hot hand in goal. Auld is clearly the hot hand right now. It looks as though Auld has won (or will win soon) the starting goalie job in Ottawa.
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