- Written by Eric Daoust
Seven affordable goalies to consider in your salary cap league...
In fantasy hockey, the outcome is often heavily influenced by goaltending. A few individuals mean so much in our world and even the very best can burn us and cost us a shot at a league championship. In salary cap leagues, we have the added responsibility of maintaining a budget which forces us to balance proven production with cost.
Whether you participate in one-year or keeper leagues, it is likely that you will encounter a situation where you want a cheap extra goalie to sit on your bench or farm team (depending on GP limits) that does not eat up a large chunk of your payroll while offering the potential to overachieve short-term with starter potential down the road. Yes, there are goaltenders that offer all of that.
Today we will cover netminders that are already signed for next year and cost less than $2 million. Each of them offers a lot of long-term potential along with varying degrees of immediate value. In addition to these guys, you can read about Jake Allen who was profiled here a few weeks ago.
John Gibson ($894,167 / 2 years)
Fredrik Andersen ($1,150,000 / 2 years)
The latest hot prospect with huge upside is Gibson who had a huge first professional season including some strong play with the Ducks in the postseason. While the potential is evident, there is still no guarantee that the team will not add a veteran and push one of the youngsters to the minors. If that is the case we could see a situation where Gibson and Andersen split the backup duties while both see time in the AHL.
Barring an acquisition, look for Gibson to win out or at the very least be given opportunity after opportunity. Andersen is in a bit of a tough spot but also possesses high-end potential and will probably be easier to acquire. You simply cannot count him out. He will find a way to make his mark, either in Anaheim or elsewhere should a trade happen.
Niklas Svedberg ($600,000 / 1 year)
Svedberg signed a one-way contract this year after the Bruins parted ways with backup Chad Johnson. It appears that Svedberg will be given the backup gig for next year. He is certainly a gamble with Vezina winner Tuukka Rask getting the bulk of the load.
The payoff comes if Rask suffers a significant injury and Svedberg receives a big increase in starts behind a strong club. This would make Svedberg gold for both wins and peripheral stats. In the very least, he will be a good option for spot starts when the team gives Rask a break and costs you next to nothing against the cap.
San Jose Sharks
Alex Stalock ($1,600,000 / 2 years)
After yet another playoff failure, rumors of change are swirling in San Jose. Starter Antti Niemi's future is unclear and at the very least Stalock should be in for an increased role next year. At $1.6 million and playing for a team that has a long history of good regular-season numbers, poolies should be taking notice of Stalock's growing stock.
Stalock has history of success dating back to his first pro season when he set the AHL rookie record with 39 wins. Not only does it show his ability to play at a high level for the full year, it also shows a bit of workhorse potential. Whether or not Stalock can be a long-term starter in the NHL remains to be seen but for the next two years you should get a solid bang for the buck.
Over the last year the Canucks have been in major turmoil and there is a lot of uncertainty moving forward. There are rumors of the team acquiring a veteran goaltender which would significantly hurt the value of both Lack and Markstrom. But as of right now the two youngsters are on the roster and under contract for next year.
At this point Lack looks to be the front-runner both as the short-term go-to guy and as the long-term fantasy asset. He had a strong rookie campaign and emerged as the number-one option after longtime starter Roberto Luongo was dealt to Florida. With two years left on his contract he could have a fantasy value similar to Stalock's minus the strong team in front to help pad the numbers.
Markstrom on the other hand is at a critical point in his career. The "John Gibson" of the earlier years of this decade has taken a lot longer to develop than expected and has not enjoyed much success at the NHL level. Barring any changes in Vancouver, he should be in for his first full NHL season. With just one year left on his contract, this could be his final chance. He is a gamble but could offer a great return on investment if he finally starts putting it together.
Braden Holtby ($1,850,000 / 1 year)
One year ago, Holtby was in the mix for a spot on Canada's Olympic team and was Washington's undisputed number-one goaltender. One year later, a new coach is in town (again) but this time Barry Trotz is at the helm. Whether or not he can continue his history of having his teams produce strong goaltending numbers with the Capitals' personnel is unclear. What is clear is that it is far too early to give up on Holtby even with his recent struggles.
It is important to remember that Holtby is still not 25 years of age and only has 105 career games under his belt. Despite the inexperience he owns a .919 career save percentage and has already achieved 60 wins along with 11 shutouts. There will still be bumps in the road but if the Capitals can get back on track as a team Holtby should deliver solid numbers for his owners.