|Fantasy Indicators of Success: Goalies||Tweet|
|Written by Russ Miller|
|Thursday, 04 November 2010 10:22|
In order to provide a balanced view, I'll be following the lead of my Western counterpart and look at the top two goalies from each of the 15 Eastern Conference teams. Each goaltender will be labeled Buy, Sell or Hold.
Some statistics are more important when looking at predicting fantasy success for goaltenders. The two most important are Goals-Against-Average and Save Percentage. While a goalies record is important, it may be more indicative of how the team is doing instead of how the goaltender is playing. NOTE: The discussion below is more applicable for one year leagues. All statistics are prior to last nights games.
At 34 years of age, Chris Mason was brought in to bridge the gap and assist the Thrashers top goaltender prospect's transition to an NHL regular. Smart move by Atlanta. The problem for fantasy league owners is that the two will split enough games on a borderline team to relegate them both to the bottom tier of fantasy goaltenders. Mason may still have some name value left and Pavelec's is a wildcard who might pay dividends later this year.
Hands up if you saw this start coming from Tim Thomas BEFORE the season began? Family members of Thomas put your hands down. The truth is that this could play out very well for Boston. Thomas is under contract for two more seasons after this one and slated to draw five large per annum. So as long as the team is winning, I'm sure the Bruins are fine with letting Thomas get the bulk of starts having Rask apprentice under the Tool Man. That way, Rask can't build up monster numbers to the point where he might command an offer sheet when he becomes a restricted free agent after next season. Rask is a buy because Thomas won't maintain this pace and the young Finn will get his opportunity to shine on this very good Bruin team.
No need to expand on this situation too much, it’s pretty obvious that Miller is the undisputed guy in Buffalo. Right now his record, goals-against-average and save percentage are all inflated and will improve considerably over the coming months. Lalime will only start 10-15 games and barring serious injury to Miller, is not fantasy-worthy in most formats.
Similar to Miller’s situation in Buffalo, Cam Ward need not fear his starting role for the foreseeable future. Carolina will be in the mix for a playoff spot all year and Ward should be good for at least 35 wins while starting between 65 and 70 games again this season.
Mark my words, Tomas Vokoun, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this year, WILL be traded by or on the trading deadline. Florida has a very competent back-up in Clemmensen and two young bucks (Markstrom and Salak) just itching to be given a shot in the NHL (whether they are ready or not!). Despite being just one point out of last place in the Eastern Conference (Florida has several games at hand though), the Panthers are tied for seventh in goals against per game and have only allowed three power play goals against. Vokoun hasn’t recorded a save percentage of less than 0.919 during the previous five seasons. He should only benefit (more wins) from a trade as will Clemmensen when he takes over full-time following Vokoun’s departure.
Over the summer I was telling anyone who would listen that Carey Price was the real deal and that he will have a solid season ahead of him this year. Phew, the early returns look good. In his rookie year, Price started 40 games, recording 24 wins, a goals-against-average of 2.56 and a 0.920 save percentage. The 23-year-old had the weight of the world on him to start this year and he is showing that management's decision to keep him over Jaroslav Halak (who is an awesome ‘tender in his own right) wasn't a bad one. Look for the goals-against-average to end up a little north of two and a half and for the save percentage improve slightly. Auld will likely get 20-25 starts and sport some decent numbers as Montreal is encouraged to play a responsible team game.
With all the negative press in Jersey to start this season, there will be no better time than right now to go after Brodeur. Yes, Zach Parise is out for three months or so and the team can’t seem to buy a win (two of Brodeur’s three wins have come via shutouts), but I am confident that the 100-million dollar man Kovalchuk will step up as will Brodeur. Just last year, the first ballot Hall of Fame goaltender had 45 wins, a goals-against-average of 2.24 and a save percentage of 0.916 to go along with nine shutouts. I do agree that he is in the twilight of his career, but don’t bet the house on Brodeur posting poor numbers this year, you might just regret it. Hedberg will only get 10-15 starts; the Devils will find themselves in a dog fight all season long and that will force them to start the venerable Brodeur in 70-plus games once again.
Welcome back Rick! I guess after playing a total of 13 games over the last two seasons, I'd be a little rusty too. In only one of DiPietro's six starts, has his save percentage been over 0.900. Meanwhile, Roloson is posting vastly superior numbers. The Islanders started the season 4-2-2, but including last nights loss, they have now dropped five in a row. Let's face it, this team didn't start with a particularly talented or deep roster and losing two of their top players in Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo has to hurt.
The King has played in 70 or more games in four of his five NHL seasons. He logged 53 games as a rookie. Expect no different this year. He’s never had a goals-against-average higher than 2.43 or a save percentage lower than 0.912. He’s had five consecutive 30 win seasons to start his career and if the hockey gods are just, Lundqvist will record his first 40 win season this year. Biron won’t get enough starts (10 to15) to make a difference.
While Leclaire has been out with his groin injury, Elliott hasn’t exactly stepped up and taken the number one job. That said, the team in front of Elliott isn’t really doing him any favours. Thanks to Leclaire’s inflated salary, he will be given a long leash, but he'll likely just hang himself and end up back on the injured reserve list once again. It takes a brave or desperate owner to rely on Leclaire at this point in his career. Assuming Leclaire can't stay healthy and that the Sens are too good of a team to miss the playoffs, Elliott should post respectable numbers.
Last year, Sergei Bobrovsky was toiling away in the KHL posting a horrible 9-22-3 record, a 2.72 goals-against-average and 0.919 save percentage for Novokuznetsk. Other than that, Bobrovsky was pretty much an unknown. He's played pretty well for the Flyers so far this year, but once (if?) teams are able to figure this guy out, his numbers may take a hit. Boucher isn't much of a threat to take away the starting job, but Michael Leighton has that ability, provided he can successfully return from back surgery. I'd try to handcuff Bobrovsky to Leighton if I could because Philadelphia has the potential to rack up a considerable number of wins this year.
We are seeing a great start by 33-year-old veteran Brent Johnson. He has started 20 games or more only twice in the last six seasons. Time to sell Johnson before Fleury takes over once again. As bad Fleury has been and as good as Johnson has been, the Pens keep coming back to Fleury. They know that Johnson is simply playing well now and that if they are to go anywhere, they will need Fleury to play like he can. Fleury is ideal to own in a league that only values wins. His other numbers, shutouts, goals-against-average and save percentage, can range from average at best to actually hurting a roto team seeking a title.
Tampa Bay has surprised most of us with a 7-2-1 record and their 15 points is only one back of first overall in the NHL. The Lightning had the third ranked penalty kill with a 90.7 percent kill ratio and have only allowed four power play goals against. Ellis has the superior numbers, but only a so-so win-loss record. Smith has less flattering statistics, but has yet to record his first loss of the new season. The problem for us poolies is that this platoon situation may take most of the season to resolve.
Heading into this season, I thought Gustavsson would pretty much evenly split Toronto’s starts early on and then gradually take over from Giguere. That might still happen, but so far this season, Giggy has started twice as many as Gustavsson has. Giguere is in the last season of his bloated contract and Toronto will want to push Gustavsson to see what he can do as the number one. Look for Gus to take over sooner than later.
Somehow I had the impression that Washington was slumping, but then I looked at the standings and they are right at the top (as expected). Washington was tied for the third best goals-against-average (2.27) and had the fourth best penalty killing record. Neuvirth has been a revelation to most of us (not to Dobber or Goldman though). Varlamov has lost his grip on the starting job thanks to injuries and the excellent performance of Neuvirth.
|Last Updated on Friday, 05 November 2010 07:53|