It is with great honor that I announce today as the grand re-opening of the GoaliePost website. The latest addition to the Dobber Sports Network also completes the transformation of my School of Block column into a new column, one that reveals the wide array of fantasy goalie weapons you’ll find at GP.
I call this new column the GoaliePost to honor the alliance and pact that was created between three comrades - Dobber, Goldman and Hillen – back on March 25. What was the purpose of this joining of forces, you ask? To make you a better poolie by providing you with an advanced set of fantasy goalie tools you simply can’t find anywhere else.
For the past four years, I have provided you with unique and somewhat “avant-garde” analysis of the goaltending position. But I can safely say that the time has come for me to consider all of Dobber Nation as School of Block graduates. Thanks to this new alliance, it’s time for all of you to take the next step and hit the battlefield with some solid updates and advice that will help you during the week.
GoaliePost memberships include a ton of value for just $9.99 plus tax. Check out the membership details here and then purchase one in Dobber’s online store to start taking advantage of some great season preview analysis and draft advice you won’t find elsewhere!
But the value doesn’t stop there. I’m also offering up a FREE issue of my all-new 2011-12 NHL Goaltenders Style Guide. This digital journal will be released before Opening Night and includes a breakdown of 60 NHL goalies by not only analyzing their style, but by previewing their upcoming season and providing some fantasy advice as well. This is a $9.99 value, but given to GoaliePost members for free if you sign up before October 1. Click here to see a preview page of the Style Guide.
So what will you find in the new GoaliePost weekly update? Essentially a mirror image of the GoaliePost premium section.
That means you can expect things like a list of starters primed to succeed for the upcoming week, and quick recaps on the top fantasy goalies from the previous week. I’ll definitely provide advice on matchup strength for certain goalie and current performance trends for others. Finally, due to an area of fantasy goaltending that continues to rise in importance, I’ll provide a steady set of updates on the best dark horses, hidden gems and sleepers.
In order to give you a glimpse at what you’ll find inside GoaliePost (the website and this revamped column), here is an example of what you can come to expect from myself on Monday afternoons!
In order to help clarify some of the foggy goalie situations heading into your draft, I’ve compiled a list of the five most valuable starters facing serious injury concerns this season, but still have legitimate odds to stay healthy. Injuries are quite the tricky situation since you never really know what the goalie is feeling, something that’s even more serious when it comes to head injuries and concussions.
If you choose to draft a goalie with serious injury concerns, you better have a solid backup plan in place. Making frivolous risks by banking on an injury-prone goalie to stay healthy all season long can destroy your chances of winning. But as you will see below, taking the time to understand their situation can drastically change your outlook. Be smart, be wary and remember to draft with confidence!
5. Ryan Miller: Missing games during last season’s most crucial point probably wrecked some fantasy teams out there. The fact he was rocked by a series of head shots and didn’t announce it until his playoff run ended was also a cause for alarm. It’s impossible to know what kind of residual effect that will have on Miller’s health and durability, so it is a situation worth monitoring. I see the acquisition of Drew MacIntyre and wonder if the Sabres are being extra careful here, or whether they just wanted to snag another stellar #3 goalie. Either way, Miller will look to follow up on his .916 save percentage in 65 games and go for a fourth straight season with five shutouts.
GP Advice: Expect him to be fine, and if he does sit out some games, it will probably be for maintenance or resting purposes.
4. Niklas Backstrom: For the first time in five seasons, Backstrom finished with a losing record at 22-23-5, but still posted a .916 SP%. During his five years with Minnesota, he’s only started more than 60 games once (71). This isn’t to say that Backstrom is expected to start less than 60 again, but the numbers over the past two seasons lead us to wonder about his durability heading into drafts. You could also say the same thing about his backup Josh Harding, so Wild goaltending, albeit elite status when 100-percent healthy, has a lot of question marks in terms of staying healthy.
GP Advice: Because of last season’s struggles, Backstrom becomes a goalie that many others will pass up. It’s an important “rebound year” for him, meaning I see him as a sleeper and potential steal this season.
3. Kari Lehtonen: Even though Lehtonen completely rebuilt his off-ice training and nutrition last summer, many people still tread lightly when mentioning his name in draft circles. To me, this one is a no-brainer, as I don’t see him getting weaker, only stronger. Treat the injury concerns like a thing of the past and let your opponents consider him as a risk. He was very consistent behind an unsteady Stars team and defense, which is what many people expect from the blueline again this season. But without Brad Richards, scoring is also a concern. Will a rise in shots and drop in goal support wear down Lehtonen to the point of injury as the season rolls along?
GP Advice: Lehtonen’s injuries were a result of certain circumstances that are no longer relevant in his game today. He’ll be fine and continue to thrive behind a porous defensive team.
2. Jonas Hiller: Everyone knows what kind of elite skill Hiller brings to the rink on a daily basis. But even at 29 years of age, he’s not the most experienced goalie coming off an injury-plagued season. He was exceptional last season before the vertigo symptoms took over, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t play as well, or even better this season. Last October, he started 0-3 and had given up 12 goals before anyone could blink, yet he still finished with a .924 SP% and five shutouts in just 46 starts. Many might feel it’s only a matter of time before he’s knocked out again, but that’s not the way you treat one of the world’s most skilled starting goaltenders.
GP Advice: There’s no way of knowing if Hiller’s vertigo is likely to return or not, so drafting him early is a considerable risk.
1. Semyon Varlamov: I put Varlamov first mainly because his former team benefits from his failure to make the playoffs. Varlamov got what he wanted with a starting gig, but does he know what he’s getting himself into? Has he prepared this summer in a way that has helped him adjust and acclimate to the Mile High city? Unfortunately we won’t know until training camp. But what we do know is that, when healthy, he’s one of the world’s finest 23-year-old goaltenders. His skill set is enough to make him your fantasy #1, but his injury concerns totally eliminate that type of reputation. This year is all about proving he’s durable enough to excel behind one of the NHL’s worst defensive clubs. And that won’t be easy.
GP Advice: There are many adjustments Varlamov has to make heading into the season, many of which he’s never had to make before. I personally wouldn’t draft him to be a #1, but rather a #2 with sleeper upside.
I hope you all take advantage of what Dobber, Hillen and I have done (and will do) with GoaliePost over the summer, and I look forward to powering the website and this revamped column for the upcoming season! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in my new GoaliePost forums (previously my School of Block forum)!