One of the most difficult yet most important considerations heading into a draft is your strategy on how to handle goaltenders.  Goalies are an extremely important part of your fantasy hockey team; they often account for 25-40% of the scoring categories but they make up only 10-15% of your roster.   To make matters even tougher, goalies are often a lot harder to predict than forwards so the most important position on your team is often the hardest one to get right.  To help identify some value and stability in your goalie position I present my latest Geek of the Week, Miikka Kiprusoff.


Kipper is currently being drafted (on average) as the 19th goalie in Yahoo! leagues which this article will show is way too low.  He is a reliable goalie capable of posting G1 value but more suited to being a stud second goalie on your squad.  If you can draft your G2 a little bit later and he still provides the value of other team’s G1 then your team will be set at the most difficult position.  Let’s run the numbers through Fantasy Hockey Geek:


(2011-12 Season stats for a Yahoo! Standard 12 team league: G, A, +/-, PIM, SOG, PPP, GAA, SV%, W, SO)




Kipper’s numbers were solid across the board.   Despite playing for a non-playoff team, he was one of only seven goalies to reach 35 wins.  His four shutouts were respectable and his GAA and Save% were both stellar, so not surprisingly FHG shows that he was the 10th most valuable goalie in a league of this format last year.  Just looking at the numbers from last year it is difficult to comprehend why Kipper is being drafted so late.  It’s not as if it is all “hidden value”: those are some stellar numbers on the most basic stats that are right there for everybody to see!  Why is he being drafted so late? 


What’s even better is that Kipper’s great 2011-12 numbers don’t even tell the whole story of his great value.  Here’s a couple more reasons why you need to get Kipper on your team:


Kipper is a model of consistency

For seven straight years, Kipper has reached at least 35 wins.  In today’s NHL, this stat is flat out ridiculous.  1A/1B situations are more prevalent than ever, injuries are often a concern and competition at the goalie position is at an all-time high.   None of that seems to affect Kipper, who just keeps plugging away getting his 70 starts and 35 wins year in and year out.


Of the 8 goalies who reached 35 wins last year, Kipper is easily the most consistent one at meeting that mark. 




I would personally say that Lundqvist, Rinne, Quick and Rask (in lieu of Thomas) are all pretty much a lock to do it again in the coming year and I would certainly recommend drafting them accordingly.  Other than those studs though, I would have a hard time finding another goalie that is more likely than Kipper to hit 35 in the coming season.  The really mind blowing thing is that the four studs I identified above all play on legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.  Kipper has amassed his stats playing for the “just-missed again” Flames!  For a position with so much uncertainty, being able to bank on a goalie for 35 wins is absolutely huge.


Kipper’s status is undisputed

For seven straight seasons Kipper has also surpassed 70 games played.  This is another unheard of stat in today’s age and it is a large reason why he is able to amass so many wins.  Goalies who get the starts are incredibly valuable in fantasy hockey for a couple reasons:


Firstly,a goalie like Kipper only takes up one roster spot, as opposed to a Halak/Elliott situation where if you own one then you pretty much need to own both.  Wasted roster spots are a huge drain on leagues with daily rosters. 


Secondly, in leagues with weekly rosters, getting the majority of your teams starts is even MORE important.  Imagine having to pick which St Louis goalie to start every Friday in a weekly league?  If you were lucky you would get 2 starts out of your goalie.  If you were unlucky, you might get 0.  With a guy like Kipper you are assured two starts and you will probably get three.


Finally, a goalie that gets more starts obviously helps out more in the cumulative stats (wins, saves, GP etc).  Let’s take a look at Kipper’s value in another league: The Dobber Pro league.  This is a weekly start league that counts Wins, Saves and GAA as the three goalie categories.




Due to the nature of the categories (two of the goalie categories are cumulative stats), Kipper was the 6th most valuable goalie in the Dobber Pro league last year!  Last week, in one of the Dobber Pro leagues Kipper was drafted as the 15th goalie.  This was an absolute steal for the GM who got him because in the same league, Jimmy Howard was taken as the 6th overall goalie.  Kipper could very well be the more valuable goalie and he was picked four rounds later.


All of the above shows the tremendous value that can be found in Miikka Kiprusoff.  He is an extremely consistent performer and he is an undisputed number one goalie, two things that are extremely difficult to find in fantasy hockey.  On top of that, his actual value far exceeds his perceived value (currently being drafted as the 19th goalie).  My recommendation on Kipper is that he is a tremendous value for his draft position.  If you miss out on a top end starter early in the draft then you can get Kipper in there to fill the gap.  More ideally, if you can land a solid G1 in your draft and then pick Kipper a little later as your number two, you should be well on your way to a championship.


To find more goaltenders with great value in your league sign up for Fantasy Hockey Geek  and create rankings that are customized to YOUR league. 


Just joined Twitter: @T_Camp76


Previous Geeks of the Week:



Write comment
Comments (3)add comment

T-Camp said:

Good points Hey guys,

I agree with pretty much all of what you guys say - butI do still see good value in Kipper. I certainly agree that you want consistency on your fantasy hockey team, and I also agree that I would take Quick/Rinne/Lundy ahead of Kipper in a heartbeat. It's not even close.

The problem I find with goaltenders outside of the top 5 (or so) studs in the league is that there really isn't much consistency out there. Outside of the Lundys/Quicks/Rinnes, it is an extremely fickle position. Even great tenders like Miller/Luongo/Thomas/Rask/Price have had years that have been severe let downs to fantasy GMs who drafted them high in recent years.

Kipper may not be a "difference maker", but he is a safe pick that you can get LATE in your draft. He is going as the 19th 'tender taken in Yahoo drafts!! I say: take a skater who is a difference maker while the other GMs are picking the 7th-15th overall goalies. Then take Kipper as a guy who will probably be even better than some of those goalies that are already off the board.

Consistency for sure is what you want, but I believe Kipper does a better job than most of staying consistent. YEs, his peripherals vary from year to year - but so do most other goalies (aside from those top studs mentioned). Look how Kipper compares to the reigning Vezina winners, the very next year after the won the trophy:

Brodeur: 19W, 2.43, .916%, 797sv, 5SO
Kipper: 45W, 2.84, .903%, 2155sv, 4SO

Thomas: 17W, 2.56, .915%, 1221sv, 5SO
Kipper: 35W, 2.31, .920%, 2035sv, 4SO

Miller: 34W, 2.59, .916%, 1799sv, 5SO
Kipper: 37W, 2.63, .906%, 1935sv, 6SO

THomas: 35W, 2.36, .920, 1659sv, 5SO
Kipper: 35W, 2.35, .921%, 2040sv, 4SO

In each year, Kipper compares very well (or even favourable) to the reigning Vezina winner. I know that there are outside circumstances in some cases (injuries etc), but that's all part of why Kipper is so valuable. Kipper doesn't have those issues. No injuries. No up and coming backup. Kipper is Mr. Automatic.

Even if Kipper won't win you a pool by himself....imagine a scenario from a pool last year. Somebody may have drafted Thomas in the first round (I was in a pool where he went #1 overall). Kipper may have went in the 7th or later. Kipper and Thomas ended up being about the same in most pool formats. Where the value lies, is the guy who drafted Kipper in the 7th also got a Stamkos in the first. While the guy who drafted Thomas in the first certainly got a much lesser player than Stamkos in the 7th.

So even though I do agree with all of the points in the comments...I do still believe that Kipper holds great value in all pool formats. The point isn't that Kipepr will win you your pool. The point is that Kipper is a guy who you can get at great value and he will also provide some stability at the goalie position which can be very volatile. Drafting a rock like kipper in the mid to late rounds will allow you to pick guys that WILL win you your pool earlier on.

ALl that said, I do agree that I would rather have Kipper as my #2. A solid Rinne/Kipper combo would position your goaltending very well in a league of almost any format. And you could acheive that tandem using only one high pick and one lower pick. If Kipper is your 1, then your 2 is probably somebody like Reimer and then you are in a lot of trouble.

Thanks for reading guys!
October 14, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Great Breakdown! I think you absolutely hit it right on the head, in cumulative stat heavy leagues like wins and svs, Kipper is mighty valuable because he starts so darn much. From my research with goalie numbers, win g;e is fairly consistent (roughly 50%) amongst all goalies. The advantage that Kipper owns is that he starts 70 games, as opposed to other goalies that start 60-65, that's where the edge comes in. Same could be said with svs. Most goalies generally post 27-30 saves per game. The advantage that Kipper has is that he starts 70 games, where as others start 60, so that's 270-300 less saves just because of the start difference between goalies.

The problem is most leagues don't usually use cumulative stats. If you look at standard leagues with W, GAA, SP and SO as the main stats, Kipper isn't entirely strong in those areas.

The W and So have been fairly consistent around the 35 and 4 mark the last 4 years, but the GAA and SP is all over the place, which is where problem lies.

2.84, 2.31, 2.63 and 2.35 for GAA, so it's been all over the shop.
.903, .920, .906 then .921 for SP, once again all over the shop.

In fantasy hockey, you want consistency, you want to know what you're going to get with your goalie (especially when they're such a vital part of your team). I don't get the feeling of consistency from Kipper. With Lundy, Quick, Rinne you instantly get that feeling of consistency, and that alleviates a lot of the butterflies...

Another key factor for me, is that in order to win fantasy pools, it's about gaining edges on your competition. Your player at a certain position needs to produce more/better numbers than the other players in the same position on your opponent's team.

Kipper isn't a difference maker, he's a great "pace keeper" to keep you on pace with the competition, but he isn't a Halak (1.97 and .926), Quick (1.95 and .929) or Lundy (1.95 and .930) who will set you apart from your competition to help you take the crown.

Kipper is great for cumulative stat leagues like the Dobber ones, but in standard leagues, he's a great number two option, but won't be good enough set you apart to win a championship.
October 13, 2012
Votes: +0

InnocentBystander said:

... while it is true that kipper may be undervalued, last year was a good season for him.
if you look at his last five seasons, two have been good and three not so much...
the two good seasons, he had a sv% of over .920, the three average seasons saw him at .906 or below for all three
the two good seasons, he had a gaa of 2.35 or less, the three average seasons saw his gaa between 2.63 and 2.84
the wins are consistent, but he has never been much of shutout threat - not in a long time anyways, and it is probably a factor of playing for the flames...
either way, two of the past five seasons kipper has probably been undervalued
while the other three he has probably been valued just about right.
calgary's defence didn't get any better this off-season and with wideman joining the ranks,
you could argue that it got worse...
kipper sure could be undervalued, but his past five seasons show that a top 10 finish in the rankings is far from a sure thing
and that some regression in sv% and gaa (possibly even to rather average or even ugly numbers) wouldn't be surprising at all.
my 2 cents is all...
October 13, 2012
Votes: +0
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.