Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fantasy Hockey Goalies - Sleepers & Busts

In this final edition for fantasy hockey sleepers & busts, I'll run through my favorite position on the ice... the goalie. If you missed any of my earlier articles and want some last minute drafting tips, please feel free to check them out...

In fantasy hockey, the goalie position is a very important position to draft for. There are only 30 starting goaltenders in the NHL, but not all of them are great fantasy options. In most leagues, this position alone accounts for 40% of the scoring stats. A goalie can make or break you in any match up. When you should draft a goalie depends on what draft position you are in. I've always drafted goalies with my first pick if I am in the bottom 3 of the draft. By then all the big name players are gone and a late first round F/W is no different from an early second round F/W. However if you are in the top 5 of your draft, you will want to hold of on your goalie selection and grab one of the big time scorers and then come back to it later.


Jonas Gustavsson (TOR): Jonas Gustavsson is the big time free agent goalie from Sweeden that Brian Burke worked hard to land this offseason. Nicknamed "The Monster" Gustavsson has all the makings to be an elite NHL goaltender. He will begin the year as backup to Vesa Toskala, however if (or perhaps when) Toskala begins to falter, Gustavsson will be poised to take the reigns. If you have the room, it may be a good idea to take him, or at least keep an eye on him for future considerations.
Jonas Hiller (ANA): The starting goaltender job in Anaheim is now Hiller's job to lose. After a downward slide by Giguere last season, Hiller took the top spot and hasn't looked back since. The Ducks look to be a great team this year, which will help with Hiller's numbers. Hiller should be available late and would be a good starter for your team.
Christobal Huet (CHI): Now with Nikolai Khabibulin no longer with the team, Huet is the undisputed #1 goaltender in Chicago and won't have to give up as many starts. With Chicago's improvements in the offseason, Huet should be able to rise to the occasion and be a good every day starter for your team. Huet is someone that should fly under the radar and be available as a late pick up.
Pascal Leclaire (OTT): Pascal Leclaire had a great rookie season in Columbus 2 years ago. He struggled a bit at the beginning of last season and then missed the remainder of it because of injury. The change in scenery may be exactly what he needs to rebound this year.
Mike Smith (TB): When Mike Smith is on, he's on. Playing on a dismal Tampa Bay squad last year also didn't help his numbers. But with Tampa making some much needed improvements and with the development of Steve Stamkos, I see Smith have more better days than not this season.
Semyon Varlamov (WAS): Semyon Varlamov had a great playoff run last season before falling apart in the end. After watching a few games that he played in the series against the Penguins, this kid is the real deal. Even though Jose Theodore is slated to be the starter, if he struggles at all this year, look for Varlamov to take the job, and most likely keep it.


Ilya Bryzgalov (PHO): Ilya Bryzgalov is a great goalie, however playing on the Coyotes is what is landing him on this list. Bryzgalov will give you a chance to win every night, but the rest of the Phoenix team may not help. If Bryzgalov is available late then take him, but he should not be your first goalie selection.
Rick DiPiertro (NYI): Rick DiPiertro is once again recovering from injury and with Martin Biron and Dwayne Roloson on the squad, there is no rush to bring him back so soon. Stay away from DiPiertro and look somewhere else.
Jean-Sebastein Giguere (ANA): The days for the former Conn Symthe in Anaheim seem to numbered. With Hiller taking the starting job away and the acquisition of Justin Pogge, Giguere is no longer the strong fantasy option he once was. Unless something happens to Hiller, stay away from Giguere on draft day.
Chris Osgood (DET): You may be wondering why Chris Osgood is on my busts list. Osgood brought the Wings within 1 game of repeating for the Stanley Cup with a phenomenal playoff run. However during the regular season, he struggled and split duties with Ty Conklin. With Conklin out, Osgood may have to start more games which may wear him down. Osgood is a good goalie choice, but don't draft him too high just based on his playoff performance.
Tim Thomas (BOS): Tim Thomas? You may be wondering why the Vezina Trophy winner landed on this list. Thomas is no doubt a great goalie and was a major reason for the success of the Bruins last year. However don't let this one season inflate his value. Goalies like Nabokov, Brodeur, and Kiprusoff have demonstrated year after year they can perform and Thomas must do that as well. By all means take Thomas if he is there, but not until after the other 3 are gone.
Marty Turco (DAL): Marty Turco has had a steady decline in performance since his all-star appearance a few years back. He has been very inconsistent of late and can't be relied upon to provide numbers on a weekly basis. As a NHL starter, Turco should be considered, but for a bench position at best for your team.

Good luck with your drafting and I hope you will be able to utilize some of these tips to put together a great team.

Until next time: I'll keep you posted... Between the Pipes

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3rdStoneFromTheSun said...

nice job dude

Mike Colligan said...

With Toskala struggling quite a bit in the preseason, I think your call for the Monster may come sooner rather than later.

Keep in mind Burke just sold the farm for Kessel. He's obviously in a big hurry to win games. If Toskala can't get it done, he's going to be on a really short leash.

Manson Seto said...

I definitely agree. Burke is putting all his eggs in one basket to try and make the playoffs this year. He would not have gone after Gustavsson if he didn't want him to play. If Toskala struggles early, Burke will not hesitate to make the switch.

Puck Central said...

So far you've been right on about Thomas but horribly wrong about Bryzgalov