Now that you have your lines set, what else can you look at for points? Oh yeah, that’s right, you still need goalies.
Having a good netminder says a lot about your team. Having a proven “brick wall” versus having a goalie who lets almost anything slip by can make or break your team, A.K.A. a sieve.
Who from last year, is worthy of a spot on your team?
A goalie can be a tough position to keep on top of. Is he starting? Are any of my goalies starting? Who has more potential to win? Those are just a few of the many questions that weigh in on who you start that particular night. When it comes to drafting your goaltenders, my
suggestion, and it has worked out pretty well, is to do a fantasy-football like setup, where instead of drafting two goalies from different teams may work if you have two very good goalies who are consistent in the winning column, you draft a team’s starting and backup goalie tandem.
But for now, lets focus on just the starters.
Not being based on just wins, but more of a consistence from season to season, I went through the list of league leaders on NHL.com from the past few years (2010-2013) to carefully construct this line-up.
1: Henrik Lundqvist- It’s his time. Henrik has been elite the past years, remaining in the top ten, refusing to go away. Always been a solid choice for me every year that I have done a league, I don’t expect much to change for a few years to come. Last year, in my leagues, yes plural, having Lundqvist was a great asset. The league leader in wins last year, pick him up ASAP. While he may not earn you the bonuses that shutouts may give your team, look for that number to also increase. I see the new Vigneault run Rangers to up Lundqvist’s starts to 70-72 games, definitely a good chunk of the season with one guy.
2: Jimmy Howard- Let’s be honest, he wins games. Joining the former-Northeast Division loaded Atlantic Conference, I expect Howard to have a field day on the teams that face the Red Wings for the majority of the season. A definite shut-out winner, Howard is definitely one that should find the majority of starts on your team. When the Red Wings, as a whole, are all on for a game, see to it that you are earning your wins/shutouts.
3: Pekka Rinne- One of my other favorites, Rinne is a definite benefit to your team. Tied with the leader in shutouts, stopping pucks has never really been a huge issue to any team that has Rinne on their roster. His numbers did drop off last season, with the Predators going 15-16-8 on the season, and dropping to 14th in the standings may have some effect on his value, maybe putting fear into someone who would draft a person who wasn’t a star player last year. The most impressive stat is that he still recorded 5 shutouts. In my leagues, that is an additional 4 points per shutout that I will gladly accept. (simple math 4×5= 20 points!)
4: Corey Crawford- The most-recent Stanley Cup victor with the Chicago Blackhawks is a sure-thing for points. While he sits at 11th in wins (and I know we aren’t going off just wins) but he is still definitely a winner. Last season, and I know I keep bringing up the lockout but it was a problem, any losses whatsoever could screw up any players stats. While he and former backup now Philadelphia goalie Ray Emery each performed extremely well, Crawford is definitely a strong candidate to lead your team.
5: Sergei Bobrovski- Yes I know, having a goalie whose team is not an elite performing team may be risky, but the Columbus Blue Jackets are on the rise in my opinion. With the addition of Marion Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky, Columbus could be looking at a few more wins. Those wins will most likely be at the hands of Bobrovski. His save percentage of .932 was second in the league last year. The former Philadelphia goalie was superb in all of his three season at the top-level. Bringing in Bobrovski to earn you some wins, and quite possibly some shutouts is a risk worth taking.
Now that my top five has been said, what are some good goalie tandems around the league? Drafting a teams starting and backup goalie is a better idea than drafting two different teams goalies.
1: Ryan Miller/Jhonas Enroth- I will come right out and say it, Buffalo has been known for their great goaltending. From Barasso to Hasek to Miller, Buffalo has had solid starting goaltenders that are all worthy of finding a spot on your team. Miller, who will most likely lead the charge come the start of the season, has a hefty amount of games he will play, but with the likelihood of him joining USA hockey come February, look for Jhonas to also pick up 20+ starts in net. Having these two in your roster is one of the best starts to have.
2: Jaroslav Halak/Brian Elliott- The “power-couple” as I like to call them. These two are the prime tandem that any fantasy hockey GM should definitely consider. Even though their performance dipped slightly in the past year, but I fully expect that these two will bounce back and perform just like two seasons ago. Both earn you points in the win column, and in the shutout column.
3: Henrik Lundqvist/Martin Biron- The duo of Lundqvist and Biron is a team that you should look to make a splash in win points for your team. If you need points for all of the possible scoring standards in your league, then look no further than the Rangers tandem to do the job. The two definitely give each other the boost that one another deserves, which is a great thing as a GM to have.
4: James Reimer/Jonathan Bernier- Being a Buffalo fan I hate to give credit to the Maple Leafs, but they have some pretty decent goaltending to fall back on if you really are in a bad place. Reimer has become the goalie that Toronto has banked on him becoming. He is more than ready to bring Toronto towards if not into the playoffs. The Leafs bringing in Bernier to battle only gives the Leafs a competitive one-two to any opposing team. I am expecting huge numbers to come from this, Reimer is battling to prove himself and remain the starter, and Bernier is battling to take it from Reimer.
5: Martin Brodeur/Cory Schneider- Nothing shocked me more then when I heard on draft day that Cory Schneider was heading east, and joining Brodeur. Like jaw to the floor shocked. It wasn’t much more than a year ago when Vancouver was a buzz with the rumors that Luongo was packing his bags and heading elsewhere, and Schneider was taking over. Now, he has a great task of trying to gain his stature in the Devils organization behind future hall of famer, Martin Brodeur. To me, this deal was New Jersey trying to set up their net for the future for the imminent retirement of Brodeur in the future. These two can do a great deal of conquering when put together. Obviously Martin will take the majority of games, but Cory will have his good share of starts.