The fickle world of fantasy goaltenders
By Steve Schwarz, Fantasy Sports Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Many of the goaltending names we have come to depend upon in the past are no longer performing up to the level we expect and its hurting quite a few fantasy teams.
Meanwhile, some of the younger goaltenders are starting to make a name for themselves and they are carrying your fantasy team.
Let's evaluate whether they will continue at their current production level.
Tim Thomas, Boston - Thomas was very good for two years before slumping last season, but so far in 2010-11 he's putting up better statistics than in any time since coming up to the Bruins in 2005. His goals against average and save percentage are easily the best of his career, but not so far above what he's done in the past to make you feel that it's a fluke. He should continue to perform at this level through the remainder of the season. Trading for him isn't a likely option, unless you plan on giving up a superstar or two.
Pekka Rinne, Nashville - Rinne is continuing what he started over the past two seasons, and is on pace to set personal bests in wins, GAA and SV%. He's got a solid defense in front of him which holds up even when rookie backup Andres Lindback gets a start (10-4, 2.58 GAA, 0.915 SV%). But given that Lindback is in his first year, Rinne should get 55-58 starts, which would also be a career high. He was an early fifth-round selection and worth every penny.
Jonas Hiller, Anaheim (28) - The Ducks have yielded their fair share of goals which makes Hiller's performance look that much better. He's already tied his career mark for shutouts (4) and should easily crack his mark for wins. But I'd still worry that the team's lack of effort in front of their goaltender could come back to haunt Hiller owners. They haven't finished in the top half of the league in goals allowed since 2007-08 when they had Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Hiller and Bryzgalov between the pipes.
Corey Crawford, Chicago - Because Marty Turco hasn't performed up to expectations, the Blackhawks have used Crawford a lot this season. And he's come through with a solid 15-8 record with a GAA of 2.13 and a save percentage of 0.920. That's well above what Turco has done on ice and is the reason that he's started in seven of the last nine games. Crawford is only owned in 67 percent of all leagues, so there is a one-in-three chance you can pick him up off waivers.
Ondrej Pavelec, Atlanta - Last year Pavelec played second fiddle to Johan Hedberg, however with Hedberg in New Jersey, Pavelec had gotten an opportunity to shine and he's taken advantage. He's played in 35 of 36 games this season and dropped his GAA by almost a full goal (3.29 to 2.47). Despite the season- long improvement, he's been slipping of late with a January GAA of 3.64 and a SV% of 0.897. If you could trade him for value before his numbers look any worse, that would be the smart way to go.
Ryan Miller, Buffalo - Miller was the 2009-10 Vezina Trophy winner, but he's not playing to those high standards in 2010-11. His GAA is up from 2.22 to 2.65 and his SV% is down from 0.929 to 0.913. He started the season slowly, showed marked improvement in November but then regressed over the last two months. I don't see this improving any time soon, but as the first goalie off the board, you won't be able to get enough value to make a trade worthwhile. You will simply have to hope he and the defense find whatever it is they have lost.
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey - Brodeur is having his worst season ever. For the first time in his Hall-of-Fame career he's got a SV% under 0.900 and a GAA over 2.60. He's won just nine times all season, but he is 4-0-1 over his past five starts and shutout the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. Maybe, just maybe, there is still a little magic left.
Craig Anderson, Colorado - Last season, his first in Colorado, proved to be a solid fantasy-worthy effort as he played 71 games and won 38 of them. This year is proving to be much tougher as he's just 13-10 with a GAA of 3.05 and a SV% of 0.904. The problem isn't necessarily Anderson's as backup Peter Budaj isn't faring any better. It's the defense in front of them and the lack of backchecking that has the Avs near the bottom of the goals allowed category (27th of 30). He doesn't figure to get much better over the next three months.
Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary - Kiprusoff has been a very good goaltender for a long time but 2010-11 isn't looking like a typical season. His numbers are down in both GAA and SV% and for the first time since 2002-03 with San Jose, he has a losing record. Backup Henrik Karlsson has only marginally better numbers, indicating it's a team problem, not a goaltender problem. He cost you a fourth-round pick, but unless the team starts playing better you won't be getting your money's worth this season.
Marty Turco, Chicago - The 2009-10 Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks were a solid defensive team with a team GAA of 2.40. This season's version is much less so and Turco has taken the brunt of the hit. He's now playing behind Crawford, who has simply looked much better in goal and figures to be there for a while. You won't get anything in trade for Turco at this point, so just hide him on your bench and look elsewhere for goaltending help.
2010-11 Selected Goaltender Statistics
01/21 15:47:00 ET