With NHL training camps set to begin about four weeks from now, it’s time for fantasy hockey managers to start reengaging their brains and begin planning for their upcoming Fantasy Hockey Draft. Most drafts will take place in the latter-half of September, but it’s never too early to start looking for that gem of a late-round pick, the underrated talent who is set for a breakout season or the veteran presence who is due for a rebound year.
Today’s Position: Goaltenders
Goalies can make or break a great fantasy season. Think of it this way – you have15 or so players on your roster to help you win in approximately 10 offensive categories and then you have two or three goalies to help you in approximately five goalie stat categories. Seems a little lopsided, don’t you think? That is why you need to secure a good goaltender if you intend to make a serious push at becoming league champion. Here are a couple names that could help you out.
If You Want Wins – Brodeur. Enough said. If he stays healthy he will start between 60 and 70 games and will win more than half of those. He will also give you a decent amount of shutouts as well.
For An All-Around Good Goalie – Take Ryan Miller. Not only did Miller post excellent numbers last season, but he solidified himself as an All-Star goaltender with an amazing outing at the Olympics as the starting goaltender for Team USA. Miller will give you solid numbers all around.
The Secret is Out On – Ilya Bryzgalov. Forty-two wins last season and a career-best 2.29 goals against average, this guy is the real deal and so is Phoenix.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Chance On – Jimmy Howard (pictured). As long as Howard can make the saves that he is supposed to make, he will get a lot of help from a newly rejuvenated Red Wings squad. Expect Howard to be solid in all goalie stat categories this season.
Look for a Rebound Season From – Marty Turco. Now in Chicago, Turco will have a better defensive core in front of him that will surely help him reclaim his game.
Look for a Breakout Season From – Antero Nittymaki. Nittymaki had a good season last year with a subpar Tampa Bay squad where he posted 21 wins and a 2.87 goals against average. Any shortcomings as a net minder this season may be erased by San Jose’s potent offense. Expect 30 or more wins this season.
Keep An Eye On – Everyone. It’s so difficult to predict which goalies will thrive and which goalies will fail on any given night or during any given season. Remember that some of the best goaltenders in recent years probably went undrafted in most fantasy hockey drafts. I certainly don’t know anyone who drafted Antti Niemi, Tuuku Rask or Jimmy Howard out of the gate last season and all three of those players managed to stay at the top of the league in goalie stats.