Fantasy Friday: Is Dan Ellis high risk high reward?

EllisEarlier this week the Carolina Hurricanes announced that starting goaltender Cam Ward is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a sprained knee ligament. While the news certainly could have been worse for the team, this is definitely a big blow to fantasy hockey owners who have Ward on their roster.

Sure, Ward hasn’t been stellar by any means so far, but he’s a work horse, starting 16 games this season. And in deep leagues where there aren’t many goalie options, losing a starter like Ward can put your team in a world of hurt.

Enter Dan Ellis, the Hurricane’s offseason signing who will now see time as the number one goalie in Carolina. In five starts, Ellis has three wins and one shutout. What stands out, however, is that his numbers are actually a little bit better than Ward’s, although the sample is considerable smaller. Ellis currently boasts a 2.53 goals against average in addition to a .923 save percentage. While not great, Ellis’ numbers are good enough and the Hurricanes are certainly hoping he can keep it up in the absence of Ward.

So as a fantasy owner, is Ellis worth a look? Definitely. He’s only owned in 35 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues and could provide your team with a boost in net. On average, the Hurricanes allow 31 shots on goal per game­—26th on the NHL—but the team is about middle of the pack when it comes to goals against per game. Carolina currently leads a weak Southeast Division with 27 points, but with this season’s schedule so heavily tilted toward divisional play, a weak division should work in the team’s favor.

Dan Ellis is mostly unproven as a starting goaltender, but he will get every opportunity in Carolina to showcase his talent while Ward recovers. At this point, there is a high risk involved with picking Ellis up for your fantasy roster, but he could pay dividends for a team in a deep league.

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