Ice Chips: Crouching Goalie, Hidden Gem Edition
Fantasy goalies always stress me out. While you have room for a few mistakes with your skaters, with your goalie, you’re making a real commitment, and a lot of time your team lives and dies by that commitment. This week, we look at the crazy world of NHL goaltending, where lately it seems up is down, down is up, and a lot of guys you never heard of are making a splash.
For instance, you should know the name Dany Sabourin. The Penguins’ backup who’s been filling in for the injured Marc-Andre Fleury is 5-2-2 in 10 starts, with a tiny 1.85 goals against and a .929 save percentage. Sabourin is putting up great numbers and a lot of owners have no idea who he is. If he’s available, grab him.
Florida’s Craig Anderson is another relatively unknown goalie coming on strong. In 12 games, he has a 1.89 goals against and a .947 save percentage, and lately he’s seeing more time than Tomas Vokoun, the presumed starter with a bloated 3.01 goals against and .911 save percentage. If you’re one of the millions of people wrecked by Martin Brodeur’s freak elbow, Anderson just might be your only shot to stay competitive in your league.
Columbus goalie Steve Mason is unbelievably hot right now, with a 2.18 goals against and a .917 save percentage, plus two shutouts. And that’s all in 10 games. It seems all but a given that he’s going to run the struggling Pascal Leclaire out of Ohio, so he’s another goalie gem that seems untouched in many leagues.
Juxtapose these hidden gems with someone like the once-sturdy Phoenix Coyote Ilya Bryzgalov, who gave up two goals in five minutes last Saturday. Bryzgalov seems about to lose his starting job to backup Mikael Tellqvist. And Marty Turco can’t seem to give up enough goals playing behind a porous Dallas defense. No one has seen Islander Rick DiPietro in weeks. The world is changing. There’s a new goalie class in town. And they’re going to save your season.
Some quick fantasy warnings: Montreal’s Alex Kovalev hasn’t scored a goal since November 1. Kovalev’s always been streaky, but not in Montreal. It’ll be interesting to see how he and the team adjust. Over in Philadelphia, Daniel Briere is expected to miss a month with a groin injury, while in Colorado, Joe Sakic is expected to miss six weeks with a herniated disk. Plan accordingly.
The Week Ahead
- Friday, Colorado plays Dallas in a battle of disappointing Western Conference teams. Expect a lot of “Remember when we didn’t suck?” chatter between faceoffs.
- The Hawks finally ended their six-game road trip Wednesday with a big come-from-behind win over the Ducks. Hell, even Martin Havlat scored (his first point in three games) as the Hawks improved to 7-1-4 at home. Unfortunately, it’s right back on the road Saturday night. Destination? Detroit. Ya, that’s a perfect way to shake their road blues and try to cut into the Wings lead in the Central Division.
- Sunday, the Flames visit the New York Rangers, game two of a Calgary road trip that seems to have been planned by Chevy Chase.
- Monday, Buffalo plays Pittsburgh in a game many will be disappointed to learn will be played indoors.