So you’ve decided to focus this week on obtaining goalies that play consistently and actually produce. Well, there are some remarkable stories that are evolving this month, including the explosive number of “unproven” goaltenders like Ondrej Pavelec, Carey Price and Jason LaBarbera playing a surprising number of minutes.
But other stories are freaking us out, including goalies that haven’t been as successful as we were led to believe, such as Marc-Andre Fleury, Miikka Kiprusoff and Vesa Toskala. But if there’s one story that’s capturing my attention more than any other, it has to be Jose Theodore’s recent revival and the current rotation situation in Colorado.
Before I get to Theodore, however, there are many people asking me whether or not to trade Starting Goalie A for Backup Goalie B. Well – not surprisingly – my answer is always the same. “It’s not the quantity of starts, it’s the quality.” The win column is just one goalie statistic and it can be highly overrated in most fantasy leagues, especially those with equal weight for all stats.
Just look at the enigma that is Tim Thomas. He’s only won twice in six games in November, yet he has incredible numbers (1.65 GAA and .950 save %). Yes, he may only have a record of 6-4-2, but his value is extremely high, for a strong will and the desire to win goes quite a long way these days.
Also remember that “backups” like Josh Harding may only play once a week, but that’s all it takes for them to set the GAA standard very low. So while your opponent could have five games played and three wins, their goals against average is so high that you end up winning the week 6-4 because you won GAA, SAVE % and shutouts and he only won on wins and saves.
Therefore you should look around the league and try not to think about who is necessarily winning and losing. Instead, it’s more important to ask questions. Why are some goalies going from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the pit in less than a year? How come there are so many goalies with little or no NHL experience playing so well and with so much poise? It’s not always technique and skill at this level, because most goalies are so close in their skills, but their determination and mental strength.
Each goalie has different reasons for why they succeed or struggle, meaning certain trends arise within each NHL organization. They are difficult to pinpoint because each one is unique in their own way, depending on the dynamics of both or all three goaltenders currently in the system.
My case in point this week is the Avalanche. Not once have they ever employed a goalie rotation, yet for the past two weeks Theodore and Peter Budaj have gone back and forth in what is a clas