Of Slumps and Shadowers

Justin Goldman

2008-10-20

 turco

 

Teams have hit the five-game mark of the season, so this is a perfect chance to make a good, educated decision on whether or not a goaltender’s value has gone up or down from your pre-season expectations. The season has started with a noticeable scoring blitz, more so in the West, as many goalies still have some inflated numbers and pretty dismal records. As a result, more backups are getting early chances to show their stuff, which has in turn shown me a really interesting and effective trend regarding their development.

 

For all of the struggling goalies out there, the more important factor for fantasy owners is what will happen next with their value? Well, expect most of them to improve, but those that don’t adjust their game quickly will suffer the consequences statistically and invariably hinder their potential for the season. Three starting goalies in particular I feel will likely see their stock value fall over the next two weeks, and here’s why:

MARTY TURCO: 1-3-1 record with a 4.68 GAA and .814 Save Percentage
Last season Marty Turco was a big promoter of a new product called Bazi. It’s one of those super-fruit energy drinks that enhance clarity naturally thanks to a combination of eight different rare fruits, including the Jujube. He must not be taking it anymore, because he is just not focused at all. He seems distracted by something and I can tell this by his mental mistakes and depth in the net. His eyes are not tracking the puck for long enough, so many shots are getting through and tons of rebounds are popping out all over the place.

A major indication of whether or not he will struggle in a game is through a couple of early stickhandling situations. If he’s not nearly as crisp as usual, expect a less-than-perfect game. How does he control shots from the wings? If he pops some rebounds out right into the slot early, then timing is an issue. This could be a situation where, without Mike Smith pushing him for starts, Turco’s not competing very hard in practice.

JEAN-SEBASTIAN GIGUERE:
1-4-0 record with 3.02 GAA and .899 Save Percentage
No offensive support equals a bad win-loss record, but his shutout over the Sharks proves his stock is capable of rising more than the other struggling starters. But the team in front of him isn’t very proficient right now, as horrible outputs by their top forwards have put a ton of pressure on the defense. This has resulted in a lot more scoring chances around Jiggy’s crease and on PK’s, leading to tougher opportunities against.

I think Giguere’s days as a “blocking” goalie must come to an end after this season. The game is too fast and there are way too many great plays already this season where he’s forced to move laterally and across his crease in an instant. Giguere is struggling to make the second save because shots are coming faster at the net and at his feet in the hopes of more rebounds and that is difficult for him to manage right now.

MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF:
1-3-1 with a 4.36 GAA and .851 Save Percentage
Numerous defensive breakdowns and a lot of traffic in front of his net is the main reason why Kiprusoff is struggling statistically. Mentally, there is a major lack of focus, as there has not been a