The Art of Internal Compete

Justin Goldman




The only way to bury the haunting ghosts of past failures is to focus fully on the current task at hand. In a season where slumps and losing streaks have hit outrageous levels for some, the importance of non-statistical goaltending factors is stronger than ever before. So if you're going to battle the pangs of tough weekly losses in your own fantasy league with any success, you need to heighten your sense of situational awareness.


For many of the top fantasy goalies, their path to the top is never a straightforward journey. It's a winding climb, a fall followed by a rise, followed by another fall. We've all heard the saying, "You have to lose before you can win…" and it certainly rings true for the likes of Craig Anderson, Ondrej Pavelec and Jaroslav Halak. But another phrase we hear often is, "You play like you practice…" and that is where the art of internal compete is revealed.


Compete. It seems so simple to understand, to execute. But at the end of the day, competing on a consistent basis is nearly impossible over the course of an 82-game season. And once a goalie's compete level is impacted by the infinite statistical and mental factors that flow in and out of their daily lives, it is the fantasy managers that are stirred into a dizzying array of tough decisions.


We never know what a goalie is truly thinking. We only see what they are doing. So what makes "Compete" such an art is the simple fact that no two games are alike, no two situations are the same and no two paths to a positive result are traveled in the same manner.


A few days ago I was asked to cover the recent play and fantasy outlook for three struggling goalies – Steve Mason, Niklas Backstrom and Marc-Andre Fleury. As soon as all three were named, the term Compete all but slapped me in the face. For each of these goalies, could their compete level truly be the source of their struggles? Let's find out.




Fleury's current stat-line reveals that he's been mediocre at best. He's currently 10-6-0 with a 2.52 GAA and only a .904 save percentage. He's struggling with a four-game losing streak in which he's allowed 13 goals against. And when it comes to Fleury's compete level, it has to be scrutinized. I watched him in San Jose and he's just not focused on tracking the puck in his zone on a consistent basis. It shows in his weak rebound control and his inability to make the timely save.


Although I rarely spend time crunching numbers, I noticed that the last two times he has started in the s