A Perfect Circle

Justin Goldman




Remember back in October when I broke down the issues goalies were having with intense traffic in front, numerous deflections and re-directions? Well, after the first week back from the Olympics, I can safely say we've witnessed an exact replica of what transpired in the first month of the season.


We're literally back at square one. It's déjà vu all over again, and not just with the goaltending. Hits to the head are also a hot issue, so with the GM Meetings taking place this week, it looks like changes are certainly on their way.


Ask yourself why Roberto Luongo and Martin Brodeur are struggling just like they were in October. Why was Cristobal Huet lit up against the Red Wings? Why are goalies getting pulled left and right again? The answer is clear and simple – traffic and bodies in front of the net are crowding the crease and forcing goalies to play deeper than they'd like. It's a battle for space and positioning, and just like in October, the goalies are losing.


True to form, there will be a transition period over the next few weeks where the goals against will slowly start to drop. But right now it's pure chaos out there and scoring is way up, so make decisions accordingly. Look for the goalies that have establish their positioning high in the crease, are controlling their rebounds and do a good job of looking around bodies in order to find pucks. That's what it takes to be a successful fantasy goalie right now.


If you've watched Luongo's games over the last week, his struggles have been an exact replica of the ones he had in October. Too many bodies and screens in front are forcing him to set up a step or two deeper in his crease than he's comfortable playing. He will need to get some help from his defensemen, as they have to clear the bodies away and tie up sticks in order to eliminate those tips and deflections. For whatever reason, Luongo struggles with visual eye attachment when bodies are in the way and it shows in his demeanor and overall positioning. You can tell he's fighting the puck right now, but it's only a matter of time before the confidence returns and he's back on track.


Probably the biggest fantasy goalie issue right now takes place in Chicago. Cristobal Huet's weak performance against Detroit on Sunday has caused quite a ruckus with the fans. Although I've explained this many times before, let me just quickly reiterate that Huet does not fit in Chicago's system, and he never will. He's a goalie that thrives on being in a rhythm and that is rarely accomplished on a team where the shots and the starts are not consistent. He faces tough scoring chances and very few routine shots, so he's often caught struggling in games where his timing is off or he ju