To be short and sweet, it's time for another School of Block fantasy mailbag! So head on over to the forums and drop us your burning and most pertinent fantasy goalie questions. And even though I didn't have a full-blown diatribe for this week, there were five interesting fantasy topics that caught my eye last week, as I continue to wait with great anticipation for August to expire.
1. Clint Malarchuk is now the goalie consultant (not coach) for the Atlanta Thrashers, so he's working with their goalies at all levels. I suggest reading this story that discusses his influence on two former students – Roberto Luongo and Pascal Leclaire. Both of those goalies are nothing like Ondrej Pavelec. But the development paths for all of them, in relation to being coached by Malarchuk, have interesting timing. He helped Luongo reach that "elite" status in Florida, he helped Leclaire establish himself as a legitimate workhorse starter in Columbus, and now he's poised to put Pavelec on the map as a starter as well. What makes Malarchuk successful is his ability to understand those goalies, his timing on when to convince them to make changes, suggest and implement changes. Will he be able to get through to Pavelec and make changes to his game in this manner? How will Pavelec take the pending critiques and potential changes? The talent ceiling is high, but the floor is also very low. Either way, I love the move to bring in Malarchuk and I think it draws a pretty nice picture for Pavelec's fantasy value to start this season.
2. Check out this highlight video of recently drafted New Jersey Devils goalie Scott Wedgewood. Taken in the third round, the current Plymouth Whalers goalie surprised a lot of scouts around the league with his small size but big heart. Now search some video or scouting reports on Jeff Frazee. Both are considered "smaller" goalies. Both are clearly skilled. But the manner in which Wedgewood stops the puck is, in my opinion, much more refined and effective for today's NHL. Wedgewood will be developing at a faster rate than Frazee due to playing juniors as opposed to NCAA hockey. And although this is merely a hypothetical, if you were the Devils' director of player development, who would you see as a more potent prospect in a few more years? Things are already difficult for Frazee thanks to Mike McKenna, but if he doesn't separate himself from the pack soon, there might be another goalie devouring some of his playing time in the AHL.
3. Every journalist and hockey fan will tell you that cliché answers during an interview are frustrating. But in my opinion, it's a fun challenge to pay close attention and decipher the ones that have more substance behind it. For example, my interview with Florida Panthers prospect Marc Cheverie last week at the DU Pro Alumni Camp. When asked about the impact Alex Salak's move to Sweden had on him (around 2:30), he responded with a very solid and professional answer and said it didn't really matter. But the competitive goaltender, especially one in his situation, will always feel a big boost of confidence from such a move. It not only opens up a spot for him to win in t