Now that we're three solid weeks into the NHL season, I've been able to re-affirm a number of trends I've witnessed and better understand another puck-stopping dynamic that separate a pro goalie from an elite goalie. Today's lesson should go a long way in acting as a theoretical guide for what I've learned and truly help you make better fantasy decisions with your own goaltenders. It will also teach you how the brilliant Tim Thomas shatters this dynamic to the point he's once again the best goalie in the NHL.
FANTASY MAILBAG: NOVEMBER 1
The economy of movement, it seems, is more important to the success of a pro goalie than ever before. I watch a goalie like Michal Neuvirth, who is just a rookie, and then I look at a goalie like Craig Anderson. Clearly, both are tremendous athletes and have an excellent ability to stop the puck in their own unique way.
Neuvirth, who went 7-3-0 with a 2.15 goals against average and .926 save percentage, was so successful in October due in large part to his ability to minimize his movements in an economical way. He rarely got caught over-committing or over amplifying his footwork. He was rarely caught diving or lunging or losing his balance in an awkward manner. He made saves by getting the center of his chest behind pucks, staying upright and keeping his body language very quiet, calm and composed.
This minimalistic approach to playing the position not only looks much more visually appealing from my scouting perspective, but if you look goaltending as a whole from a tactical standpoint in October, it was very successful. And there were a multitude of examples of this playing out within games and goalies over the past few weeks.
Anderson went 3-4-0 with a 3.15 goals against average and .907 save percentage in October and struggled partially because he doesn't rely on solid fundamentals, technique or positioning. He's a "read and react" goalie that does whatever it takes to stop the puck. He dives, scrambles and tries to get his body behind the puck in a less-efficient manner compared to a goalie like Neuvirth. Is it effective? Sure. Is it great to watch a goalie work extremely hard and thrive on his focus and energy? Absolutely. But the position is all about precision and consistency. In my opinion, I don't see much efficiency in Anderson's game. It works, but it does not equal an economy of movement. And now he's injured for an undetermined amount of time.
Answer this – what makes Dwayne Roloson so successful at his age? Simply put, he works extremely hard at moving only as much as he needs to. He works with his goalie coach, Sudsy Maharaj,