The Distance Between

Justin Goldman




The keen fantasy manager cares little about who currently dominates the crease. Instead, they care more about who is going to dominate next. Whether you're molding a keeper team for future seasons or simply taking mental notes for next year's draft, you gain more wisdom by knowing which goalies are making solid strides today in order to build a foundation for a better tomorrow.


At this stage of the season, you should have plenty of well-defined opinions regarding the fantasy value of goalies like Michal Neuvirth, Ondrej Pavelec, Tuukka Rask, Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Quick. If you don't, or you still have specific questions regarding any goalie, you can always toss me a question in the weekly fantasy goalie mailbag.




For those that follow me on a regular basis, you know I've shed plenty of light on aspects of the position that allow you to decipher aspects of a goalie's game. Whether it's shadowing the starter, using the pop-up and hop-step technique, or simply having really active hands, there are millions of signs out there if you know how to look for them.


But fantasy goalie analysis is a never-ending story. There's always a hidden layer of stats to examine, a new chapter to their story to dissect. And as I learned last week, sometimes it's what a goalie doesn't do that makes them so unique and valuable.


An example of this was Pavelec's dominating win over Boston on Sunday. While Rask was suffering from weak execution on his blocker side, Pavelec was staying up on his skates and eliminating space by using a more traditional post coverage technique. Rask, along with most top-flight NHL goalies, uses the VHS and paddle-down technique on a consistent basis.


Pavelec, on the other hand, does not. In fact, he almost went the entire game without dropping into that stance once. This conservation of energy helped lead Thrashers to another big win, one in which Ondrej never looked tired. So by not using an advanced save selection, one that I've said is way overused, Pavelec actually proves he's even more durable and valuable.


I'm not surprised by his tremendous play. I said in Dobber's Fantasy Guide that he was a goalie to watch for, and all season long I said to put him on your radar. Hopefully you paid attention and are now reaping the rewards. But managers be warned – member kytmagic pointed out to us that Atlanta plays three potent teams in Colorado, Pittsburgh and Washington this week.


Ultimately, this week's lesson is about understanding how a goalie invariably experiences success and failure, but each result reveals one or two traits that help you piece together the puzzle of their long-term fantasy value. Whether you're im