Eleven Goalie Prospects to Watch in 2011
There's no better way to kick off the new calendar year than by writing a School of Block lesson that reflects the general psyche of a goaltender. So instead of looking behind us and recapping 2010, I want to look ahead and help you prepare for what could be a 2011 stuffed to the brim with goalie prospects.
FANTASY MAILBAG – January 3
Just look at all of the prospects making their NHL debut these days. Richard Bachman for the Stars, Nathan Lawson for the Islanders, Cedrick Desjardins for the Lightning and James Reimer for the Maple Leafs alone has created a surge in the development of their team's goalie depth charts. And I don't expect it to slow down anytime soon.
There are just way too many solid AHL and European goalies stepping up their game and looking for that elusive opportunity. And the more I watch tournaments like the World Junior Championships and the Memorial Cup, the more I find even younger talent displaying the mental toughness needed to excel at the professional level.
With that being said, below are 11 prospects I feel will have an impact on the fantasy goalie scene in 2011. If you want to know more about some of my comments below, drop me a line in the comments section or in this week's Fantasy Goalie Mailbag! Please note that no current NHL goalie is included on this list. Goalies like Cory Schneider, Jon Bernier, Corey Crawford and Sergei Bobrovsky, in my mind, are already stars and legit fantasy assets.
Jhonas Enroth – Although his lack of size will limit his long-term NHL success, Enroth has clearly established he's ready for the next level. More importantly, he improved his ability to read plays and react to the shooter's release with each game he played during his stint with Buffalo earlier this season. His work ethic and positive attitude is a good influence on his teammates and that makes him a perfect backup to Ryan Miller next season.
Leland Irving – What happens if the Flames decide to part ways with Henrik Karlsson? Similar to what we saw in Chicago with Corey Crawford, Calgary has been patient with Irving's development. He's done an excellent job rebounding from last year's dismal season and that has made him even stronger than before. Irvin