Men on an Island

Justin Goldman




A goalie's performance is shaped as much by the audience as by the actual goaltender. Each and every game is scrutinized in relation (or in comparison) to the demands and expectations of the viewer. Goaltending, even on a basic level, is a very difficult position to analyze. Therefore the viewer's ability to understand the goalie's state of mind will always play a major role in how that goalie's performance, and thus their fantasy value and upside, is portrayed.




For that reason alone, I stress three things on a continual basis in the School of Block. First of all, watch your goalies as much as humanly possible. Secondly, pay attention to the mental aspects of the position. Finally, don't let stats fully dictate your decisions. Sure, many of my articles may not seem "fantasy relevant" in a direct manner. But if I'm teaching you about aspects that reveal your goalie's state of mind, it will surely have relevancy in your fantasy realm.


No doubt about it, the world of goalie analysis is filled with tons of mixed and misinformed messages. But the more you watch, the more you know. It's that simple. A goalie's state of mind is the essence of why they perform above expectations, or the reason why they are performing below expectations. So the more you understand their attitude, mannerisms and character, the better you will be at weeding out the misinformed messages and deceptive stats.


One deceptive goaltending situation that seems to happen at least once a season is the unfortunate plague of injuries that forces a team to rely on depth to survive. When the third, fourth or fifth-string goalie get thrown into a game that is clearly out of their league, it's that much tougher to analyze their potential and fantasy value. And if you can't watch the game from start to finish, you're left to learn from beat writers and journalists that usually don't understand the mental aspects of the position. They just tell the story for what it is, not why it is.


Enter the New York Islanders. They've had to rely on Rick DiPietro, Dwayne Roloson, Nathan Lawson, Kevin Poulin, Mikko Koskinen, and now Al Montoya, to win games. All six have done so, in some way shape or form, and therefore have impacted their short and long-term fantasy value.


Because of this situation – one in which four of the six goalies made their Isles or NHL debut over the last two months – I wanted to assess their future fantasy value, while also shedding light on the difficult