40 Wins to Freedom

Justin Goldman

2011-04-11

Price

 

With another season in the books, are you surprised to find that not a single goalie notched 40 wins? I'm not. More prospects took advantage of more opportunities, while many of the elite workhorses played less. In my opinion, this is a visible change in the workload paradigm that will continue to shift as the clock ticks towards your next fantasy draft.

 

FANTASY MAILBAG – APRIL 11

 

This shift stems from two different forces. The first force would be the success NHL teams have had with tandems this season. The second force would be the plethora of prospects proving their worth and taking advantage of opportunities. Let's look at both dynamics and how they should change your approach in goal for next season.

 

The Capitals, Flyers, Bruins, Lightning, Sharks, Canucks and Ducks all made the Stanley Cup with goalies that played 60 or less games and had plenty of energy down the stretch. But the Hurricanes and Flames, two teams with two elite goalies that played more than 70 games, once again found themselves on the outside looking in.

 

Cam Ward logged more minutes (4317:15) than any other goalie this year. He started 74 games, notched 37 wins (tied for 2nd), and stopped more shots (2191) than anyone. He did post a very fantasy friendly .923 save percentage, but when his team needed him in the final game, he clearly lacked the focus and energy needed to win.

 

Knowing that Ward played more than any other goalie this year, what will the Hurricanes do in regards to his workload next season? Rest assured they will look to play Justin Peters more often in the first half of the season. That way, if they need a major playoff push in March and April, Ward will be much more rested down the stretch.

 

It's only a prediction at this point, but there's no way I see Ward starting more than 70 games next year. Just like the Canucks, the Hurricanes won't make the same mistake twice. If only the Flames could have paid closer attention.

 

Miikka Kiprusoff started 71 games this year and although he also notched 37 wins, he only posted a .906 save percentage and fell just short of the playoffs. Henrik Karlsson showed tremendous promise in the limited action he saw, but what can he accomplish if he only plays in 15 games, and only five since late-January?

 

The only true X-factor this year was Carey Price. He played in a whopping 72 games and still earned a playoff spot. He tied Roberto Luongo with 38 wins this season, yet he played 617 more minutes and faced 394 more shots. At his age and in that market, Price's play is a true testament to the elite skills he has. Clearly, he's already considered as one of the top starting