With the 2011 Memorial Cup tournament getting some well-deserved exposure on NHL Network over the weekend, I had the chance to scout and assess the fantasy value for three different CHL goaltenders.
The first game took place on Saturday and resulted in Owen Sound's Jordan Binnington shutting out Kootenay and 19-year-old Nathan Lieuwen by a score of 5-0. On Sunday afternoon, Lieuwen bounced back with a strong showing against Mississauga, but JP Anderson was just one shot better and led the St. Michael's Majors to a 2-1 victory.
FANTASY MAILBAG – MAY 23
Below you will find some traditional scouting notes on all three goalies, with a strong emphasis on the undrafted Binnington and Lieuwen. Below the notes are a few paragraphs projecting and assessing their potential fantasy value. As always, feel free to follow up with questions in today's Fantasy Mailbag!
And in case you missed it, I also dropped some analysis on the signing of Scott Stajcer, J-F Berube and Corey Crawford. I also shed some light on the reported signing of Alex Salak.
JORDAN BINNINGTON: Displayed above-average patience and quality controlled movements for a 17-year-old … I consider him to play a calm butterfly style that relies more on positioning than reflexes … Displayed a strong sense of sealing his pads to the ice … Good absorption rate on many shots above the waist … Solid patience when reacting, especially during a fast-paced first period … Has a calm, composed demeanor and quiet footwork … Does a good job of letting pucks come to him … Has an above-average goalie IQ and did a good job of challenging in appropriate situations … Needs a stronger and wider range of movement and more flexibility with his hip rotations … Very solid puck-moving goalie that likes to be aggressive by making head-man passes … His wide butterfly allows for solid lower-net coverage … Calm body language a result of a calm, quiet mindset … Finished with 29 saves for the shutout, including 15 in the second period
Overall, I was very impressed with Binnington's game, especially for a 17-year-old. He has very good patience and plays a sound "calm butterfly" style. Those two elements are usually connected to each other, so the whole game was a great display of his abilities. Rarely did Jordan get caught in a situation where he was out of control.
As the third-ranked draft-eligible domestic goalie for next month's NHL Entry Draft, I expect Binnington to be selected early in the second round, or possibly sooner. Usually once one goalie gets plucked, one or two more are quickly chosen. And if Binnington continues to play this well through the Memorial Cup, he could be the first goalie selected.
In regards to his style setting him up for a future success, Binnington has a lot of good things going for him. I consider him to already be a positionally sound goaltender, mainly due to his patience. He also has a great combination of net coverage and the ability to absorb shots. Because of this, I saw a goalie who manages his body and pucks very well, leading me to believe that durability should be one of his stronger points by the time he turns pro.
Two more years in the OHL, plus one to two years in the AHL seems like a fair projection for Binnington's path to the pros. Of course this could change depending on whic