The Bada$$ Backups

Justin Goldman




There's nothing I hate more than sketchy, unstable goaltenders and goalie situations. I'm talking about the Pascal Leclaire, Rick DiPietro, Marty Turco and Nikolai Khabibulin's of the world. Even though they could easily be key pieces to your fantasy team’s puzzle, sheer instincts tell you to stay as far away from them as possible. Why? Because something always seems to go terribly wrong.


What could possibly lead someone to acquire or draft these lepers? Is it desperation? Is it for the adrenaline rush that comes from blindly rolling the dice? Do people have some sort of life-altering lucid dream and foresee change? Either way, you never know what could happen unless you are willing to take a risk.


As entertaining as that might seem, taking the path less traveled will often get you lost. Instead, you might just want to acquire a steady-eddy, low-risk veteran backup. If you decide to take the path more traveled, you can start them without hesitation and focus on the more important things, like winning the offense categories.


But in order to better draft backups, you should first know what makes one more valuable from the other.


When it comes to the NHL backup, the most successful ones somehow appear totally comfortable entering a game when they're actually rusty or unprepared. They also display high levels of confidence regardless of their timing and rhythm being on or off.


The best backups are also mentally ready to perform at the drop of a hat. If the starter gets sick, the best backups don't freak out or lose control of their emotions or pre-game routine. They act like getting the start is no big deal and they play in a pressure-free manner.


The best backups are used to working hard in practice and staying late to support the team. Because of this, they have no problem displaying durability within a game, and their demeanor doesn't change if the pressure rises. They always remain even-keeled and confident, and they always bring a positive and "team-first" attitude to the rink.


Finally, the best backups display leadership qualities. They're often elder statesmen, ones that relied on work ethic and smarts to extend their careers. They also embrace the fact they're not considered the "go-to" goalie anymore. For the best backups, they no longer question if and when that one big chance comes, but rather ask how much longer they can go until retirement ends the journey.


This takes a certain sense of understanding and maturity to swallow that pride, step back and focus on being effective in other areas for the good of the team. Because of this, they often perform in a much more relaxed ma