The Top 10 backup goalies in the NHL
It is inevitable that every pro goalie will, at some point in their career, sit on the bench as a backup. Unfortunately for most of them, this is where they will spend the majority of their careers. There are only 30 No.1 positions available so unless you were drafted first overall … oh wait – that didn't work out too well for Mr. DiPietro!
It is not easy being a backup goalie, you have to be ready at a moment's notice and often times after not playing for two to three weeks. This season has seen a few long-term injuries to No.1 goalies and quite a few of the backups have responded very well. Playing more games in succession can boost a backup goalie's confidence or it could send him spiraling back to fantasy purgatory.
We are very close to the midway point of the season so let's take a look at the Top 10 fantasy backup goalies that have performed well over the first half. This list has been compiled based on statistics for a "points-only" season where wins are one-point and shut-outs are two. Did I miss anyone? Comment below
#10 – Marek Mazanec, NSH
When Pekka Rinne suffered a hip infection and was placed on injured reserved many thought that the Predator's season was in jeopardy. For the most part those that thought that way were correct; Nashville has a huge battle in front of them if they hope to make the playoffs. The tandem of Mazanec and Hutton is proving to be a little more challenging than originally speculated; both have played 21 games and won seven of them. Mazanec does have two shutouts this season so that is why he made this list. He has faced more shots (550) than anyone else listed here but he has also given up more goals (53) as well. Mazanec, like McElhinney, needs his numbers to improve in a big way. He is currently sporting a save-percentage of .904 and a goals-against average of 2.82
With Rinne still out for the foreseeable future, Mazanec needs to seize this opportunity and capitalize to the best of his ability. Unless he or Hutton can string some wins together look for a 50/50 split the rest of the way until Rinne returns.
#9 – Curtis McElhinney, CLB
Since being drafted in 2002 McElhinney has suited up for five NHL teams, playing in 88 games over six seasons. He has almost matched his career best in wins (9), which isn't saying much when you consider that in 19 games played this campaign he has seven wins with two shutouts. It also didn't help that Columbus had a few players on the injured reserve list, which may have resulted in a couple more wins had they been in the lineup. McElhinney has responded relatively well considering the team in front of him and currently has the same save-percentage (.909) as the reigning Vezina winner. He has also faced a ridiculous amount of shots, which is good if you are in a league that counts saves. Over the first half of the season he saved 468 shots and let in 47 goals. His goals-against average is 2.81 and it is this number, along with the others, that need to improve if he wants his career to move in a positive direction.