Autobot or Decepticon – 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-02-14

AnttiRaanta


Laidlaw looks at nine of this year’s surprise starters and let’s you know which ones are for real.

 

With Transformers making its return to the box office this summer it is high time we saw the return of my Autobots vs. Decepticons piece. If you recall, this is where I look at all the netminders that have sprung to fantasy relevance seemingly out of nowhere.

 

If you've followed my articles and ramblings over the years, you'll recall that I tend to believe there are around 100 goalies actively playing on the planet who could become starters in the NHL. With skill established as a baseline, all any of those goalies needs is the opportunity, timing and luck in order to stick and have success.

 

With the injury woes and general struggles of many goaltenders this season has seen an exceptional number of backups and prospects achieve fantasy relevance. Knowing who to hitch your ride to and who to cut bait on is a huge decision. So, who are the Autobots and who are the Decepticons?


Frederik Andersen – 14-3-0 – 2.06 GAA – 0.928 Save%


The Anaheim goalie situation could be a whole article on its own. The Ducks have done a great job of talent evaluation, coaching and development with their goaltenders. They now sit on a gluttony of riches with Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth established at the NHL level and future stud John Gibson developing on the farm. Andersen's emergence this season was just icing on the cake.

 

I think he's a legitimate talent. He has the great size that predominates the goaltending ranks these days at 6'4" and plays with very solid positioning and fundamentals. His numbers across all levels are rather impressive. That includes leading the Swedish Elitserien in both goals-against average (1.62) and save percentage (0.943) across 39 appearances on his way to a Rookie of the Year nomination in 2011-12.

 

He then came across the pond putting up a 2.19 GAA and 0.929 save percentage in 47 games for Norfolk of the AHL. His NHL numbers this season are almost identical.

 

Talent is not in question. What I would be worried about is whether he has the fortitude to be a regular starter at the NHL level. Last se