Geek of the Week – Braden Holtby
Braden Holtby’s stellar season as a reminder: never draft a goalie in the 1st round.
Goalies are a strange animal in fantasy hockey because they are incredibly important to your team's success but they are also extremely volatile and hard to predict. Today, I am going to try to help show the value of goaltenders and decide how we should proceed trying to acquire them with my latest Geek of the Week: Braden Holtby.
In the Geek of the Week series, I have historically avoided goalies like the plague because they're just so hard to predict and place a value on, but Holtby really stood out to me this week. I was running my league on Fantasy Hockey Geek from December 1st onwards to try to get an idea of who's hot and who's up and coming. I was interested to see that TJ Oshie is finally heating up, Dustin Byfuglien is a beast again and Mathieu Perrault might actually be for real. What really stood out to me though was Holtby:
Since Dec 1st, Holtby has been the most valuable goalie in my league and the third most valuable player overall. Looking at his numbers, I realized a couple things. First of all, Holtby is getting a lot of games (first amongst all tenders in this time period) which is key in any league that includes cumulative stats for goalies (wins, shutouts, saves). Secondly, I was surprised to see that his value was so high given that his GAA and SV% are good but not great. What this tells me is that the math shows that the more important factor to a goalie's value is my league is his Win and Shutout totals. Holtby's 14(!) wins and three shutouts since December first is head and shoulders above all other goalies in the league. Compare Holtby to Price who had a .924 SV% and 2.37 GAA, both of which are better than Holtby. With five less wins and three less shutouts though, Price is only the 10th best goalie in this timeframe though while Holtby is #1. Let's take a look at where Holtby sits amongst all tenders since Dec 1:
|Goalie Rank||Overall Rank||Player||FHG Value||Games Played||W||SO||SV%||GAA|
Looking at the goalie rankings that I generated through FHG, it is very evident that wins and shutouts are key. This is a huge eye opener to me. In the past, I would have put way too much value on a guy with Hutchison type numbers (great averages and low wins and SOs) but thanks to FHG I really learned something here. How can Holtby be worth that much more than Price over this time period when Price is better at two categories and Holtby is better at two?
The reason is that what Holtby has been better at, he has been A LOT better at: His 14 wins are 55% better than Price's and he has three shutouts to Price's 0. One single shutout can often win you that category for the week so each of those three shutouts could potentially represent a point right in the standings. On the flipside, when you compare Price's stronger stats we are talking about a difference of .07 SV% and .03 GAA which is miniscule. This is by far the biggest learning for me this week. The difference between a 38 win goalie and a 30 win goalie may not seem huge, but it is a 27% improvement. The difference between six shutouts or four (for example) is also big. I will be paying much more attention to wins and shutouts going forward.
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