This week's Capped discusses the goaltender trade targets for your upcoming trade deadlines.
As part of the fallout from the Ben Bishop deal among other non-moves at the trade deadline, we can expect some very interesting repercussions in the goalie market after the season. Looking slightly shorter term, the trade deadline just passed yesterday, and the deadline in most fantasy leagues is either today, or coming up in the next week. Hopefully we can make your league’s trade deadline less of a letdown than the NHL’s was. So for those of you who love procrastinating, and still need a goalie for the stretch run, you have come to the right place. Today’s column is going to run through a few options of bargain prices for starting goalies that could still make a big difference to close out the fantasy season.
Cam Ward (G) – Carolina Hurricanes
Contract – $3,300,000
Continuing with the Carolina theme from the past couple weeks, mainly because their schedule is so great, we have goaltender Ward getting featured today.
Individual players on Carolina are generally lower in acquisition price due to the fact that the team isn’t regarded as a fantasy powerhouse. As far as Ward’s numbers go, they have tailed off slightly since his hot start to the season, but they have still been solid on the whole. With Carolina getting to the point where they are out of the playoff race, and starting to sell off, fantasy owners may then want to part with Ward. Conversely, Carolina’s defence is largely intact, and as long as they stay healthy, should provide reasonable support for the rest of the season.
Ward does also have Eddie Lack to contend with. Lack posted a Shutout Friday against Ottawa, but then followed it up Sunday against Calgary, where he showed why he hasn’t been given more starts this season. Last night, Lack somehow allowed four goals on 16 shots in an overtime loss to the Lightning. All in all he should not be a big threat to steal starts. Ward also has the contract to keep himself in the starting position, and has been the go-to-guy in Carolina since their Stanley cup win in 2006. With a $3.3 Million dollar salary for a starting goalie, league average stats are what can be expected, and could be very useful, especially in leagues with counting stats such as wins, saves and shutouts.
Calvin Pickard (G) – Colorado Avalanche
Contract – $1,000,000
The Colorado Avalanche are by far the worst team in the NHL, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be found in the right situation. Personally, I have one head-to-head league in which my goaltending has been only Calvin Pickard over the last few weeks with a spot start here and there from a backup. What this does is it has allowed me to put all of my chips into winning the skater categories while maintaining mediocre goaltending stats. From there, winning a head-to-head week is fairly easy.
That would be the ideal fantasy situation for Pickard, is to be used only as necessary for a cheap boost (or stagnation in my case) in categories such as saves and wins. This would either be as a matchup based third starter, or similar to the above paragraph, just to ensure mediocre goalie starts. In addition, Pickard’s 2.34 GAA and 0.924 save percentage numbers from February show some promise for the possibility of a strong finish to the season.
James Reimer (G) – Florida Panthers
Contract – $3,400,000
James Reimer seems to be taking over from the starting goalie job from the 37-year-old Roberto Luongo sooner than most hockey minds expected. This is especially relevant considering Florida’s current run up the standings. If they are going to make the playoffs, then they are at the point in the season where they must pick one starter who they will roll with to close out the season. As Reimer has been the much better statistical goalie of late, he should be in like for the bulk of the starts down the stretch. With Florida also on a roll since Jonathan Huberdeau returned, there could be quite a few wins found here.
Owning a respectable 2.46 GAA and a save percentage of 0.919 thus far this season, his recent stats have been excellent. In his last seven starts (the month of February), Reimer has four wins, a GAA just above two, and a save percentage of 0.929. Those are tier one starter numbers. In a fantasy trade at this point, it is still possible to buy a little low on him because the presence of Luongo casts a shadow over his value. Reimer also finished last season exceptionally strong, and he is a good option to roll the dice on for the end of this season.
Michal Neuvirth (G) – Philadelphia Flyers
Current Contract – $1,625,000 (His recent extension kicks in next year for $2.5 Million a season, until July 1st 2019)
Having started all but two of the last 11 games for the Flyers, Michal Neuvirth is becoming a very viable fantasy option to close out the season. Like the Panthers above, the Flyers are also in the thick of the playoff race, and Steve Mason’s save percentage of 0.900% on the season is just not cutting it. Cue Neuvirth to swoop in and get the lion’s share of the starts down the stretch. Based on the fact that Neuvirth has only won three of those nine starts, even though he seems to be the favourite in the Flyers net, he may be undervalued by other fantasy managers.
Philadelphia then has four games in each of the big head-to-head playoff weeks (weeks 21-23). This is in addition to his bargain contract that sees him with a cap hit just a shade over one and a half million for the remainder of the season (his extension for next season is still a bargain, and could indicate him being kept as Philadelphia’s starter for next season).
Hopefully there is still some time for you to check in on the above players. Also to recap all (few) of the deadline deals, please check out the excellent breakdowns written up by Steve, Darryl and Ian.
Find me on twitter: @alexdmaclean
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