This is Part 2 of my fantasy outlook blog, for those of you who missed Part 1 on players
, please check it out here:
So, just as a refresher, the basis of this blog is to assess those fantasy assets who I see taking a step up in the 2012/2013 season. Although that doesn't necessarily mean a goalie would go from a 3.83 GAA to a 1.56 GAA in one season, thats impossible right? (Cough, cough), it does set the tone for those who could be selected in a later round when in reality will be worth an earlier round selection.
... For anyone who didn't catch that statistical reference, that was the jump Brian Elliott made last season. He literally more then halved his goals against average. What is the equivalent to steroids in hockey?
Anyway, onward and upward.
- Backstrom put up a .919 save percentage and a 2.43 GAA last season, his best stats in about 5 seasons. Yes, he is one of the older gentlemen, but at a meager (for goalies anyway) 34 years old, he has a lot of fight left in him. Consistently a starting guy, averaging roughly 57 games a season since '07, I would put my faith in him retaining around 50 - 55 games from the recently signed Harding. With an improved team in front of him, I can only expect his stats to improve as well.
Expectation: 51GP 26W 17L 8OT .917 % 2.36 GAA
- Ah, the Hurricanes. How did they win that cup again? Oh ya, This guy. Simply put, Ward is a phenom in nets, one of the leagues very best, and plagued by a bad team with a worse defense. Poor bastard. But seriously, after posting some of the worst splits in his career, he still managed above 500 and there is a good chance, at the very least, you can grab him behind Rinne, Quick, Lundqvist, (possibly halak, fleury, Smith, Bryz etc. if the people in your pool are clueless). Oh, and the team improved a bit
Expectations: 64GP 36W 17L 11OT .916% 2.56GAA
You may be saying, "Nick, What the hell man?, these are some fairly obvious starters that lots of people pick". And ya you would be right, sort of. So lets take a shot here with some guys you wouldn't expect in early rounds.
- You swedish son of a female dog you. 24 years young, strong numbers at the NHL level, Getting a shot at a starting job. Why not right? With tutelage from the fantastic Rinne, and an already powerful skill set, the kid has the opportunity to be great. He's also a fair sized mammoth at 6'6, 200 pounds. I'm going to assume he will get a vast majority of starts in Boltville, with the unimpressive Garon trying to adjust his pacemaker.
Expectations: 48GP 28W 13L 7OT .911% 2.58GAA
- In 7 regular season games last year, this young man posted a 4-2-1 2.59GAA .922%...... Not bad huh? Oh, and did I mention he almost led the Caps to the conference championship, with 0 NHL playoff experience and less then 25 NHL games. And he's also only 22 years old. And to sum it all up, he ran Vokoun out of town. Kids going to nab at LEAST half the games this season, My guess? He gets the hot hand nod, 50 games this season.
(P.s. He is 14-4-3 in his NHL career with a 2.02 and a .929%)
Expectations: 50GP 29W 10L 11OT .920% 2.55GAA
And a final section that I like to call, Take a chance on me.
..... I'm so sorry, God I hate ABBA.
Yes, Anderson will, in a perfect world, take the load for the majority of the season.
But in all honesty, I dont think he can do it again this year, whether it be by injury, by poor stats, or losses, he will need to share the starts.
Bishop I honestly don't see as a fit in Ottawa. I think they will move him eventually.
Lehner is phenomenal, he is a consistent goalie prospect who is often touted as one of the best upcoming goalies in the league, he has posted strong numbers for a 21 year old at the NHL level, and he can only go up from here. With a miniscule 2.01GAA and .934% last year, the kid has potential. Big time. A good choice for a 3rd goalie who can be subbed in every couple games (or more!)
Expectation: 28GP 17W 7L 4OT 2.33GAA .922%
Thanks for the read. Please feel free to jump in on the discussion in the comments section, be happy to wage in on some other ideas. Also, I will be writing a Part 3 within the week most likely, outlining players to avoid who will be on the decline.
Lehner will need to step up big time if he wants to play 28 games. He got lit up at the development camp.
I am thinking that his playing time will be more out of necessity. If Anderson struggles or is injured he will have to play. But you are right, regardless he will have to step up to battle it out with Bishop for the right to take the reigns.