Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The goalie rankings

Since goalies are again, by far the most important position in yahoo fantasy, here's my personal rankings for most of the top goalies on yahoo.

1. Miikka Kiprusoff (Yahoo rank: 3d among goalies)-Kipper, Luongo and Brodeur are in a class of their own above all other fantasy goalies, of course. But why Kipper above Louie and Brodeur? Fist of all, he underachieved last season and should have a bounce-back year. Also, far more importantly: contract year! contract year! contract year! In the end, though, youre fine picking any of the top 3 guys in each other's place and so for all practical purposes the distinction between 1 and 3 isn't that big a deal. Just feel that Kipper has the edge this year.

2. Luongo (Yahoo rank: 1st among goalies)-Had his coming-out party last year but there's still a lot of unfinished business with him, considering he was shut out in awards voting, the Canucks didn't get past the second round, and his mistake at the end of game 5. No drop-off predicted.

3. Brodeur (Yahoo rank: 2nd among goalies)-With him there will indeed be a drop-off, partly because he had the 2nd best season of his career last year, and partly because the Devils are going to be quite a bit worse this year, or at least that's what it looks like. If you've got him, consider trying to trade him for Lulongo or Kiprusoff.

4. Henrik Lundqvist (holy crap I spelled that right on the first try, also, Yahoo rank: 7th among goalies)-He doesn't get as much credit as he should. Year in and year out(fine, for the past 2 years) this guy's right behind the three top guys, quietly finishing 3d in Vezina voting for both the past two years. A far surer bet than the three guys ranked 4 to 6.

5. Evgeni Nabokov (Yahoo rank: 8th among goalies)-Again, always good to go with a sure thing. Has the team to himself now, and the Sharks look good yet again this year.

6. Niklas Backstrom (Yahoo rank: 6th among goalies)-We're now out of the first two tiers and are at the point in the rankings that everyone listed starts to have some sort of flaw that keeps them from being considered a sure-thing like the first 5 guys. I'm actually not as high on Backstrom as most people. He put up his crazy good stats playing only the last few months of last year, while his team was going on an insane run of it's own (2nd best record in the league after Christmas). Any goalie's going to put up good stats when his team's playing .750 hockey for 3 months. Don't expect him to keep up that .929 save percentage this season. The main reason I'd still take him as high as he's ranked, though, is that this looks to be a big year for Minnesota (after they went through all that BS with the Gaborik injury and the bad start last year, they probably just want a full season to show what they can do) and they're almost always one of the best teams in the league in terms of goals allowed anyway. And anyways, when Kipper first got traded to Calgary and finished those last two months on a tear a lot of people (including me) said he couldn't keep it going next year either. He's more of a gamble than people think, but still worth a high pick.

7. J.S. Giguere (Yahoo rank: 5th among goalies)-I'm kind of reluctant to even place him this high. Never underestimate the power of a Stanley Cup hangover. The Ducks have also downgraded pretty significantly this year: from Selanne to Bertuzzi, from Neidemayer to Schneider, and losing Penner. Considering he just got a new contract, just won the Stanley Cup, and has some family concerns with his son's situation, the movitation's got to be at an all-time low for him. At the same time, he's still a better bet than the guys behind him.

8. Ray Emery (Yahoo rank: 15th among goalies)-Good stats last year (essentially the same as Giguere's, with a slightly worse GAA), good team, why take him any lower?

9. Marty Turco (Yahoo rank: 9th among goalies)-Probably the lowest he's been ranked in the past few years. There's nothing wrong with him, but Dallas really doesn't look good this year.

10. Dominic Hasek (Yahoo rank: 4th among goalies)-Well I guess I had to have him on here at some point. The risk of injury is just too huge to spend a top-round pick on him. Considering that that Detroit might also be slipping a bit this year (of course people say this every year), and I don't think he's worth the risk anywhere higher than here. His backup might make a good low-round pick though...

11. Manny Legace (Yahoo rank: 20th among goalies)-St. Louis was among the best teams in the league to finish the season last year, and they look to be equally good this year (they got the Paul Kariya seal of approval after all). Legace's save% in Dec, Jan and Feb last year, when St. Louis started playing better: .931, .920, .906. Also has a .915 career save percentage. Any pick you make at this point is going to be a bit of a risk, and he seems the best one to take at this spot in the rankings.

12. Rick DiPietro (Yahoo rank: 14th among goalies)-Quietly put up surprisingly good stats last season (.919 save percentage on a 8th place team), and you know he'll get lots of playing time. Of course, if you're one of those people that thinks the Islanders will finish last in the league just because they're the Islanders, stay away.

13. Chris Manson (Yahoo rank: 12th among goalies)-Seeing what his stats were last year, you'd think he should be ranked higher (Alan Ryder at Hockey Analytics claims there's a case to be made that he was the best goalie in the league last year). Nonetheless, that was for a team that finished third in the league in points. I don't think the Preds' collapse will be as complete as generally assumed, but they're obviously not the same team they were last year.

14. Marc-Andre Fleury (Yahoo rank: 10th among goalies)-A good example of a goalie who'll get bad stats on a good team. If you just need wins, then by all means pick him higher than this. He won't do your goals against or save percentage any good.

15. Vesa Toskala (Yahoo rank: 23d among goalies)-You know how in my comments about Backstrom I said that a goalie can look better than he is when he finishes the season as the starter for a team that's really hot? Toskala's save percentage when this happerned to him three seasons ago: .930. His save percentages for the next 2 years: .901, .908. I dont know what kind of saviour he's gonna be for the Leafs. Nonetheless, for some reason I just can't rank him any lower.

16. Thomas Vokoun (Yahoo rank: 11th among goalies)-Good goalie, bad team. Not much else to say.

No comments: