SUN Hockey Pool

NHL fantasy preview: Back end

Boston Bruins' Tim Thomas celebrates defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game 6 of the NHL Stanley...

Boston Bruins' Tim Thomas celebrates defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game 6 of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff in Boston, Massachusetts, June 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

JOEL COLOMBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:06 AM ET

GOALIES

It's tough to accurately grade goalkeepers for the simple reason that they are most often the product of the defensive talent and, more importantly, system in front of them. You get the occasional exception-such as Tim Thomas or, before him, Dominik Hasek-who can win a game by themselves with their unorthodox, acrobatic styles. But with the butterfly training most have had ingrained into them, plus the size of the pads now, you're not going to blow a shot past an NHL goalie too often when he is squared up and has a clear line of vision. It's the teams that pick up their checks, reduce the number of shots, keep the crease clear and don't leave Steve Stamkos open on the far wing that let in the fewest goals.

About all we can gleen from our research is that, of the 30 No. 1 goalkeepers, there are probably 12 or 13 you'd feel comfortable owning, just as many with red flags you'll draft simply because the rules state that you need at least one, and finally a few you want nowhere near your fantasy lineup, though they at least provide minutes.

So, unlike the predictions of the forwards the previous two days and the defencemen next door today, the goalies list is only a rough guide. Corey Crawford, who you could get in the fourth round, may produce stats similar to second-rounder Ryan Miller or even first-rounder Roberto Luongo.

 

- - -

GET ONE AND RELAX

W SO GAA SPCT

Tim Thomas BOS 36,  7,  2.22,  .927

Henrik Lundqvist NYR 37,  7,  2.30,  .921

Pekka Rinne NSH 35,  7,  2.26,  .918

Tomas Vokoun WAS 33,  6,  2.41,  .919

Roberto Luongo VAN 39 , 6,  2.32, .917

Ryan Miller BUF 36,  6,  2.40,  .918

Antti Niemi SJ 36,  7,  2.35,  .916

Corey Crawford CHI 36,  5,  2.34,  .918

Jonathan Quick LA 35,  4,  2.33,  .915

Ilya Bryzgalov PHL 36,  5,  2.39,  .916

Carey Price MON 35 , 5,  2.46,  .916

Jimmy Howard DET 37,  5,  2.49,  .912

 

WILL HAVE THEIR UPS AND DOWNS

W SO GAA SPCT

Martin Brodeur NJ 31,  5,  2.35,  .910

Jonas Hiller ANA 28,  4,  2.56,  .918

Jaroslav Halak STL 33, 6,  2.46,  .911

Cam Ward CAR 34,  4,  2.55,  .915

Marc-Andre Fleury PIT 36,  4,  2.48,  .913

Miikka Kiprusoff CAL 35, 4,  2.60,  .906

Dwayne Roloson TB 29,  4,  2.61,  .913

James Reimer TOR 28, 4,  2.62,  .912

Kari Lehtonen DAL 30,  4,  2.70,  .912

Niklas Backstrom MIN 26,  4,  2.66,  .912

Craig Anderson OTT 27,  3,  2.68,  .911

Semyon Varlamov COL 22,  4,  2.63,  .915

 

PRAY THE DAMAGE ISN'T TOO BAD

W SO GAA SPCT

Mike Smith PHX 27, 3, 2.75, .905

Steve Mason CLB 29, 6, 2.79, .906

Evgeni Nabokov NYI 25, 2, 2.66, .907

Jose Theodore FLA 24, 3, 2.81, .909

Ondrej Pavelec WPG 24, 4, 2.76, .910

Devan Dubnyk EDM 19, 2, 2.91, .908

 

BEST BACKUP GAMBLES

  • Cory Schneider VAN
  • Anders Lindback NSH
  • Tuukka Rask BOS
  • Jonathan Bernier LA
  • Johan Hedberg NJ
  • Michal Neuvirth WAS
  • Antero Niittymaki SJ
  • Jacob Markstrom FLA

- - -

DEFENCE

If you are in a points-only pool, there is probably no reason to rush out and grab a defenceman early. Take away last season's top four point-producing rearguards--Lubomir Visnovsky (68 points), Nick Lidstrom (62), Keith Yandle (59) and Dustin Byfuglien (53)--and you were left with two dozen defencemen between 40 and 51 points--a difference not large enough to justify passing on a 65-point forward to grab one. The top of the list looks crowded too with any of the top six capable of emerging with the most points. Once again, the rankings are in order of points. Green arrows up project a plus-10 or better, or 70+ penalty minutes. Red arrows down denote a probable minus ranking.

(Projections for the 2011/2012)

G APTS+/-PIM

Keith Yandle PHX 14, 41, 55

Coyotes trying to dial back his attacking instincts slightly.

Lubomir Visnovsky ANA 13, 42, 55

High-powered Ducks power-play makes him an easy choice.

Kris Letang PIT 12, 42, 54

The earlier Sid returns, the higher he moves on up the list.

Mike Green WAS 15, 38, 53

Injuries and a re-focus on defence cost his owners dearly

Dan Boyle SJ 10, 42, 52

Has six consecutive 50-point seasons behind him.

Nicklas Lidstrom DET 12, 39, 51

Third in entire NHL with 39 power-play points last year.

Shea Weber NSH 16, 34, 50

Owners would like to see him get a little nastier.

Tobias Enstrom WPG 9, 40, 49

Great puck skills, but lack of size makes him an injury risk.

Duncan Keith CHI 10, 39, 49

That Norris Trophy season was a one-and-done.

Zdeno Chara BOS 14, 34, 48

Maybe the best all-around defence pick available.

Dustin Byfuglien WPG 17, 30, 47

Shoots hard, hits harder. NHL defence goals leader with 20.

Mark Streit NYI 11, 36, 47

Erring on the side of caution after he missed all of last year.

Drew Doughty LA 12, 34, 46

Expect a slow start after his lengthy holdout.

Alex Goligoski DAL 13, 33, 46

Power-play QB had 15 points in 23 games after trade from Pens.

John Carlson WAS 10, 35, 45

Could eventualy supplant Green as the power-play QB.

Cam Fowler ANA 12, 32, 45

Gruesome minus-25 rating can only get better, right?

Christian Ehrhoff BUF 12, 33, 45

Ex-Canuck should take over as the power-play's new point ma

Erik Karlsson OTT 12, 32, 44

An outstanding pick if you don't have to worry about plus-minus.

P.K. Subban MON 13, 31, 44

Never a dull moment when he's on the ice.

Alexander Edler VAN 10, 34, 44

More power-play time available with Ehrhoff gone.

James Wisniewski CLB 11, 33, 44

Hard-shooting newcomer suspended for first eight games.

Dion Phaneuf TOR 12, 31, 43

Strong second half last season fuelling some optimism.

Brent Burns SJ 12, 30, 42

Dependent on power-play time he gets with new team.

Andrei Markov MON 12, 29, 41

Recovery from November ACL surgery has been bumpy

Brent Seabrook CHI 8, 33, 41

PIM and plus-minus potential make him a sneaky good late pick

Chris Pronger PHIL 7, 32, 39

Slow comeback from May back surgery won't help.

 

 

JUST THE POINTS

(Points in parentheses)

  • Alex Pietrangelo STL (43)
  • Ryan Whitney EDM (42)
  • Mark Giordano CGY (42)
  • Ryan Suter NSH (41)
  • Tomas Kaberle CAR (41)
  • John-Michael Liles TOR (40)
  • Marek Zidlicky MIN (40)*
  • Jack Johnson LA (40)*
  • Brian Campbell FLA (39)

 

 

NEED PLUS-MINUS?

 

  • Matt Carle PHIL (38)
  • Niklas Kronvall DET(36)
  • Kevin Bieksa VAN (34)
  • Jason Demers SJ (28)
  • Dan Hamhuis VAN (27)
  • NEED PENALTY MINUTES?
  • Stephane Robidas DAL (32)
  • Victor Hedman TB (31)
  • Travis Hamonic ISL (30)
  • Jay Bouwmeester CGY (28)

 

END GAME SLEEPERS

  • Kevin Shattenkirk STL (42)
  • Zach Bogosian WPG (30)*
  • Michael Del Zotto NYR (30)*
  • David Runblad OTT (25)*
  • Sheldon Souray DAL (20)*
  • Bryan McCabe F/A

* -- Minus-rating advisory

 


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