Asleep in Goal

Picking sleepers for fantasy hockey is usually a fun job because if you are wrong about them, it’s not really a big deal. If you can pick 30% of the young or forgotten players who put up a big season, you are a fantasy genius. Sleeper goalies however; picking those is a pretty difficult task. Last year there really were only two true sleeper goalies who developed into a fantasy stars: Lundqvist and Huet. This season I am looking to find similar diamonds in the rough and hope at least one or two of these guys will have a huge year and give your fantasy team(s) a shot in the arm.David LeNeveu – Phoenix Coyotes

This former 2nd round draft pick is certainly Phoenix’s goalie of the future. The real question is whether he will supplant CuJo this coming year. His stats from last season aren’t anything special (3.24 GAA and .886 SV%) but he certainly has the potential to be a top 10 fantasy goalie down the road. The Coyotes will have a competitive team this year and if LeNeveu has a strong training camp he might just be the opening day starter. In deeper leagues, take him at the end of the draft. In shallower leagues, I highly doubt he will be drafted at all, but watch the waiver wire and be ready to add him at the first sign he may supplant Joseph this year.

Johan Holmqvist – Tampa Bay Lightning

Holmqvist – Lundqvist, see the similarity? Marc Denis was acquired by the Lightning in the offseason and is certainly their number one goalie going into camp. Holmqvist is a rookie unknown to most North American hockey fans, but I am certain he will soon become a popular name among fantasy managers. Unless he plays spectacularly in camp or Denis gets hurt, there is no doubt Holmqvist wont start too many games early next season. However, Lundqvist wasn’t expected to get much playing time either and look what he accomplished. In keeper leagues, Holmqvist should be snatched up as soon as possible. Managers in traditional fantasy leagues should keep a watchful eye on his performance early this fall.

Ray Emery – Ottawa Senators

I can already hear you all asking: how can a goalie who won 23 games last season be considered a sleeper? The answer is pretty simple, after the Senators signed Martin Gerber to a huge contract, Emery became the number two goalie once again. Was Emery spectacular last year? No, but neither was Gerber. In fact, their GAA and SV% numbers were almost identical in 2005/06. Emery is still young and gaining experience and confidence and I honestly believe he will be starting the majority of Ottawa’s games by the second half of the season. Any starting goalie in Ottawa is valuable in fantasy hockey, so put Emery on your bench (especially if you already have Gerber) and hope for the best.

Peter Budaj – Colorado Avalanche

He’s young (24), put up decent numbers last campaign (2.86 GAA, .900 SV%) and has Mrs. Paris Hilton starting in front of him (Jose Theodore). Half of me expect Jose to have a huge season, which would make Budaj a fantasy afterthought. Of course, the other half of me expects Theodore to play just as poorly as he did in 2005/06 (3.41 GAA, .882 SV%) and in that case, the Slovak goaltender suddenly becomes quite valuable. This is certainly another situation to watch early in the season, as eventhough I don’t expect the Avalanche to be a playoff team, their number one goalie should put up pretty decent numbers…and come Decemeber that number one guy might just be Budaj.

Pascal Leclaire – Columbus Blue Jackets

He’s ranked so incredibly low in Yahoo Fantasy hockey (363 overall), Pascal is almost guaranteed to be a late round steal. He platooned with Marc Denis over the second half of last season, but now Denis is playing in Tampa and Leclaire has the nets in Columbus all to himself. The Blue Jackets are certainly a team on the rise and Leclaire’s numbers from last year (.911 SV%) show that if he gets some decent defense in front of him, the wins and lower GAA will certainly follow. He’s probably the cheapest guaranteed starter in fantasy hockey right now and worthy of a late round pick in just about every type and size of league.

You Can Find More Fantasy Hockey Articles At:

29 Responses to Asleep in Goal

  1. Treva says:

    Alex Auld.

    Could have a huge season in a re-vamped FLA team. Belfour all but playing backup could have a positve mentor effect. I would take this guy over Budaj any day of the week – given the situation.

  2. lynchmob540 says:

    I honestly think that Nittymaki will have a break through season (yeah…maybe its really me HOPING rather than THINKING). The Flyers NEED him to step up, since Esche is just a JOKE with those horrible rebounds.

    BTW…any update on the fantasy cheat sheet that is usually available on this site? I personally think that the work that Marco (i think that’s his name) does a SICK job in getting this together (BIG PAT ON THE BACK TO HIM!).

  3. Air33 says:

    Wich D would you rather, Dan Hamhuis or Francois Beauchemin.

  4. Afroman7 says:

    BEAUCHEMIN anyday hes a good hard hitting d man

  5. BruMagnus says:

    I like Niitymaki as well. i think he’ll be excellent in the future, but like fleury in pittsburgh dependent on the team in front of him.

    antero was the pimpest goalie at the Olympics for Finland

  6. Lint07 says:

    thanks for the kind words, really appreciated.

    I am presently working on the Ultimate Pool Preview and I expect a release date sometime around mid-september.

    I made a team to help me work on the UPP this year and I have to say, it is looking ridiculously GOOD so far! It is miles ahead of what I alone could do in the past years.

    you won’t be disappointed.

  7. Lint07 says:

    depends on what you’re looking for.

    If you want offensive numbers, go for Hamhuis.

    If you want PIM’s, Beauchemin is the obvious choice.

  8. Marky2Fresh says:

    Raycroft is ranked really low. You could probably get him in the 14-16 round and he may be a 30 game winner

  9. I_hate_LA says:

    I don’t know what you’re smoking, but Beauchemin hardly ever takes penalties buddy. I’d take Beachemin over Hamhuis any damn day of the week. Not only is Beachemin more physical, he is very good offensively as well (just look at his stats FYI :P)

  10. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    his numbers will also look better aswell.

  11. CaptainInsano says:

    Hannu Toivenen.

  12. TheFish12 says:

    No question here,

    With Pronger AND Niedermayer in fron of him… Beauchemin will have his minutes cut, significantly. Hamhuis is my choice

  13. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    yeah but in leages of 16 or less, none of the guys mentioned are even on the chart, with the possible exception of raycroft and leclaire

  14. Aetherial says:

    Raycroft might return to form and could be a good late pickup.

  15. TheProfessor says:

    exactly.. you hit the nail on the head..

    Beauchemin is now second pairing. Expect a 30 pt perfromance

    Hamhuis, is now top pariing.. with Witt and Markov gone

    Expect Hamuis’ totals to jump to 50-60 pts with top PP time.

  16. GoalJudge says:

    I am involved in a number of pools, and I have seen a number of trends.

    Raycroft is a solid sleeper, being drafted in every pool, from 13-16, except one, where he was drafted earlier, by a leafs fan, when there was a run on goalies. So I can’t blame him too much.

    Denis, one of 4 Tampa Bay Semi-sleepers.

    Denis is the new starter for TB, and should not only have a career year, but should gaurantee the Lightning at least one round in the playoffs, maybe more. They squeeked in last year with a horrible tandem, this year bodes well for them. The other 3 Semi-sleepers are Richards, Fedortenko, and St. Loius. I say semi-sleepers because they are all getting picked, but in later rounds. St. Loius has gone from round 7 (picked once on a RW run) to rounds 9-14. Thats late for a former Art Ross winner. Federtenko is a great sleeper because he can move up from 3rd line minutes to top line with Brad Richards. Fedor had 24 goals last year, this year with Richards he could be a 30+ easy. And fianlly Richards himself. I have him going once in the 3rd round, and the remainder he is going in rounds 10 and up. This guy has proven himself to be the top talent unquestioned in Tampa Bay, even over Lecalvier, and has scored around 20 goals every year and last year getting 90+ points, yet gets NO LOVE in fantasy hockey. I gambled and took everybody but Centers until very late (low ranked on my list) In the 8th round, I picked up Bergeron, 9 Demitra, and 14th Richards. Fourteenth round 90 point scorer. Talk about trade bait, and a sleeper.

    Ironically, Khabibulin is getting no love either, now that he is gone from TB, one year removed. He could be a sleeper if he was really as talented as we believed him to be in 03-04. IF Chicago can get its act together. He is a good third goalie, or injury replacement.

    Pascal Leclaire is virtually undrafted.

    Same are the tandem Goalies of Nittymaki and Esche, Tuovonin (that guy, SP?) and Thomas.

    Evgeni Nabokov is getting no love either, usually undrafted. As is Theodore.

    These are great 14-16 round steals, or even a waiver pick up afterwards. Remember these are guys on playoff teams, so they should be near the 25 win mark regardless. Now if they really step-up then you have a major sleeper. Theodore blanked the STARs and Nabokov got the job done for years, don’t expect a repeated failure.

    Bryzgalov, the tandem favourite seems to be a hot and cold pick, some times going around round 6 and sometimes riding the (waiver) pines. Giguere on the othe hand, who seemed to be done in Anaheim, twice, has re-emerged as the favourite among fantasy GMs often a round 6 or before.

    Other sleepers are Jeff Carter and Nathan Horton.

    Both are goal scorers who will get closer looks from their coaches, and both are looking for improvements this year. Horton is also good fro PIMS as a power forward, while Carter has the often coveted GWG, with 7 last year.

    Both could go over 30 goals this year.

    Malkin is the only Rookie getting any real love, while it should be noted that the pool managers are still adding some day to day. Malkin is going round 5 or higher, thanks to Crosby and AO the Great’s performances last year.

    Matt Carle is a sleeper D, and projected point man in San Jose’s #1 PP line.

    Beauchmin is an overated D-man this year, usually getting picked higher than he deserves when the Defencemen run starts.

    Bouwmeister is a sleeper. He is good for 50 points as a d-man and at least 70 pim. He will also get more PP time this year, so he could score more. His +/- may suffer a little now that Luongo has departed, but that can be covered easily by a forward in fantasy hockey, while a 50 point d-man is hard to replace.

    Thanks for the time.

    And thanks to the columnist, I haven’t seen that site yet.

    Sorry if there are spelling errors, today I’m to lazy to check.

  17. TheDonkey says:

    Or, if you don’t think he will return to form, try Tellqvist.

    Or you could take Biron and hope that he gets traded to the first team that suffers a serious injury to a goalie.

  18. hockey_expert1 says:

    Well first of all, Huet and Lundqvist weren’t the only sleepers on the year. There was also Ryan Miller, Martin Gerber, Mathieu Garon, Kari Lehtonen, CuJo, and Vesa Toskala.

    I’ve always been good with sleeper goalies. This year LeClaire will be the smartest sleeper pick, guaranteed. At his very best he is easily one of the most dominant goalies in the league and can steal games for his team.

    As for sleepers that haven’t been mentioned yet, another sleeper will be Tim Thomas. He was spectacular last season but people still think Hannu Toivonen will get the #1 job in Boston for some reason.

    Osgood won’t be a bad pick once Hasek is inevitably injured.

    Aebischer won’t be a bad pick once it is inevitably revealed why Huet spent most of his career as a backup goalie.

    Legace may not be a bad choice depending on your expectations for the Blues this year.

    Nolan Schaefer is the biggest risk for a sleeper but could wind up being a genius move. He’s San Jose’s current 3rd string goalie but is also their goalie of the future. If either Toskala or Nabokov are injured/traded, Schaefer will cement himself as their #1 goalie.

  19. I_hate_LA says:

    Pronger and Nieds won’t be paired together on the first line. The first line would be either comprised of Pronger + unknown or Niedermayer + Beauchemin. My guess is that it’ll be like last year with Nieds and Beauchemin on the first line, so I don’t think that it will effect how he contributes. I’ll still stick with Francois any damn day of the week! 😉

  20. I_hate_LA says:

    Beauchemin is not overated he is underated. If he picks up from where he left off last season, this season is HIS TIME and his chance to shine!!! We all know Prongs and Nieds are going to eat up most of the minutes, but Beuchemin adds more depth to the Ducks’ defense corps. I still remember Beauchemin from last year’s playoffs with his wicked slap shot from the point, and at times it was the lone goal for the Ducks. I believe Beauchemin has the potential to be one of the ducks’ future superstars, especially when mentored by captain Scott.

  21. I_hate_LA says:

    I hope Nabokov gets traded, he now looks like a mere sidekick to Toskala. Oh and don’t forget about Bryzgalov, I think he deserves a little more credit considering that the Oiler fans freaked him out.

  22. Lint07 says:

    Pronger + NIeds = Almost no PP time for Beauchemin.

    I’d take Hamhuis any day of the week over Beauchemin.

    Lots of people will fall for Beauchemin, but fact is anybody can look good alongside Niedermayer. Last year was a fluke.

  23. I_hate_LA says:

    Your feet dance as you run. Your lips dance as you condescend. Your fingers dance when you type. Your pupils dance as you surf porn sites. Every action you make is a dance step. Now go and dance away DANCINSHOES77!!!

  24. GoalJudge says:

    You misread my comment.

    I didn’t say Beauchmin is overrated.

    I said he is overrated this year.

    Without becoming the next Lidstrom over night, Beauchmin will be relgated to meger 2nd line duties. Not to say that he is undeserving or that 2nd line players are meger or use meger, but that you now have two players Nieds and Pronger that will chew up 30 min a game. Leaving 30 more min to 4 players, and minimal PP time as both Pronger and Nieds are PP giants. So, this year Beauchmin is overrated, and at best should be a depth pick.

    Beauchmin will finnish around 30 points on a strong season. His Ice Time just doesn’t allow for much more.

  25. GoalJudge says:

    Sorry Pal,

    But I have to jump in and say a big NO.

    Beauchmin is a very good d-man, but he did get some inflation from playing with Nieds. Not saying he is bad, just not spectacular, yet.

    But this year is a Hamhuis year. He’ll get top draw on PP min and a few PIMs as well.

    Beauchmin, as you noted, doesn’t take penalties that much, which hurts him in Fantasy Value, and he WILL get his Ice Time cut. This garbage about him continuing to play with Nieds is just stupidity.

    They didn’t trade for Pronger for Nothing. They traded for him to have the best 1-2 Defense in the league and a top 5 PP. I don’t care if Beauchmin is the second coming of Christ, he still won’t get on the top line, cause he can’t nail them to the boards like Pronger can.

    At his best he might equal the Offensive output that Pronger does, and thats being generous. But he does not have that physical edge or mean streak. Thats why they got Pronger. In fact now that the ducks have him, and assuming his wife likes it in Anaheim, or LA, I see the Ducks keeping him longer term than Niedermeyer, if they situation to choose between the two came up.

  26. I_hate_LA says:

    First off, how in the world does taking penalties raise Beauchemin’s fantasy value? And second, why would it be considered stupidity when having him pair up with Nieds on the first line?

    Taking several penalties are very costly, especially towards a mediocre penalty killing team. Aside from that I’ve seen Beauchemin hold his own end even better than Nieds at times, and I’ve seen several clean hits he delivered to an opposing team’s player. He adds a physical presence when it counted most, just ask Brunette from the colorado series during last season’s playoffs. Not only did he knock off Brunette, he was the one that led to the Ducks’ goal just seconds after. I also remember that one over-time game with Los Angeles when Beauchemin knocked some king’s player to the ice, which led to Niedermayer’s OT game winning goal. I think Beauchemin has benefited from playing with Nieds, but I also think Nieds has benefited from Beachemin quite a bit and splitting them up would be stupidity considering they had so much chemistry. If you paired PRongs and Nieds together on the first line, you’re not spreading the talent around and adding more depth to the Ducks’ defense corps.

  27. GoalJudge says:

    Your opinion is your opinion, but know that it differs from pretty much the resst of the hockey world. I would agree that splitting up a good pairing in place of a new one is risky, but the new one should be even better.

    That said, other than PP, they would not be on the ice together (Nieds and Pronger), and that goes against the one-two punch which they were brought in for. If Beauchmin plays 30 min with Nieds, then Pronger can’t play 30 min, which is what they wanted him for. So again, Beauchmin should get comphy with his new line mate.

    As for PIMs raising fantasy value. MOST leagues that score in a rotisserie format, judge PIMs as taking one for the team, and therefore ‘reward’ the player by keeping track of it as a ‘positive’ statistical category. Therefore a guy with high PIMs is worth more than a guy who doesn’t get many. Same with GWG, a guy can score 15 goals in a season, but if say 5 were GWGs then he would be worth more than guys who score 20-25, presumably.

Leave a Reply