Goalie Strategy 101: Draft a Clydesdale

(3/2/12) The historical average is showing up in hockey pools all over the NHL these days.  And the goaltending department is no exception.  Roberto Luongo had another slow start to the fantasy season, but Thursday he picked up his 27th win (8th in the NHL) and 3rd shutout of the season.  With about 20 games to go on the schedule, Luongo once again looks like a lock to hit 35 wins and upwards of 4-5 shutouts.  This is regular season Hockey Pool Strategy 101: draft a goalie that plays a lot and plays for a winner. 

Miikka Kiprusoff is another fantasy goalie that some GMs may not want to touch on draft day, but the reality is that he has played in as many games over the past 5 seasons as any other goalie in the NHL.  He's the Clydesdale of fantasy hockey.  Thursday he grabbed his 28th win on the year and, with the Flames battling for a playoff spot, Kiprusoff will once again be called on to shoulder practically all of the starts right into April.  

Another goalie who continues to put up stats despite a poor showing from his team is Ryan Miller.  He also recorded a shutout on Thursday, blanking the Sharks 1-0 in San Jose.  The Sabres will likely miss the post-season this year, but Miller remains in line to pick up the fantasy points GMs rely on.  He already has 5 shutouts and, with a fifth of the year yet to be played, Miller easily has a shot at 25+ wins.  In this case, Miller is not playing for a top notch team, but he is still playing a lot and collecting a decent amount of shutouts.

Other notable performances from Thursday include shutouts by Ondrej Pavelec (a 7-0 dismantling of the Panthers, who suddenly look like a team on the bubble and could easily miss the playoffs), and Steve Mason.  It was Mason's first shutout of the season and only his 9th win.