Sometimes I look at stocking goaltending in fantasy hockey like an apocalypse planner looks at canned food: it’s hard to accept that you can have too much of either.
Sure, you absolutely want to make sure your team is outfitted with enough forwards (and to much less of an extent, defensemen) who can get different things done. Still, when you consider how disproportionate an impact a netminder can make, my opinion is that you should never rest on your laurels.
Now, that doesn’t always mean you should constantly add and drop goalies. My point is just that you should carry what’s essentially a collector’s mentality* - I guess apocalypse planners collect can openers, jars and biohazard suits, for one? - when it comes to the position.
With that in mind, you have to be ready to buy and sell with the right mix of opportunism, courage and self-control in order to make your collection the best collection it can be. Even goalie-rich owners should be on the lookout for the next big thing or perhaps the flavor of the month. Why not protect yourself from injuries? Isn’t it wise to have a surplus of hard-to-find items so you can trade to fill other needs or embolden a strength to the point that it becomes an embarrassment of riches?
This is all a long way of saying ...why not take a flier on Ben Bishop?
Sure, he has a limited track record. There’s no denying that Craig Anderson has also been an all-world netminder so far this season, and with a mysterious day-to-day injury, he could be back by March. Maybe.
Yet like Ray Emery and a handful of other useful backups/pseudo-1bs, Bishop is on fire and could be viable enough to help you win a week or two in head-to-head leagues.
And if Anderson’s injury is more nagging - let’s face it, the Ottawa Senators’ injury luck makes it far from unthinkable - then maybe big Ben will get borderline No. 1 reps for most of this season. He’s only owned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues right now, so that means a bit more than three-quarters of you can give him a shot.
It's clear that he's aware that this is his big break, too. After losing in his first two chances (five goals allowed against Ottawa on Jan. 25 and just one on 37 against Winnipeg on Feb. 9), he's been undefeated in his audition.
Here are his numbers in the last four games (all wins):
Monday, his opus: 44 out of 45 saves vs. Montreal
Feb. 23: 26 out of 28 stops against Toronto
Feb. 21: 11 out of 13 in relief of Anderson (home vs. Rangers)
Feb. 18: 30 out of 31 saves at New Jersey
Will it last? All logic says he’ll at least slow down, but maybe not that much. Or maybe he will. It’s getting tougher and tougher to count out Paul MacLean and the scrappy Senators at this point.
Worst case scenario, you pawn off Bishop and know that you at least gave yourself another chance at another collector’s item.
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* - Perhaps a more fun analogy is a talent agent. Sure, you’re representing Beyonce and Megadeth, but Justin Bieber can rake in the dough for you too. (Yes, I tried to put the three least likely performers together in the same aside. Don’t act like you’re having a bad time with this.)