James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Fearing the Jinx

Thursday, May 16, 2013



Thanks to the fact that I missed that thunderous ending, my mind has trouble computing James Reimer being the goat, even in the eyes of the flippant.


However you feel about that finish, it’s pretty difficult to put all the blame on Reimer. He had an outstanding series, which makes the fact that his .923 save percentage matches Tuukka Rask’s mark. (Yet one looks like a hero while the other looks like a …)


Let’s take some time to look at some of the other goalies who won or lost, then.




If you look at the playoff save percentage leaders, you’ll see that Tomas Vokoun stands atop the NHL with a sterling .962 mark.


While I wouldn’t read too much into that number compared to his peers, I think it does empower a time-honored strategy in fantasy sports - not just hockey - the practice of “handcuffing.” It was already a smart move to pair Vokoun with Marc-Andre Fleury considering MAF’s 2012 meltdown, but now forward-thinking fantasy owners (such as Rotoworld’s Michael Finewax) have possibly the best option in net.


Those who got Vokoun before Fleury’s owners could are in an interesting situation in their own right. The big question I cannot answer is: how long is Vokoun’s leash? You’d like to think that his $2 million price tag and nearly spotless first three games would buy him two losses, but you never know what’s going to happen in the world of goalie politics.


Vokoun isn’t the only promising goalie, naturally.


Jonathan Quick seems like he’s back to being his all-world self after a bumpy regular season. There are no signs that Corey Crawford is anything less than a guy who was one of the best options in fantasy during the shortened campaign.** Henrik Lundqvist was the reason why the New York Rangers came back against the Washington Capitals and he may just foil another high-end goalie in Tuukka Rask.


The results of round two will obviously change things, but aside from guys like Carey Price, the big boys came through in the quarterfinals.




So we’ve covered the goalies who were outstanding, but who was truly awful? Again, I want to reiterate that it’s unfair to judge a netminder too much based on one series, especially if his team is over-matched. Please keep these limitations in mind by not passing too many judgments based on small sample sizes.


To be fairest, I looked at even-strength save percentage.


The lowest of them all is Peter Budaj (.842), but he only started one game and appeared in two. The second and third-worst guys were in the same series, as Evgeni Nabokov (.863) and Marc-Andre Fleury (.895) were the only guys who played at least four games that had less than a 90 percent even-strength mark. (Carey Price barely stayed out of that club with a .901.)


The top two "losers" were Cory Schneider (.939 even-strength, albeit in two games) and Jonas Hiller (.937 in seven contests). Hiller, in particular, was fantastic in defeat. It all makes Viktor Fasth a fascinating wild card for next season's drafts. Then again, maybe you should just "handcuff" him?




Here’s an update on the standings from the Rotoworld staff pool, which we’re running at Fantasy Postseason.com.


1. Ryan Dadoun - 320.6 points

2. Jimmy Hascup - 316.5

3. Michael Finewax - 303.5

4. Brian Rosenbaum - 299.4

5. Steve Lampert - 282.2

6. Corey Abbott - 277.1

7. Marty York - 266.3

8. Corey Griffin - 241.3

9. Kevin Brown - 204.4

10. My terrible team - 203.20


Ryan's team is powered by Zdeno Chara, Corey Crawford and Milan Lucic. Matt Martin (26.1 points) will be missed, but many of his players made it to round two. Jimmy's top four players (Slava Voynov, Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Zetterberg and Derick Brassard) all made it to the semifinals, but losing Alex Ovechkin, Phil Kessel and John Tavares could smart. Investing heavily in the Penguins looks like it'll pay off for Michael, but first-round eliminations of Anaheim, Vancouver and Montreal will present challenges.


As far as my team goes … well, at least Evgeni Malkin was a solid first pick.


(Delve deeper into the draft in the first Weekly Dose of 2013.)



Click here for up-to-the-minute fantasy news and here for a full injury list..


** - The only slight issue is that Ray Emery is healthy enough to steal starts if the Detroit Red Wings show a little more fight.

James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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