Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Deep Blue Sea of Goalies

The 2008-09 NHL season was arguably the best year of professional hockey over the past decade. This was the first year since the 04' lockout in which every team played each other at least once. Records were set left and right. Martin Brodeur recovered from a torn bicep to supplant Patrick Roy as the NHL's winningest goalie. Sidney Crosby became the youngest NHL captain to hoist silver. Steve Mason laid 10 goose eggs in his rookie season. Perhaps even more captivating was the mad dash for the playoffs. Seven teams missed the postseason by 10 points (5 wins) or less.  

Maybe the most pressing issue facing fantasy GM's is goaltending. Who are the sure bets for 2009-10? Who is on the rise and decline? Who will be the next rookie sensation? It's easy to remember the studs and hot rookies and to forget less flashy options who had an off year or spent time on the IR. Here are a few names to consider when formulating your goalie plans for 2009.  

Follow me if you want to live: Niklas Backstrom, Roberto Luongo, Martin Brodeur, Tim Thomas, Cam Ward, Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Nabokov, Tomas Vokoun, Steve Mason, Ryan Miller, Miikka Kiprusoff, Marc-Andre Fleury, Ilya Bryzgalov, Mike Smith, Pekka Rinne, Nikolai Khabibulin.  

Bound to rebound: Marty Turco, Carey Price, Rick DiPietro.  

Welcome back to the NHL: Ray Emery.  

The real deal?: Chris Mason, , Jonathan Quick, Cristobal Huet.  

Duos who can both be #1 (pay attention to off season movement and training camp competition): Jonas Hiller/J.S. Giguere (ANA), Pascal Leclaire/Brian Elliot (OTT), Simeon Varlamov/Jose Theodore (WSH), Chris Mason/Ty Conklin (STL), Craig Anderson/Peter Budaj (COL).  

May press for ice time: Tuukka Rask (BOS), Jonathan Bernier (LA), Corey Crawford (CHI), Cory Schneider (VAN), Ondrej Pavelec (ATL), Jaroslav Halak (MTL), Scott Clemmensen (FLA), Jason LaBarbera (PHX), Brian Boucher (PHI).  

Gambles: Dwayne Roloson, Kari Lehtonen, Chris Osgood, Vesa Toskala.  

UFA watch: Martin Biron, Anterro Nittymaki, Josh Harding, Alex Auld, Manny Fernandez, Kevin Weekes.  

Retirement watch: Curtis Joseph, Olaf Kolzig, Manny Legace.

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