How To Prime Cut Your Playoff Goalies

Updated: April 17, 2011 at 9:27 am by Chris Wassel

Ryan Miller had a down year but it is playoff time....


Every “expert” has a different way of creating rankings and goalie ladders and the such.  Thanks to Alexander Monaghan who tirelessly works on position primers even in the playoffs.  Here is his goalies primer ladies and gentlemen.

The first thing we want to note is everything I do is different.  Yes it may be blunt but we try to get results for the fans.  Sometimes it works and sometime it does not.  There is no fear in taking risks.

Let us set up a different sort of goalie ladder for the masses.  Yes there will be some disagreement but we will have some explanations along the way.

The dilemma for any fantasy GM will be the following.  There are always one or two goalies in the playoffs that absolutely surprise from almost nowhere. Did anyone think Antti Niemi was going to win the Stanley Cup?  He even did with a not so stellar 2.61 GAA but he came up big enough when he had to.

This year expects to be less about the mid range goalie and more about the semi elite or elite.  That is at least the expectation.  Our seven tier system is in a lot of ways very similar to Alex’s.  Let us break it down in steps as we always do here on Fridays.


Step 1:  The top tier……

There is only one way to properly put this in perspective but Roberto Luongo is the only goalie that can not only go far but has the elite talent on his own merit.  Yes his .500 playoff record suggests otherwise but the law of averages are bound to set up just right for the Vancouver netminder.  Game 2 against Chicago will be a key barometer for Luongo but he should pass it win or lose.


Step 2:  The Cup Winners…..

Yes Antti Niemi and Marc-Andre Fleury are players that have lifted the Stanley Cup and that means something this time of year even if it is somewhat believed that San Jose and Pittsburgh may not quite have what it takes to lift it this year.  They are on teams that do have the potential if things break right. For San Jose, the second line has to stay on fire consistently and for Pittsburgh, it depends on the return of Sidney Crosby to a point.  Pittsburgh could still go to the Conf Finals without Crosby but could they go further? Who knows.  These are two goalies to keep an eye on.


Step 3:  The elite net effect……

These are the guys you should watch out for.  Ryan Miller and Pekka Rinne are the two particularly you should really be on alert.  They could take their teams far depending on how their conferences break.  Both are elite netminders and Miller has the ability to turn it on even after an “off” season. We have seen it in the last two nights.  Carey Price stepped up tonight but the question is can he for the entire series?  Even Tim Thomas are also on that watch effect of “elite” goalies who can rise up.  In his case, they are both down 1-0 in their series and will have to STEP UP now!


Step 4:  The elites who well……

These are the guys who sadly do not have much of a chance of going far but probably should with a little better talent around them.  Guys like Henrik Lundqvist, Ilya Bryzgalov, and Dwayne Roloson are goalies who likely will not see past Round 1.  Lundqvist has the misfortune of facing a more patient Washington team.  Bryzgalov faces a Detroit team that will only get better as their series goes on.  Roloson just plain will end up being unlucky against a Pittsburgh team that has perfected a grind it out style that suffocates a team’s best scorer.  Only pick these guys in extreme emergency if you are willing to take a huge gamble.


Step 5:  Youngsters who are almost there…..

These two are goalies that could be almost there.  Jon Quick and Corey Crawford have a unique potential that could be skies the limit.  Quick will play it out for LA and clearly Crawford is the guy in Chicago.  However, neither stand much of a chance against a cup winner in Antti Niemi and an elite goalie in Roberto Luongo.  That may just be too tough for Quick and Crawford to overcome but do not be surprised if their numbers are extremely respectable in their series.


Step 6:  The last of the rest…….

Technically two tiers have been combined into one here but there is a general idea that these guys are just not all that good.  Our best bet would be to stay away from these goaltenders no matter what the cost even if they look tempting.  Could Sergei Bobrovsky win a round?  Yes.  However, his numbers may quickly go South as the playoffs move on and could be benched.


So what say you hockey playoff poolies?  Let us have it here, throw in the comments, and bring the pain.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Antti Niemi, Carey Price, Henrik Lundqvist, Marc-Andre Fleury, Pekka Rinne, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Miller, Tim Thomas