It’s no secret that Rick DiPietro is back with the New York Islanders after taking nearly a season and a half off recovering from knee surgery. It’s also no secret that the Islanders will do something to move one of their three goaltenders, most likely Martin Biron, once DiPietro shows he is game ready.
In his rehab stint with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, he went 1-2 with a 3.31 GAA and .883 SV% in 4 games – not quite what you would call NHL-worthy unless your name is Manny Legace. DiPietro is almost starting from square one again and is going to rely on whatever natural goaltending abilities he has in order to get his game back to what it was before he was injured.
How much value does a healthy Rick DiPietro actually have to your fantasy team?
In his 5 seasons since being named the number 1 goalie in Long Island, DiPietro has arguably only had two fantasy-relevant seasons despite having 4 winning seasons. In 2003-04, he went 23-18-5 with a 2.36 GAA, .911 SV% and 5 SO and in 2006-07, he went 32-19-9 with a 2.58 GAA, .919 SV% and 5 SO. He has a long history of injuries since being selected #1 overall in 2000 and has only taken the Islanders to the playoffs once (first round exit).
That said, Dwayne Roloson has a history of second-half decline after a hot first start. In 2008-09, he opened the season 16-10-3, only to finish 12-14-6. In 2007-08, he was injured for much of the season but in 2006-07, he opened 20-19-4, only to finish 7-15-2. Not to mention Roloson is 40 years old and has finished a season with a winning record only 3 times in his 13-year career. The Islanders are 3 points out of 8th-place in the East and if they are ready to make a push, they’ll need reliable goaltending.
If Dwayne Roloson can’t handle the workload, the Islanders will give DiPietro an ample workload given his history with the team and their commitment to him for the next 11 years. There’s value if you have a spare IR spot (he may still be listed on IR in Yahoo! leagues), can afford to wait out the rust, and need goalie help and you’ve already lost out on the Antti Niemi and Tuukka Rask sweepstakes and can’t handle the inconsistency of Johan Hedberg or Ty Conklin.