NHL Playoff Pool Position Primer: Goalies

Updated: April 12, 2011 at 6:55 pm by Alexander Monaghan

The NHL regular season may be over, but that is no reason to stop being a fantasy addict now! Several excellent websites such as Office Pools, Rinkotology and HockeyDraft.ca offer tailored pools that satisfy the need of the biggest hockey-crazed addicts, so stop biting your nails get your playoff draft on. We currently offer a free playoff pool of our own, so don’t forget to sign up!

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Goalie Tiers
Roberto Luongo 

Tim Thomas

Antti Niemi

Jimmy Howard

Michal Neuvirth

Sergei Bobrovsky

Marc-Andre Fleury

Pekka Rinne

Dwayne Roloson

Ryan Miller

Henrik Lundqvist

Ilya Bryzgalov

Carey Price

Jonathan Quick

Corey Crawford

Dan Ellis

Ray Emery

Brian Boucher

Semyon Varlamov

Luongo sits at the top of our tier due to his likelihood to succeed in the playoffs. Last year he was able to at least make it past the first round and with the captain label shed he should be able to once again advance at least into the second round.

Looking at the rest of the top tier, you will see one common trend– they are the starting goalies of a team who clinched their Division. Due to this we find these six to have the least risks even though they vary in terms of value. We sorted them to the left according to proven ability in the postseason, except for Thomas, who clearly is the more skilled netminder of the remaining options despite his risk in facing an emotional rival.

Our second tier is simple — players with some risk but a enormous amount of talent. Rinne would have won the Vezina Trophy had it not been for a rec0rd-breaking season from Thomas. By contrast, Fleury likely wins the MVP on his team as he made sure the Pittsburgh Penguins never missed a beat after losing Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. However, does he have enough to stop Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and company, especially with playoff hero Roloson on the roster?

Speaking of Roli, he makes it onto our third tier mainly because he is one of the few of the below listed who have been there and almost did that. The same can be said of Emery, but he appears noncommittal when it comes to playing game one. Miller and Lundqvist have had their playoff success in the past with Miller besting Henrik in their only head-to-head matchup in the postseason. Bryzgalov has also displayed some postseason success in the past with Anaheim and almost eliminated Detroit last season by standing on his head.

Mainly due to experience, elite netminders like Quick and Price fall into tier four. It also doesn’t help that both are not favored in their playoff series. It seems almost wrong to group these guys with Crawford and Ellis, who each lack the same pedigree. However, taking a risk on these guys is too rich for my blood, especially the way Montreal sputtered into the playoffs and the way Quick lost most of his supporting cast down the stretch.

Our final tier, or tier five, is the backups or wild cards.

We saw Boucher come into the final game of the season and if the Flyers are to go far they likely will pull Bob once or twice. As mentioned ad nauseum, Bob has only played 35 games in his entire career so there will be some fatigue issues, which is a shame considering the Flyers would prefer to ride him. Similarly, Emery claims to not be ready yet for game one while Varlamov starts the playoffs on the bench.If your pool allows for bench spots, these are your guys.

To summarize, ranking starting goalies could be the trickiest of the primers as an elite tender like Lundqvist, Price, Quick or Bryzgalov could steal a series or even two out of nowhere. All we could do here at Daily Faceoff is try to assess the risk involved and provide you with the tools to make the appropriate decision.

We hope you enjoyed our latest as much as we enjoyed writing it. If there are glaring omissions let your voice be heard in the comments. Regardless, make sure to take all of the advice in and continue to check our renowned starting goalies section, which is updated all day until game time and follow us on Twitter @DailyFaceoff

Antti Niemi, Brian Boucher, Carey Price, Corey Crawford, Dan Ellis, Dwayne Roloson, Henrik Lundqvist, Ilya Bryzgalov, Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Quick, Marc-Andre Fleury, Michal Neuvirth, Pekka Rinne, Ray Emery, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Miller, Semyon Varlamov, Sergei Bobrovsky, Tim Thomas