On the Hot Seat: Fantasy Hockey Playoff Drive

Updated: March 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm by Alexander Monaghan

On the Hot Seat is a column which will run every other Saturday and will discuss the likely changes between the pipes at the moment. Think of this as a primer that will go over basically any starting goalie position that might be in jeopardy whatsoever.


Now that we find ourselves in the fantasy hockey playoffs we need to stay aware that the slightest move can help or hurt your team’s chances this year. Considering a blowout loss could wreck your entire week while one extra win could propel your fantasy team into the finals we will try to be as specific as possible with the 10 teams provided below. Feel free to use the comments section with any additional commentary.

Eastern Conference

Philadelphia Flyers

We know Sergei Bobrovsky is the number one goalie in Philadelphia. However, we do not know when he will start as the current rotation seems to be drawn out of a hat. His counterpart Brian Boucher has started three of the last four games and four of the last six games but the Flyers likely just want to rest Bob. Look for Bobrovsky to start at least eight of the remaining 12 games, including tonight, says Sam Carchidi via Twitter.

Washington Capitals

Rookie Braden Holtby stood on his head over the last 1.5 weeks before giving way to Michal Neuvirth and getting demoted back down to Hershey. With the Bears he will receive another chance at a Calder Cup and barring injury should stay down in the A for the remainder of the season. Neuvirth, fresh off a shutout win against the red-hot New Jersey Devils, looks like the starting goalie as Semyon Varlamov has not started a game since February 20th. Next week you can look for Varlamov, says Stephen Whyno of The Washinton Times, but for now Neuvirth looks like the guy.

Boston Bruins

Tuukka Rask has greatly decreased the workload of Tim Thomas, starting two of the last three games and three of the last five. With the Bruins comfortably in the playoffs, they can afford to rest Thomas down the stretch. Look for Thomas to start a few consecutive games before the end of the season as he gears up for a playoff run. His lack of starts may hurt his chances at a Vezina Trophy and his fantasy value which is why Rask recently climbed back onto our NHL Goalie Ladder.

Florida Panthers

Scott Clemmensen is signed through next season, Tomas Vokoun is not. For the second consecutive year Clemmer gets to audition for the starting goalie role as the Panthers may chose to use him in tandem with future franchise goalie Jacob Markstrom, essentially letting Vokoun walk. Clemmensen goes for his third straight victory tonight, as Vokoun sits for the fourth time in the Cats’ last seven games. Look for this trend to continue as the Panthers wrap up yet another losing season.

New York Islanders

After looking like one of the best deals of the season, former first round pick Al Montoya may be crashing back to earth. The 26-year-old lost his last three starts although two of those came in overtime. With Rick DiPietro back and healthy the Isles likely will have both of their starting goalies work in a tandem. DiPietro does not start back-to-back games so Montoya should at least play then but look for a 60-40 split the rest of the way with both netminders having a decrease in fantasy value.

Western Conference

Vancouver Canucks

There is no controversy here as I have proclaimed all season. Roberto Luongo continues to be a fine, top-notch netminder while his backup Cory Schneider established himself this season much like the other 2004 NHL Entry Draft first-round goalies. However, with the Canucks clinching, Schneider should see two to three more starts or roughly one third of the remaining starts for the Canucks, which could be a nice add late in the year.

Detroit Red Wings

Similar to Vancouver, there is absolutely no controversy here, at least when it comes to who is the starting goalie.  When it comes to backing up Jimmy Howard we have another story as journeyman Joey MacDonald currently is covering for long-time Red Wing Chris Osgood. Osgood is listed as day-to-day which led to MacDonald starting and shutting out the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier in the week. If Osgood can’t prove himself healthy, MacDonald could probably handle another start or two as the regular season continues to wind down.

Los Angeles Kings

Staying on the same path, Jonathan Quick is firmly entrenched between the pipes, fending off top prospect Jonathan Bernier. Nevertheless, Bernier will see a few games as the season winds down, although the Kings still find themselves looking at the standings every morning. Head coach Terry Murray claims he wants to keep Quick somewhere in the high 50s after starting him 72 times last year. His faith in Bernier could help the Kings starting goalie stay fresh for their inevitable playoff run; like Schneider, Bernier could add a few wins to your squad.

Anaheim Ducks

Head coach Randy Carlyle has two tenancies when it comes to his starting goalies: he always starts the hot hand and he never discloses his starter prior to game time. Right now the hot goalie is Ray Emery, who will make his second consecutive start tonight. Dan Ellis played well before his now patented blowout. Likewise, Emery is probably one bad start away from giving playing time back to Ellis. If you are desperate for goalie stats and think the Ducks will make the playoffs then this tandem is for you but make sure to monitor the starting goalies section as you never know with Carlyle.

Colorado Avalanche

Pretty simple concept going on in Colorado. Brian Elliott will start the majority of games except on back-to-back nights where Peter Budaj will inevitably allow three or more goals. In Elliott, the Avs probably have a cost-effective backup who will give up the seat to a free agent acquisition. Considering the Avs simply continue to lose, there is no value in either netminder.

We hope you enjoyed our segment on starting goalies and fending off their backups as much as we enjoyed writing it.  If there are glaring omissions such as the awesomeness of Curtis McElhinney or your love affair for Marty Turco, 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.


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