With the fantasy hockey season winding down, managers in keeper leagues need to start considering players to bring over to the 2009-2010 season. The following players have been dubbed ‘questionable’ as their title of ‘starting goaltender‘ may be in trouble for next season.
Brian Elliot/Pascal Leclaire | Ottawa Senators
Brian Elliot sure isn’t making life easy for Pascal Leclaire. Leclaire, who was brought over at the trade deadline from Columbus, was looking to get back on track in Ottawa after a dismal 2008-2009 season. Now, instead of walking into a starting role, he’s going to have to bust his hump to earn the job as Brian Elliot has been lights out for the Sens since the trade. This one is going to go down to the wire, so the longer you’re able to hold out on making a decision on your keepers the better. For those managers having to choose one or the other, make sure if you do decide to keep Leclaire, make a play for Elliot at some point in the draft as a precautionary, and vice versa.
Kari Lehtonen | Atlanta Thrashers
Kari Lehtonen is proving down the stretch that he is capable of being a number one goaltender in this league. Atlanta, who is still finding their way, has an awfully nice upside in terms of prospects and could use a goaltender like Lehtonen to help them continue to move forward. Criticism of Lehtonen is sharp, however. After 4 seasons of inconsistencies with the Thrashers, management might not be so quick to re-offer a contract at the end of this season. For those managers nervous about Lehtonen’s future, keep the name Ondrej Pavelec in the back of your mind as he is a viable outlet for the Thrashers to use between the pipes. We should know by July whether or not Lehtonen will return as a starter next season, so owners have some time to play with their rosters.
Peter Budaj | Colorado Avalanche
To say Peter Budaj’s stint with the ‘Lanche has been disappointing would be an understatement. Fantasy managers relying on Budaj as a solid 2nd option between the pipes on their team have been let down once again. With Budaj and Raycroft due for contracts at the end of this season, we could see a changing of the guard in Colorado. Budaj owners need to be ready to make other arrangements as the possibility of Budaj being forced into a backup role is not unrealistic. Colorado has a plethora of solid, young talent itching to contribute to the franchise to get them back to the playoffs and could certainly use a solid backstop to help them get there. From what we’re seen this year, Budaj doesn’t fit that mold. Owners beware.
Jean-Sebastien | Anaheim Ducks
While Giggy still has a couple of seasons left on his contract, it’s no secret that he isn’t the goaltender he was in 2002-2003. Jonas Hiller has played extremely well this season for the Ducks and is putting some serious pressure on Giggy to perform. Unfortunately, Giguere hasn’t. Don’t expect Giguere to be traded out of Anaheim as in today’s NHL market, it would be difficult to find a suitor for his 7 million dollar a year contract. Fantasy managers who are using Giguere as a keeper tender may want to consider going after Hiller in their draft next season just in case Giguere continues to slide. After a season where the Ducks could potentially miss the playoffs, management would be hesitant to stick with a struggling goaltender next season just because of his monster contract.
Dwayne Roloson | Edmonton Oilers
Rolo is going to need 2 years to recover from the workout the Oilers have put him through this season. Today, Roloson will start his 28th consecutive game. That’s unreal for a player of his age. At almost 40 years old, Roloson is proving that he can still play but certainly isn’t a long term option for the Edmonton franchise. He is due for a contract at the end of this season and if he decides to make one more go of it, managers considering bringing him over may want to exercise some caution. There is no way that Lowe allows this summer to pass without bringing in/up another goaltender. Whether it be a veteran or prospect, it’s going to happen, which puts Roloson’s value into question. Certainly wait until July 1st to make a decision, but keep some other options in mind as you finish out the season.
This is the 4th segement in a 5 part series Saucerpass has done with respect to goaltenders and keeper leagues. You can find previous analysis on this situation here:
1. Top Tier Goaltenders for Keeper Leagues in the 2009-2010 Fantasy Hockey Season
2. Solid Goaltending Options for Keeper Leagues in the 2009-2010 Fantasy Hockey Season
3. Serviceable Goaltending Options for Keeper Leagues in the 2009-2010 Fantasy Hockey Season
I am a contributor to several hockey blogs and I co-run a website called Saucerpass.com. It is an in-depth fantasy hockey resource for casual and competitive fantasy hockey managers. It includes strategy articles, team breakdowns and play analysis.