Posted On Friday, 08.22.2014 / 10:30 AM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy goalie dilemma: Niemi vs. Stalock

The clock is ticking for San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi, and Alex Stalock appears ready to pounce on any opportunity that comes his way.

Niemi, who turns 31 next week, is entering a contract year off a second consecutive Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. But unlike the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when Niemi put his team in position to take the series (two goals or fewer allowed in six of seven games), the Sharks' latest exit came in the worst fashion imaginable.

The Sharks took a 3-0 series lead against the Kings but failed to close the deal with four straight losses. Los Angeles became the fourth team in NHL history to win a series when facing such a deficit and went on to hoist the Stanley Cup.

Make no mistake, factors such as defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic's injury and the Kings' ability to dictate puck possession and lock down defensively certainly determined the result of the series. That said, much of the blame could be pinned on Niemi.

Posted On Thursday, 08.21.2014 / 12:00 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy goalie dilemma: Ward vs. Khudobin

When Cam Ward missed the last 27 games of the 2012-13 NHL season with a sprained MCL, the Carolina Hurricanes went out to shore up their goaltending by adding Anton Khudobin to a mix that already included Justin Peters.

When Ward went down again last season in October (missed 10 games) and in January (missed 13 games), the Hurricanes were better covered in net.

Ward's October injury coincided with Khudobin being sidelined for 32 games with a lower-body injury. Peters went 4-6-0 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .921 save percentage during that time. When January hit, and the Hurricanes were hovering around the bottom of the standings, Khudobin took charge.

Posted On Wednesday, 08.20.2014 / 12:00 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy goalie dilemma: Health key for Wild trio

In fantasy football, you're able to draft a team defense. If only fantasy hockey owners had the luxury of consolidating the Minnesota Wild goaltenders.

Darcy Kuemper, Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom have proven they are capable of starting at the NHL level -- when healthy. The Wild cycled through five goalies last season because of injuries, but they had the League's seventh-best team goals-allowed average (2.42). That's a testament to organizational depth.

In reality, few teams are better equipped for the rigors of the upcoming season than Minnesota, but that doesn't necessarily help fantasy owners looking for a clear-cut No. 1. Unless you have rare roster flexibility and a willingness to put all your eggs in one basket by scooping up all three Wild goalies, it's important to be strategic when considering one or two of them in your draft.

Posted On Tuesday, 08.19.2014 / 12:00 PM

By Matt Cubeta - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy goalie dilemma: Elliott vs. Allen

Last season Jaroslav Halak was the St. Louis Blues' starting goalie on opening night. By the time their run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs ended with a six-game series defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks, it was NHL Trade Deadline acquisition Ryan Miller between the pipes for the Blues. Each of these big-name goaltenders is now out of St. Louis (Halak signed with the New York Islanders and Miller signed with the Vancouver Canucks).

As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. And that's exactly the case with the Blues.

One of the most intriguing goalie dilemmas heading into the 2014-15 NHL season lies in the Gateway City, where veteran backup Brian Elliott and up-and-comer Jake Allen will attempt to grab the No. 1 job for the Blues.

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