Every Monday during the season, goalie specialist and founder of The Goalie Guild Justin Goldman will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy goaltenders in NHL.com's weekly segment: "In the Cage." From updated goalie rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Goldman will be your fantasy goalie expert all season long.
No matter how we break it down, this has not been a good season for Chicago's Corey Crawford or Toronto's James Reimer. Both have had to overcome numerous hurdles that stem from the dreaded sophomore slump, and both have learned these lessons the hard way.
One reason why goalies struggle during their sophomore season is due to scouting. The more a goalie plays during their rookie season, the more their game can be picked apart by opposing players, coaches and scouts. The proverbial "book" gets written, and during the goalie's second season, they no longer are an unknown entity, often resulting in an increase in goals allowed due to exploited weaknesses.
This also plays a role in why rookies like Matt Hackett, Richard Bachman, Robin Lehner and Jacob Markstrom have had quality fantasy success in their limited action. Nobody in the NHL really knows what kind of goalies they are, so they often produce much better statistical outings than expected.