How Many Goalies Fantasy Hockey? [Answered!]

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This year’s hockey season was full of surprises, but one of the biggest was Andrew Hammond deciding to retire from professional hockey after a phenomenal 19-year career. It was the perfect swan song for the 35-year-old, who earned the nickname “The Iceman” during his days in Columbus. Despite his incredible NHL career, Hammond’s final season was one of frustration as he appeared in just 28 games with the Colorado Avalanche, recording just four wins and eight losses along the way. In other news, Petr Mrazek finally shook off his sophomore jinx and established himself as the netminder the Red Wings envisioned when they selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. Additionally, Malcolm Subban put up a.941 save percentage in his rookie season and looked like a future star while in the blue and white.

The good news is fantasy hockey is back! And with the regular season over, it’s time for us to dust off our crystal balls and look ahead to the 2019-20 season. One of the most important questions to ask yourself is “how many goalies should I pick up?” Depending on your league size, there’s a wide variety of answers. For larger fantasy hockey teams, especially those competing in a keeper league, the answer is simpler. You need at least two full-time goalies, and even then, you might want to consider adding another. The following are some helpful tips on deciding how many goalies you need for your fantasy hockey team:

1. How Much Are You Spending On Goalies?

If you’re spending a decent amount of money on goalies in your league, it might be time for a reality check. After all, the position doesn’t have to be that expensive to be effective. One caveat is that you might need to spend a little more on a back-up goalie if your starter gets hurt or struggles. In that case, it’s probably best to spend the money and have someone with more experience. Nonetheless, if your team is spending less than $500 on goalies each year, you’re probably doing pretty well.

2. Experience Matters

One of the reasons why Andrew Hammond’s final season was so frustrating is because he had so much experience while entering his late 30s. In four previous seasons with Colorado, Hammond had appeared in at least 60 games each year, posting a.923 save percentage and 3.06 goals-against average. The veteran netminder also had three seasons with 30 or more appearances, including the 2016-17 campaign in which he appeared in 33 games.

If you’re looking for a cheap and affordable goalkeeper option, Mrazek is a perfect fit. The 27-year-old netminder spent last season with the New York Rangers, appearing in 48 games and posting a.927 save percentage and 2.38 goals-against average. Additionally, the 2015-16 season was Mrazek’s first full NHL campaign after a breakout QMJHL season, in which he posted a.911 save percentage and 2.83 goals-against average in just 24 games. Finally, Mrazek was a fourth-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2011 NHL Draft.

3. How Many Games Do You Project Your Team To Play?

As a rule of thumb, you should never pick up a goalie who you predict will play fewer than five games in the upcoming season. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to save money or are simply seeking experienced netminders. Even if you have a deep pool of goalies at the backup position, you’ll want to make sure you have at least one more starter than your backup. So if you expect your team to play between 10 and 15 games, you’ll need two goalies. Of course, if you have the budget for only one, you might consider the less experienced option, simply because he’ll be cheaper. Nonetheless, you can’t expect much from a goalie at the age of 35 unless he’s in the NHL. So if you’re looking for a goalie to play a few games at the beginning of the season and then hand off to the backup, there are plenty of options.

4. Keep An Eye On The Future

Even if you have a backup goalie who you’re certain will be more than capable of stepping in if needed, you need to keep an eye on the future. As mentioned above, if your starter gets injured or underperforms, your back-up needs to step in and take charge. If you get this right, it can potentially save you from the injury that prevented your starter from playing in the first place. Additionally, sometimes injuries occur which prevent a goalie from playing for an extended period of time. In that case, you might want to consider picking up another goalie who can take over for a spell.

Remember: this is a position in which you’ll be spending money. Even if you manage to land your dream goaltender at a great price, you’ll still need to consider the cost of his average salary. If you can, it’s preferable to have two full-time goaltenders rather than having to rely on a fill-in. Ultimately, it’s all about having the best balance between cost and effectiveness.

Once the season is over, it’s usually a good idea to look at where you landed and see how your team did. Then you can decide whether or not to make a move. While there are plenty of solid options at the backup position, you should really have two. If not, you might be in for some trouble.

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