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 Masked Combat: Rask vs. Thomas

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admin Posted - 10/14/2010 : 12:19:54
Fantasy owners need only to look at the average draft position (ADP) in Yahoo! leagues to get an understanding of what the general consensus among drafters was when it came to the idea of who the Boston Bruins starting goalie is for 2010-11. Taking a look closer, it is clear there is an argument that one of the Bruins goalies could be a steal for fantasy owners, one could be a big disappointment, and perhaps owning both is imperative.

Tuukka Rask was, on average, the 7th goaltender drafted in Yahoo leagues this year, one spot after Ilya Bryzgalov and one spot before Marc-Andre Fleury (38th overall among all players).

His 'backup', Tim Thomas was, on average, the 43rd goaltender drafted in Yahoo leagues this season, one position after Brian Elliott and one position before Cristobal Huet (171st overall among all players).

This is a massive difference in draft position and it is obvious that fantasy owners have lost faith in the 36 year-old Thomas as not only a starting NHL goaltender, but pretty much as a fantasy relevant goaltender altogether.

Now, don't get me wrong. Rask is a top-shelf young goaltender who had a tremendous rookie season in 2009-10. His stellar 1.97 GAA and .931 SV% in 39 starts would have likely garnered him Rookie-of-the-Year honours had he put up those numbers over 60 starts. Rask's potential has never been questioned, even before hockey analysts were shaking their heads when the Toronto Maple Leafs dealt him to Boston for an out-of-shape Andrew Raycroft in the summer of 2006.

Make no mistake, Tuukka Rask is the goalie-of-future for the Boston Bruins. But is he the goalie-of-the-now? According to fantasy owners he is, although 36-year old Tim Thomas begs to differ.

It was only 44 starts ago that Thomas was the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. Only 44 starts ago, Tim Thomas was widely considered one of the top goaltenders in the game.

2009-10 was a tough year for Thomas. Like many starting goalies in the NHL today, he had tough competition challenging him from the backup spot. Thomas ended up with decent numbers for an NHL starter (2.56 GAA, .915 SV%, and 5 shutouts in 43 starts but played the year with a painful hip injury that cost him mobility and ability. He lacked consistency, and eventually the Bruins, who were in a battle for a playoff spot, stuck with the hot hand -- Tuukka Rask.

The summer of 2010 had rumours swirling that the Bruins were trying to trade Thomas in order to clear cap space. Ultimately a trade never happened and the club has now entered the season with 2 legitimate starting goaltenders.

While fantasy owners have been quick to declare Tuukka Rask the undisputed starter in Boston, team management hasn't been so quick to do the same. The expectation the team has for themselves is a long playoff run. They know they have two high-quality netminders, and ultimately the best goaltender is going to be playing come playoff time.

Thomas is healthy after undergoing off-season hip surgery and declares himself more mentally and physically prepared to help his team win in 2010-11. Rask, enters the season with similar expectations but just 43 career starts under his belt.

The possibility exists for Rask to carry the torch in 2010-11, just as the possibility exists for him to struggle in his sophomore season. With team management already prepared to call their goaltending situation a tandem to start the year, it is obvious that neither may get the 60 starts that a top-10 NHL goaltender gets, thus making Rask a poor investment on draft day.

A word to the wise: If you own Rask in a single-year league, Tim Thomas is a must-own if he's still available. Your season may depend on it.

Have an opinion on SYP's article? Let us know. Just hit reply below and post your thoughts. Anything goes...but keep it clean.
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11   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Guest0760 Posted - 11/02/2010 : 12:56:17
wow you are like a genius. Then again we all knew that with your maple leafs avatar.
ToXXiK1 Posted - 11/01/2010 : 02:39:22
Getting hurt mid season and riding the pines as the hot Rask took over, would put TT low on any pool.
slozo Posted - 10/31/2010 : 08:37:55
Oh, and I looked up the draft order in my pool:

Thomas was picked in the 13th round. Rask in the 17th.

My poolies are a bunch of smart cookies . . . because we all figured it would be more of a tandem this year, and even though Boston should be awesome, it really cuts down on the starts. I will say though, when the guy picked Thomas, we all thought he was taking a bit of a flyer . . . turns out to be a great pick.

"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug
nuxfan Posted - 10/30/2010 : 16:20:07
oh, and in all of those pools, Rask went far higher than Thomas, as admin says. In fact, in 2 of those pools Thomas wasn't drafted at all, and was available in the first week of the pool. Gone now though...
nuxfan Posted - 10/30/2010 : 16:19:18
Slozo, I believe that - sounds like your pool picks 20 goalies only, so a goalie like Quick may fall back. The main problems with Quick are:

- only one good year
- very strong prospect in Bernier, that could turn LA into this year's Boston if he gets a chance.

In all my yahoo pools there are 12 poolies picking 3 goalies each and 16-18 players total - Quick went relatively high in each of those pools, round 5-8 in all of them.
slozo Posted - 10/29/2010 : 08:09:57
Hey man - even if it was a draft, of course you could have Brodeur and quick on the same team (in a 10 team draft) . . . heck, in my draft pool, I have one guy with Miller and Luongo! He just chose goalies early, while others concentrated on drafting forwards. And in my opinion, he'll pay for that, as the forwards have a higher ceiling overall for points.

And to talk about Quick as some kind of top goalie pick is sort of laughable anyway. Polishexpress - among goalies, when did Quick go in your draft? Because he was 17th round in my draft . . . for a pool of ten teams, where we choose 25 players, of which two goalies are counted for points.

"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug
irvine Posted - 10/29/2010 : 07:34:34
@ polishexpress:

I never explained how this particular pool actually works. So, I will now so that you understand how.

You can select ANY NHL player, providing your team fits within the NHL salary cap. So, two teams (even all), can have the same guy in the lineup. (example: Ovechkin is on like 8 teams)

That's how I got both.

It's a different pool than I'm used to, but still fun. You have to try and select guys who will produce, but, also have to go off the books quite a bit since others will be rubbing you out with the top guys.

It really does come down to finding the cheaper guys, who will produce more than the others.

polishexpress Posted - 10/27/2010 : 21:25:08
How in the world did you get Brodeur and Quick in the same pool?

Even if your pool had only 10 guys, thats 20goalies, and you just got one of the best goalies, and one of the goalies with the most wins last year(especially in the bang-for-buck area)>

I would have thought Quick would go early in goalie pickings, as people usually look at last year's stats as a predictor.
irvine Posted - 10/17/2010 : 12:03:52
Well, it's just a one year pool. Not a keeper league. For regular season, not playoffs.

Which is why I took Quick, over others. He was cheap and I think LA will get some wins. So, I decided that route.

Brodeur was a no brainer. He plays a ton of games, wins a ton of games and usually finishes near the top in shutouts. So, he was well worth the cash.

slozo Posted - 10/16/2010 : 06:20:01
Frankly Irvine, Quick is just as risky as Bernier . . . he didn't impress last playoffs, and if you are talking goalie of the future, it would be Bernier.

But he's cheap for your pool, as you said.

"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug
irvine Posted - 10/15/2010 : 18:38:19
A well-written article.

When taking my goaltenders in my pool this year, I had thought of taking Rask at first.

I then thought about it for a moment, and decided against it. My thinking when deciding, was just as mentioned.

Will Rask get more than 50 starts? Will Rask be the true #1 goaltender for the Bruins? Will Thomas bounce back after his hip surgery, and return to Vezina winning form he was in, just one/two seasons ago?

Will Rask continue to play as well this season, as he did in his rookie year?

I just found way too many questions that could not be answered, to pick Rask.

I figure that, for atleast the first 20-ish games this season, we'll see both Rask and Thomas split time in the crease, for the most part. The goalie winning/playing well, will remain in the crease. Once he has a short slump, the man on the bench will take over, and play until he fails for a short period of time. And so on.

Boston has no real #1 at this time, not in my opinion anyways. They have 1A/1B so to speak. It really could go either way. Both are quality goaltenders. Rask is Boston's future. Thomas is Boston's aging, but still starter material. Boston coaching staff, do not have a set #1. Thus, I could not take a Boston goalie.


My pool is a bit different than most.

Each team can select any NHL player they want, even if another team has chosen that player. (Example: 2 teams (or all), can select Alex Ovechkin).

The catch is, teams must be salary cap compliant. Each team must select:

4 Centers
8 Wingers (Any mixture of LW or RW)
6 Defencemen
2 Goaltenders

Points are:
Forwards - Goals: 2 Pts Assists: 1 Pt
Defencement - Goals 3 Pts Assists: 2 Pts
Goalies - Wins: 3 Pts Assists: 2 Pts Shutouts: 8 Pts

So when drafting, you had to select a few players that are under-the-radar, or take some rookies so that you could use their cheaper salaries.

Keeping that mind, and keeping in mind that Defencemen earn more points for goals, and also, that forwards earn more for goals than assists, i tried taking goal scorers more than just basing on points alone.

It's an interesting pool. Something different from what I am used to.

But, I ended up taking

Martin Brodeur, whom earns a higher salary, and Jonathon Quick. I needed to take goalie with a lower salary, thus Quick was taken. As, I think LA will get some wins this year. And, unless Quick plays awful, he should remain the starter even over Bernier this year.


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