Fantasy Hockey Geek

Geek of the Week: Miikka Kiprusoff

 One of the most difficult yet most important considerations heading into a draft is your strategy on how to handle goaltenders.  Goalies are an extremely important part of your fantasy hockey team; they often account for 25-40% of the scoring categories but they make up only 10-15% of your roster.   To make matters even tougher, goalies are often a lot harder to predict than forwards so the most important position on your team is often the hardest one to get right.  To help identify some value and stability in your goalie position I present my latest Geek of the Week, Miikka Kiprusoff.

Kipper is currently being drafted (on average) as the 19th goalie in Yahoo! leagues which this article will show is way too low.  He is a reliable goalie capable of posting G1 value but more suited to being a stud second goalie on your squad.  If you can draft your G2 a little bit later and he still provides the value of other team’s G1 then your team will be set at the most difficult position.  Let’s run the numbers through Fantasy Hockey Geek:

(2011-12 Season stats for a Yahoo! Standard 12 team league: G, A, +/-, PIM, SOG, PPP, GAA, SV%, W, SO)

Kipper’s numbers were solid across the board.   Despite playing for a non-playoff team, he was one of only 7 goalies to reach 35 wins.  His four shutouts were respectable and his GAA and Save% were both stellar, so not surprisingly FHG shows that he was the 10th most valuable goalie in a league of this format last year.  Just looking at the numbers from last year it is difficult to comprehend why Kipper is being drafted so late.  It’s not as if it is all “hidden value”: those are some stellar numbers on the most basic stats that are right there for everybody to see!  Why is he being drafted so late? 

What’s even better is that Kipper’s great 2011-12 numbers don’t even tell the whole story of his great value.  Here’s a couple more reasons why you need to get Kipper on your team:

Kipper is a model of consistency

For seven straight years, Kipper has reached at least 35 wins.  In today’s NHL, this stat is flat out ridiculous.  1A/1B situations are more prevalent than ever, injuries are often a concern and competition at the goalie position is at an all-time high.   None of that seems to affect Kipper, who just keeps plugging away getting his 70 starts and 35 wins year in and year out.

Of the 8 goalies who reached 35 wins last year, Kipper is easily the most consistent one at meeting that mark. 

I would personally say that Lundqvist, Rinne, Quick and Rask (in lieu of Thomas) are all pretty much a lock to do it again in the coming year and I would certainly recommend drafting them accordingly.  Other than those studs though, I would have a hard time finding another goalie that is more likely than Kipper to hit 35 in the coming season.  The really mind blowing thing is that the four studs I identified above all play on legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.  Kipper has amassed his stats playing for the “just-missed again” Flames!  For a position with so much uncertainty, being able to bank on a goalie for 35 wins is absolutely huge.

Kipper’s status is undisputed

For seven straight seasons Kipper has also surpassed 70 games played.  This is another unheard of stat in today’s age and it is a large reason why he is able to amass so many wins.  Goalies who get the starts are incredibly valuable in fantasy hockey for a couple reasons

Firstly,a goalie like Kipper only takes up one roster spot, as opposed to a Halak/Elliott situation where if you own one then you pretty much need to own both.  Wasted roster spots are a huge drain on leagues with daily rosters. 

Secondly, in leagues with weekly rosters, getting the majority of your teams starts is even MORE important.  Imagine having to pick which St Louis goalie to start every Friday in a weekly league?  If you were lucky you would get 2 starts out of your goalie.  If you were unlucky, you might get 0.  With a guy like Kipper you are assured two starts and you will probably get three.

Finally, a goalie that gets more starts obviously helps out more in the cumulative stats (wins, saves, GP etc).  Let’s take a look at Kipper’s value in another league: The Dobber Pro league.  This is a weekly start league that counts Wins, Saves and GAA as the three goalie categories.

Due to the nature of the categories (two of the goalie categories are cumulative stats), Kipper was the 6th most valuable goalie in the Dobber Pro league last year!  Last week, in one of the Dobber Pro leagues Kipper was drafted as the 15th goalie.  This was an absolute steal for the GM who got him because in the same league, Jimmy Howard was taken as the 6th overall goalie.  Kipper could very well be the more valuable goalie and he was picked four rounds later.

All of the above shows the tremendous value that can be found in Miikka Kiprusoff.  He is an extremely consistent performer and he is an undisputed number one goalie, two things that are extremely difficult to find in fantasy hockey.  On top of that, his actual value far exceeds his perceived value (currently being drafted as the 19th goalie).  My recommendation on Kipper is that he is a tremendous value for his draft position.  If you miss out on a top end starter early in the draft then you can get Kipper in there to fill the gap.  More ideally, if you can land a solid G1 in your draft and then pick Kipper a little later as your number two, you should be well on your way to a championship.

To find more goaltenders with great value in your league sign up for Fantasy Hockey Geek  and create rankings that are customized to YOUR league. 

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Published Sun, Oct 14th, 2012