Thursday, October 23, 2008

To Platoon Or Not To Platoon?

Platoon - verb (used with object)
a. to use (a player) at a position in a game alternately with another player or players.
b. to alternate (to different teams or units), as separate offensive and defensive squads.
c. to fuck your fantasy hockey goaltending situation in the ass.

Yes, we fantasy hockey GMs are more than familiar with the term platoon. It is one of the most dreaded words in our lexicon. And yet early this season it's a reality we must face. Many teams are either using platoons or are dangerously close to one. Let's take a look at some of the more relevant pairs, and whether or not you need to own one of these goalies, two of them, or none of them.

Cristobal Huet / Nikolai Khabibulin - Huet comes to Chicago to a nice long contract for big money after being shunned by two teams he played very well for last season. The Blackhawks even go so far as to putting former four time all star Nikolai Khabibulin on waivers. But nobody wanted him, so what did the Bulin Wall do in the starts he got next to Huet? Put up a 2-1 record with a 1.97 GAA, .931 SV%, and a shutout. Somehow he's still only owned in 31% of Yahoo leagues, and as much as I like Huet, at this point Khabi should not be available anywhere.

Tim Thomas / Manny Fernandez - This is a tough one. Manny Fernandez, at one point in time, was one of the more under rated goalies in hockey. While last year was a huge disaster for him, this season could see him bounce back. Thomas on the other hand is currently one of the most under rated goalies in hockey though, and should play well enough to keep Fernandez firmly in the back up role. I hope. I would not bother picking up Manny in anything but the deepest of leagues.

Martin Biron / Antero Niittymaki - A situation where you have two talented goalies playing for a team that is playing absolutely no defense. Even I'm at a loss on this one. Nitty isn't really worth owning except in the deepest keeper leagues, but he very well could take the starting job. Biron is too good to just flat out drop, but he's not doing you any favors and may end up a back up for the umpteenth time in his career. My best advice is for the time being bench Biron for his starts and wait and see what the hell happens with the Flyers.

Chris Osgood / Ty Conklin - Right now Osgood is the #1, but that could change very quickly. Conklin has looked good in his two starts and could be snatched up in your league at any moment. I don't own Osgood in any leagues, but if I did I wouldn't feel comfortable with him on my team without Conklin as an insurance policy.

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