In The Cage: Backup Opportunities

Dec 19th 2011, 12:30pm EST

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'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.

For many hidden gems and rarely seen backups, the windows of opportunity to raise their value are few and far between. So when these chances do occur, they must win every start they get and play extremely well if they expect to increase their role with the team.

Ryan Miller

Similar to our advice on Ray Emery last Monday, today we shed light on three more goalies that could see their fantasy value rise before the year's end: Evgeni Nabokov, Mathieu Garon and Michal Neuvirth. Because of the holidays, 14 teams have back-to-back sets before the weekend, so expect some windows of opportunity to open for the goalies below, as well as guys like Steve Mason, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and Jonas Gustavsson.


Owned in just 16 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues, Nabokov is back from his groin injury. Al Montoya earned a huge 2-1 shootout win over Minnesota last Saturday night, but starts for Nabokov are still on the horizon; the Islanders play back-to-back on Thursday and Friday. The more he plays right now, the higher the odds are that Nabokov is traded to a team where his role, and thus his value, likely increases.

Tampa Bay's goaltending has been beyond shaky this season, so Garon continues to earn more starts than any other backup. Owned in just 22 percent of leagues, Garon has now won two in a row, and the team is finally starting to score some goals (eight in the last two games) and play with more energy. But if Garon can't string together a set of wins before 2012, Steve Yzerman might finally pull the trigger and acquire someone that can.