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Fantasy Pool Look: Return of the Kipper

Miikka Kiprusoff has a solid defense corps in front of him in Calgary. (Getty Images)

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Miikka Kiprusoff has a solid defense corps in front of him in Calgary. (Getty Images)

One of the league’s best goaltenders – not to mention one of the top fantasy assets – hasn’t actually been very good in recent years. In fact, Miikka Kiprusoff has been progressively worse with each season. Concerning? Not at all.

Over the past five seasons, the Calgary netminder has seen a decline in his save percentage:

.933, .923, .917, .906, .903

Similarly, his goals-against average has risen steadily:

1.69, 2.07, 2.46, 2.69, 2.84

Normally when I look at something like that, it is usually followed by my feet doing the Flintstone run in an effort to get away from a player who is clearly on the decline. However, the situation has changed dramatically. Now he has Jay Bouwmeester.

Contrary to popular expectation, Bouwmeester and Dion Phaneuf have not been paired together at even strength. What that means is that in an average game when the Flames aren’t either shorthanded or at even strength (about 55 minutes), Phaneuf is on the ice for 21 of them and Jay-Bo is on for 23 of them. That’s only about 11 minutes per game at even strength where Kipper can feel insecure.

Now you see more shots come in from the perimeter and more rebounds get cleared to the corner. Now you see fewer bodies in front of the net.

Kiprusoff’s goals-against average may not dip too far below 2.70 this season (still an improvement), but his save percentage is going to easily march up above .915. Throw in another 40 wins and once again you have a top-3 goaltender…

Still with Calgary, one player who I liked as a dark horse three years ago was Mark Giordano. He teased with decent points and penalty minutes in spurts, but then he went to the Kontinental League for 2007-08. Last season, he returned, but battled injuries throughout and wasn’t the player I remembered.

In the first game of this season he was paired with Bouwmeester and you couldn’t ask for a better partner. Giordano posted a pair of points as well as two PIMs. If you’re lacking a rearguard in your roto league, Giordano is worth a flyer. He’ll give you a point every two games and more than one PIM per game – for the foreseeable future, anyway…

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Injuries, from a fantasy league perspective: The injury to Andrei Markov (ankle – up to four months) does a couple of things. Not only does it open the door for Yannick Weber on the second power play unit, but the team will be more reliant on Paul Mara for offense. I’ve always liked Mara in Montreal and felt that his 20-point days were the result of his role in New York. I felt that the role would probably change in Montreal. With Markov out, he’ll move to the top PP unit and he’ll have three or four months to show what he can do there. I think he can top 40 points, while still maintaining his solid PIM totals…

Farm Report: Promising Washington prospect Dmitri Kugryshev followed up an early camp cut with a disappointing start in the Quebec League. The right winger has only a single point in his first six games for Quebec. As a right winger, he has a lot of interest from poolies because the Caps are so stacked with left wingers. But it’s looking as though the NHL is still several years away for the youngster.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Get the edge in your league - check out the latest scoop every Tuesday and Saturday throughout the season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.

Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.

Want more fantasy insider information or to contact The Dobber? Check out dobberhockey.

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