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Today, we’re going to talk about why Brian Elliott should be a shrewd fantasy pickup.
Is a career season for Elliott in store? Well, in terms of games played, most likely. The 31-year-old netminder didn’t really start garnering fame (and awesome save percentages) until he joined St. Louis, but even then, the Blues never really acknowledged him as a clear-cut starter. He’s maxed out with a career high of 55 games in 2009-10 with the Ottawa Senators; since then, it’s just been 46 with St. Louis in 2014-15.
Don’t expect that this year. The Flames are entering training camp with the goaltending clearly laid out: Chad Johnson is the ideal backup, and for Elliott, it’s the starter’s reins. He’s probably going to take on a lot of games.
And he should win a fair share of them, too. Consider how the Flames scored the 11th most goals last season, and it was just poor defence and goaltending that sunk them. This is a team that can bring offence for its goalie, and the rest will just be up to Elliott – and he had a .930 save percentage last season. Not just that, but at even strength, his save percentage was .934 – tied with a little-known goalie by the name of Henrik Lundqvist for fourth among all starters.
Lundqvist is a name. Elliott isn’t. You can wait comfortably until the middle rounds of your draft to take Elliott, because chances are, he isn’t on the forefront of your opponents’ minds, but he has all the potential to be your secret weapon from the net.
And back to that save percentage – via Corsica, Elliott’s adjusted Fenwick save percentage – tracking his actual Fenwick SV% minus what’s expected of him – is +1.78; again, the only starter ahead of him is Lundqvist. So don’t expect his being traded from the notably better Blues to the still-rebuilding Flames to cause a dip in his performance.
Also, recall the Flames have an elite top pairing in Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie, and a new coach in Glen Gulutzan who should help overcome the Flames’ defensive deficiencies. Elliott alone could be the missing key in bringing Calgary back to the playoffs.
So, you know… he’s a worthwhile pick for your goaltending needs.
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