Roy's Legacy: Extended Excellence Patrick Roy has the records and the rings to claim honors as the best goaltender in NHL history, but he was rarely considered the best goalie in fantasy hockey. While Roy piled up wins for 18 seasons, he wasn't able to overcome shorter bursts of brilliance from goalies like Dominik Hasek and Martin Brodeur. But that quibble takes away little from a stellar fantasy career that reached its zenith in Roy's final seasons. The league's overall defense-first approach in recent seasons played a role in bolstering Roy's numbers, but his final three seasons were arguably his best from a statistical perspective. And just as importantly, Roy was always the measuring stick for other goalies. Byron Dafoe or Jose Theodore might have been better for one season. And Hasek or Ed Belfour might have been better for multiple-season stretches, but no goalie was as reliable a first-round fantasy pick over such a long period of time.
Up Next: Aebischer Awaits Chance
The Colorado Avalanche aren't the Colorado Avalanche without Roy, and it's important to keep that in mind before going gaga over David Aebischer or any other goalie who comes to town. The Avalanche struggled to stay among the West's elite for much of this season, before finally slipping past the Vancouver Canucks for yet another division title. The minor league system has the prospects to eventually restock the larder -- including goalie prospect Phil Suave -- but there's no getting around the damage done by budget constraints in recent seasons. Whoever starts in net next season will have plenty of talent around him, but the Avalanche won't have enough depth to lift a mediocre goalie to fantasy stardom.
So where does that leave Aebischer? Despite a losing record and 2.43 GAA this season, the Swiss-born goalie was a relative success in three seasons as Roy's caddy. In fact, prior to this season's fade, Aebischer posted 13 wins, a 1.88 GAA and .931 save percentage during the 2001-02 season. Had Roy retired after last season, the Avalanche might have felt more comfortable -- rightly or wrongly -- turning the job over to him. But Aebischer, 24, remains a talented young player who needs a chance to prove himself with a full-time opportunity. And that's a story that will remind enough owners of Dallas' Marty Turco to make Aebischer a trendy sleeper pick this fall.
Trading for Roman Cechmanek would provide an instant answer while pleasing both Colorado fans and fantasy owners, but the price isn't likely to be right for the Avs. Instead, expect the club to go after a veteran safety valve -- as Dallas did last season in acquiring Ron Tugnutt from Columbus. Assuming that veteran isn't quite the caliber of a Chris Osgood -- someone who would need 35-to-40 starts -- such a move shouldn't deter fantasy owners from prospecting for a sleeper. After that, it's up to Aebischer to keep the analogy intact by keeping the veteran on the bench. Betting that he will is a worthwhile gamble in the fifth or sixth round of a fantasy draft.