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Top 10 Goalie Gambles for 2010-11

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NHL.com-esque headline: Bernier could win the #1 job very Quickly..
NHL.com-esque headline: Bernier could win the #1 job very Quickly..

Ahhhh goalies.  They can win you a fantasy title (thank you very much Jimmy Howard) or lose it for you (Tim Thomas, we're looking in your direction). These are not the best ten fantasy goalies ... but ten goalies who are currently backups (or #1A) but with a little luck they might end up as their team's #1 by the end of the year. 

#10 Ondrej Pavelec: (backing up Chris Mason) - We consider Mason the #1 in ATL but Pavelec is the future in Atlanta so they will want to him play.  He has some work to do to usurp Mason.

#9 Tim Thomas: (backing up Tuukka Rask) - It's a longshot but maybe Rask suffers through the dreaded sophomore slump?  Thomas' numbers were pretty good last year (2.56 gaa and .915 sv%) so it's not impossible to see him stealing some starts away.

#8 Antero Niittymaki: (sharing job with Antti Niemi) - We had Thomas Griess on this list until the Sharks picked up Niemi.  We are expecting Niemi to get the majority of starts but he's an unproven commodity.

#7 Mike Smith: (backing up Dan Ellis) - It's been a weird couple of seasons for Smith, he's battled consistency and bizarre injuries.  Assuming he can put the pieces back together, he could steal the job away from Ellis this year.

#6 Jacob Markstrom: (playing in AHL) - One of the best goalie prospects in the world just needs an opportunity and then he could surprise.  He'll need a Vokoun trade/injury to get some decent PT.  Even if that happens... he's on the Panthers.

#5 Ty Conklin: (backing up Jaroslav Halak) - Halak wasn't a highly sought after prospect (9th round pick) and he has never played more than 45 games... it's possible to see a breakdown by Halak and the steady Conklin stepping up to the plate.

#4 Jonas Gustavsson: (sharing job with Jean-Sebastien Giguere) - As long as the job share is on, neither one of these guys will have much value... especially on the Leafs.  The Leafs should be thinking towards the future and if The Monster continues playing well (2.35 gaa & .915 sv% after Giguere joined the team) he should land the #1 job.

#3 Brian Elliott: (backing up Pascal Leclaire) - The Sens seem desperate to give the job to Leclaire even though he just continues to struggle.  Elliott has shown himself to be a steady goalie who can post decent (but unspectacular) numbers.

#2 Michal Neuvirth: (backing up Semyon Varlamov) - Even if he only plays 25 games Neuvirth could still win 18 on the Capitals.  But if anything happens to Varlamov then Neuvirth would be in line for a massive boost.  With Varlamov injured to start the season Neuvirth gets a head start.

#1 Jonathan Bernier: (backing up Jon Quick) - Quick struggled at the end of last year (lost 11 of 14) and in the playoffs.  Bernier has been unbelievable everywhere he's played.  He'll start as the backup but this could turn into a Tim Thomas - Tuukka Rask situation very quickly.