Joey Alfieri

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Top 50 Goalies

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Top 50 Goalies

1 - Braden Holtby - Washington Capitals: Holtby failed to win a second consecutive Vezina Trophy last year, but he still turned in a solid season. He was particularly dominant at the start of 2017, as he went 20 games without a regulation loss between Jan. 1 and Mar. 4 (19-0-1). The Caps’ goalie finished the season with a 42-13-6 record, a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage last season. If he’s healthy, he’s a lock to get more than 60 starts.

2 - Sergei Bobrovsky - Columbus Blue Jackets: Bobrovsky took home the Vezina Trophy in 2016-17, and for good reason. His .931 save percentage was the best in the league and his 2.04 goals-against-average was tops among goalies that played at least 25 games. The Jackets don’t really have anyone behind him who can steal his job, so expect him to see a lot of action this season.

3 - Carey Price - Montreal Canadiens: Price is arguably the best goalie in the league, and it’s pretty clear that the Canadiens will go as far as Price takes them. After missing most of the 2015-16 season, Price bounced back by starting 62 games. He had a 37-20-5 record with a 2.23 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage in 2016-17, which led him to being nominated for the Vezina Trophy.
4 - Cam Talbot - Edmonton Oilers: Not many people expected the Oilers to be a playoff team last season, but thanks to Talbot and Connor McDavid, they were able to play meaningful hockey in the spring. McDavid grabbed all the headlines, but the work Talbot did between the pipes was outstanding. Incredibly enough, he played in 73 games last year (no other goalie played more than 66) and he put up a 42-22-8 record with a 2.39 goals-against-average and a .919 save percentage.

5 - Matt Murray - Pittsburgh Penguins: Despite the fact that Murray’s won back-to-back Stanley Cups in his first two NHL seasons, having him this high on the list is a little risky. For the first time in his career, Marc-Andre Fleury won’t be there to back him up, which means the Pens will sink or swim with him between the pipes. Given his talent and the good situation his team is in, there’s a chance he could end up as one of the top fantasy goalies in the league in 2017-18.

6 - John Gibson - Anaheim Ducks: When the Ducks traded Frederik Andersen to Toronto last summer, it officially signaled the beginning of the Gibson era. Sure, he and Andersen had split starts in previous years, but the move showed that the Ducks were committed to making Gibson their guy. Things got difficult for him at times, but overall, he had a nice season (25-16-9, 2.22 goals-against-average and a .924 save percentage). Expect him to be even more mentally prepared to handle a full season.

7 - Tuukka Rask - Boston Bruins: Rask had plenty of ups and downs last season, but when he was at his best, the Bruins were tough to beat. He finished the season with a 37-20-5 record, a 2.23 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage. Rask has played at least 64 games per season in the last three years, so there’s a good chance he’ll hit that mark again if he stays healthy.

8 - Devan Dubnyk - Minnesota Wild: No team was hotter than the Wild in the first half of the season, but their momentum came to a crashing halt down the stretch. Like his team, Dubnyk was good for most of the season. Unfortunately, things didn’t end the way he would have hoped. He still finished with a 40-19-5 record, a 2.25 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage. Expect him to put together another solid campaign in 2017-18.

9 - Martin Jones - San Jose Sharks: Jones’ solid effort during his two-years with the Sharks earned him a new six-year contract extension worth $34.5 million. His numbers took a hit from 2015-16 to 2016-17, but he still remains a good bet to start and win a lot of games for San Jose next season. Jones has won at least 35 games in each of his two seasons as a starting goalie. If he stays healthy, he should be able to surpass that number again this season.

10 - Pekka Rinne - Nashville Predators: The veteran had good and bad moments during the regular season, but like the rest of his team, he was able to elevate his game in the playoffs. Rinne posted a 2.42 GAA and a .918 save percentage during the regular season. In the playoffs, he was able to lower those numbers to 1.96 and .930. If playoff-Rinne shows up to start the regular season, he’ll be one of the top fantasy goalies in the league in 2017-18.

11 - Corey Crawford - Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks have gone through plenty of changes this offseason. Artemi Panarin, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger and Crawford’s backup, Scott Darling, have all moved on to new teams, but that doesn’t mean the ‘Hawks won’t be good. The fact that Darling’s been replaced with inexperienced backup goalie Anton Forsberg means that Crawford should see even more action than he’s seen over the last couple of years. Excluding the lockout year, Crawford has won 30-plus games six years in a row.
12 - Jonathan Quick - Los Angeles Kings: Quick missed all but 17 games last season, and it showed. The Kings got some solid goaltending from Peter Budaj while Quick was out, but it wasn’t enough to get them to the playoffs. This season, if Quick can stay healthy, it should give them a better chance of playing meaningful games in the spring. In the previous two seasons, Quick had played 72 and 68 games, but last year’s injury will likely force the Kings to limit him in 2017-18.  

13 - Frederik Andersen - Toronto Maple Leafs: Not many people expected the Leafs to make the playoffs last year, but thanks to a young crop of forwards, they were able to do just that. Andersen came out of the gate slowly, which wasn’t completely unexpected considering it was his first year with his new team and was coming off an offseason injury. Once he settled down, he provided the young Leafs with some solid goaltending. Now that he’s heading into year two in Toronto, he should be solid from the start of 2017-18.

14 - Ben Bishop - Dallas Stars: There’s no doubt that the Stars can score. With names like Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza on the roster, it’s easy to see why they can produce offense. However, keeping the puck out of the net has been an issue. Last season, only Colorado gave up more goals than Dallas. GM Jim Nill tried to rectify that problem by getting Bishop and defenseman Marc Methot. Bishop should be able to bring more to the table than goalies like Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen did last season.

15 - Jake Allen - St. Louis Blues: No goalie went through more of a rollercoaster season than Allen in 2016-17. Things got so bad that the Blues decided to leave him at home during a road trip. To his credit, he bounced back in a huge way. Allen almost singlehandedly eliminated the Minnesota Wild in the opening round of the playoffs. He was terrific in the postseason. If he can put it all together for a whole season, he’ll make his fantasy owners really happy.

16 - Craig Anderson - Ottawa Senators: Anderson missed a lot of games last year to be with his wife who had been dealing with cancer. When he was between the pipes, he showed incredible focus for a person battling such difficult personal circumstances. Now that his wife is cancer-free (that’s incredible news for her and their entire family), he’ll hopefully be able to play a lot more games. Last season, he had a 25-11-4 record with a 2.28 goals-against-average and a .926 save percentage. Mike Condon did a great job replacing him while he was out, but the Sens are a better team when Anderson is around.

17 - Henrik Lundqvist - New York Rangers: Is Lundqvist still one of the elite goalies in the NHL? He showed some clear signs of slowing down during the regular season, but he quickly elevated his game during New York’s run to the second round of the playoffs. Without Lundqvist, there’s no way the Rangers would have gotten by Montreal in the opening round. Even though they lost to Ottawa in the second round, he still showed he can play at a high level. Can the 35-year-old still do it over a full season? We’ll find out.

18 - Andrei Vasilevskiy - Tampa Bay Lightning: Vasilevskiy is one of those unpredictable fantasy picks. When the Bolts traded Ben Bishop to Los Angeles last season, they essentially gave Vasilevskiy his first shot at being the starting goalie. In 50 games, he posted a 23-17-7 record with a 2.61 goals-against-average and a .917 save percentage last season. After missing the playoffs last season, expect the Bolts to make it back there rather easily if they get some solid goaltending from their young netminder. Don’t be surprised if he moves way up this list next year.

19 - Mike Smith - Calgary Flames: Mike Smith hasn’t had it easy over the last few seasons. As a member of the Arizona Coyotes, Smith has struggled to put up decent numbers (he hasn’t won more than 20 games since 2013-14). This season, we’ll find out if the struggles were because the ‘Yotes simply weren’t good or if it was because his play has dropped off that much. Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan says the team expects to collect over 100 points this season, so if that’s the case, Smith should be a fine fantasy option.

20 - Roberto Luongo - Florida Panthers: One of the reasons the Panthers missed the playoffs last year is because they dealt with a ton of injuries. Roberto Luongo, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau all missed an extended period of time at some point. Luongo is still the highest paid goalie on the roster, but with James Reimer right behind him on the depth chart, the Panthers will certainly opt to use both of their goalies regularly. Luongo had a 17-15-6 record with a 2.68 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage in 2016-17.

21 - Jimmy Howard - Detroit Red Wings: Howard went into last season as Petr Mrazek’s backup goalie, but thanks to some mediocre performances from Detroit’s other goalie, Howard was able to jump up the depth chart. The Red Wings won’t be an elite team in the East, but they could be in the battle for one of the final Wild Card spots. If all goes well for Howard, he should be able to hold onto the starting gig, which means he’ll have some fantasy value, but it will be limited.

22 - Cory Schneider - New Jersey Devils: It would be surprising to see the Devils make the playoffs this year, but Schneider plays a lot of games. Even though his win-to-start ratio probably won’t be great, he still starts enough games to be very relevant in standard fantasy leagues. He’s played between 58 and 69 games in each of the last three years.

23 - Scott Darling - Carolina Hurricanes: Darling was seen as one of the best backup goalies in the NHL when he was with the Chicago Blackhawks. This offseason, before he was about to hit free agency, the ‘Hawks traded his rights to the Hurricanes, where he’s expected to be the starting goalie for the first time in his NHL career. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds to playing more games and suiting up for a weaker team.

24 - Thomas Greiss - New York Islanders: For various reasons, Greiss got a greater number of starts than any other goalie on the Islanders’ roster last season. This year, he should have the upper hand over Jaroslav Halak. Greiss has started 41 and 51 games over the last two seasons, so expect him to fall somewhere in that range in 2017-18. The Isles need him to step up and provide them with consistent goaltending if they’re going to get to the playoffs.

25 - Robin Lehner - Buffalo Sabres: Lehner was a restricted free agent this summer, but instead of committing to him long term, the Sabres only gave him a one-year deal. That means he’ll have to prove to them that he’s worthy of being a number one goalie in the NHL. The Sabres haven’t been good in a while, but their young roster is starting to take shape. If they surprise this season, Lehner could be one of the reasons for it. He’ll have to show he can be consistent in his play and his ability to stay healthy.

26 - Brian Elliott - Philadelphia Flyers: After spending five years in St. Louis, Brian Elliott was moved to the Calgary Flames last season. After getting off to a rough start with his new team, Elliott finally settled down and became the goalie the Flames expected. This summer, once he hit free agency, he signed a deal with the Flyers, where he’s expected to start over Michal Neuvirth for now. Neuvirth will still see his share of action, but Elliott should get the majority of the starts.

27 - Marc-Andre Fleury - Las Vegas Golden Knights: Ranking Fleury on this list wasn’t easy because the Golden Knights haven’t played a game yet and we have no idea how bad they’ll be in their first year. At the same time, Fleury has plenty of experience and he’ll likely see a lot of action between the pipes for Vegas this season. He’s one of those “big names” that may go earlier than he should in a lot of standard fantasy leagues.

28 - Connor Hellebuyck - Winnipeg Jets: The Jets brought in Steve Mason in free agency, but there’s no denying that Hellebuyck is still the goalie of the future. Winnipeg is a relatively young team, which means they’ll probably give Hellebuyck every opportunity to claim the starting job. At the end of the day, they still shelled out a pretty penny for Mason, so expect the duo to share starts. Hellebuyck had a 26-19-4 record with a 2.89 goals-against-average and a .907 save percentage in 2016-17.
29 - Antti Raanta - Arizona Coyotes: During his time with the Rangers, Raanta showed that he could step in and be an effective goalie. Whenever Henrik Lundqvist struggled, he came right in and played well. Now, he’s taking on a different challenge. He’ll likely get a lot more starts, but they will be with a rebuilding Coyotes team. Even though he’ll see more action, it’ll be more difficult to come away with victories in 2016-17. On top of that, we don’t know how he’ll respond to the heavier workload.

30 - James Reimer - Florida Panthers: Reimer went into last season as Roberto Luongo’s backup, but he ended up starting more games than Luongo by the end of the season. If both guys are healthy, they should see a similar amount of starts. Reimer had an 18-16-5 record with a 2.53 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage last season.

31 - Jaroslav Halak - New York Islanders: The Islanders have decided to go with a tandem of Thomas Greiss and Halak heading into this season. Greiss might have a slight edge over Halak right now, but it’s not impossible for Halak to overtake him at some point. They’re both on the lower half of this list because they’ll likely share the job this season.

32 - Jacob Markstrom - Vancouver Canucks: With Ryan Miller finally out of the picture, Markstrom should get his opportunity to be the starting goalie in Vancouver this season. Unfortunately for Markstrom, who has played well at times, the Canucks aren’t expected to be very good this season. He’s played 33 and 26 games during the last two seasons, so like Raanta, it’ll be interesting to see how he handles a much heavier workload.

33 - Semyon Varlamov - Colorado Avalanche: The 2016-17 season was a disaster for the Colorado Avalanche, and it probably won’t get much better this year. The Avs were by far the worst team in the league last year. None of their players provided fantasy owners with expected fantasy value, including Varlamov. With two years and $5.9 million per season remaining on the goalie’s current contract, it’s unlikely that anyone would trade for him either. Unless you absolutely need to, you might want to stay away from Varlamov.

34 - Philipp Grubauer - Washington Capitals: Grubauer put up some incredible numbers last season. The only problem with him is that he doesn’t see a ton of action because he plays behind Braden Holtby. But he’s the ultimate handcuff. If something were to happen to Holtby, Grubauer’s fantasy stock would go through the roof. He had a 13-6-2 record with a 2.04 goals-against-average and a .926 save percentage. Despite being a backup, he might be able to provide more fantasy value than some starters on this list.

35 - Peter Budaj - Tampa Bay Lighting: At the start of last season, no one expected Budaj to be an NHL goalie. But with the injury to Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles, Budaj emerged as the best candidate to fill in. Now, he’s in Tampa Bay backing up young Andrei Vasilevskiy. Should Vasilevskiy be unable to handle a heavy workload, the veteran will be there to pick up the slack. Budaj quietly put up a 30-win season last year. He probably won’t do that again, but he’s still someone to keep an eye on.
36 - Ryan Miller - Anaheim Ducks: Miller signed with the Ducks this offseason and is expected to get a reduced role. The veteran has been the clear starter during his stops in Buffalo, St. Louis and Vancouver, but he’ll likely see less action now that he’s behind John Gibson on the depth chart. If something happens to Gibson, Miller’s fantasy value would get a significant boost.

37 - Mike Condon - Ottawa Senators: Condon did a remarkable job filling in for Craig Anderson when he was away from the team. The Senators rewarded Condon with a new contract extension during the offseason. Even if Anderson stays completely healthy this year, expect Condon to get a fair amount of starts throughout the season.

38 - Petr Mrazek - Detroit Red Wings: Mrazek was expected to be the starting goalie ahead of Jimmy Howard last year, but things unfolded very differently. Instead of being the go-to guy, Mrazek’s play took a serious dip and he found himself watching more games than anticipated. He finished the year with an 18-21-9 record, a 3.04 goals-against-average and a .901 save percentage.

39 - Michal Neuvirth - Philadelphia Flyers: Neuvirth was limited to just 28 games last season because he was dealing with a knee injury. He had an 11-11-1 record with a 2.82 goals-against-average and a .891 save percentage. Brian Elliott will likely break camp as the starter but Neuvirth could see a good number of starts if something were to happen to Elliott.

40 - Juuse Saros - Nashville Predators: Like a lot of the goalies in this range on the list, Saros would need an injury to his starter, Pekka Rinne, to become fantasy-relevant. But should the Predators lose Rinne for an extended period of time, Saros’ fantasy value would immediately skyrocket. Saros played in 21 games last year, and don’t be surprised if he surpasses that number in 2017-18.

41 - Chad Johnson - Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres showed that they were far from committed to keeping Robin Lehner long-term, as they gave him a one-year deal this offseason. If Lehner continues to be inconsistent, that could open the door for Johnson to step in as the team’s number one goalie. Even if he does see an extended amount of time between the pipes, he won’t have a ton of fantasy value.

42 - Kari Lehtonen - Dallas Stars: Lehtonen has pretty much lost the starting gig to Ben Bishop, but the Stars decided to part with Antti Niemi instead of him. Lehtonen has dealt with major inconsistencies and injuries in his career and his play has dipped over the last few seasons. If Bishop goes down, Lehtonen would get the call as the starter. The Stars have made some improvements during the offseason, so he could have solid short-term fantasy value.

43 - Steve Mason - Winnipeg Jets: The Jets handed Mason a two-year deal worth over $8 million in free agency. Consistency has never been Mason’s strong suit, but he’s a veteran presence who is there to help groom Connor Hellebuyck. Whenever Hellebuyck shows signs of hitting a rough patch, the Jets won’t hesitate to turn to the veteran they spent big money on.

44 - Cam Ward - Carolina Hurricanes: Scott Darling is expected to go into the season as the number one goalie in Carolina, but he’s never been a starter before. If he falters, Ward could be there to pick up the pieces. Ward, like his team, hasn’t been very good over the last few years, so even if Darling falters, he’s far from the ideal choice to step in.

45 - Anton Forsberg - Chicago Blackhawks: The ‘Hawks acquired Forsberg from the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of the Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad swap. Forsberg has played in just 10 career NHL games at this point, but he could be in line for a decent amount of work if he’s able to secure the backup job with his new team.

46 - Carter Hutton - St. Louis Blues: While Jake Allen was falling apart, Hutton stepped in and did a pretty nice job in his place. The Blues backup goalie ended up suiting up in 30 games, which was a little surprising. He posted a 13-8-2 record with a 2.39 goals-against-average and a .913 save percentage last season. He’s a solid backup goalie.

47 - Al Montoya - Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price was relatively healthy last season, which limited the amount of times the Canadiens used Montoya. But almost every time he was in goal, he played well (except when he got shelled for 10 goals in a game against Columbus early in the season). Montoya has never been a starting goalie at this level, but he could probably do a nice job in the short-term if Price were forced to miss some time.

48 - Louis Domingue - Arizona Coyotes: Domingue has played 31 and 39 games over the last two seasons, but he hasn’t been able to pile up the wins because Arizona hasn’t been very good. The Coyotes will likely use a combination of Domingue and Antti Raanta, with Raanta likely getting the majority of the starts early on. Banking on a goalie from the ‘Yotes to perform well in fantasy league is pretty wishful thinking.

49 - Ondrej Pavelec - New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist had his share of inconsistencies last year, but Antti Raanta was always there to step in when needed. Now, with Raanta gone to Arizona, Pavelec will have to be ready fill in if Lundqvist falters again. He had a 4-4-0 record with a 3.55 goals-against-average and a .888 save percentage with the Jets last season. Don’t bank on him being a reliable backup this year.

50 - Jonathan Bernier - Colorado Avalanche: Bernier’s tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t end well, but he was solid during his one year with the Anaheim Ducks. Last season, he served as an experienced backup to John Gibson, and he did well in that role. Bernier finished the season with a 21-7-4 record, a 2.50 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage. The Avalanche are bad, so Bernier would have to start a lot of games to be remotely close to being fantasy-relevant.