Lundqvist

 

Before I begin, allow me to recite the Golden Rule of fantasy goalie rankings. “Explain the format, lay out the parameters and clearly state the stipulations that create every ranking.” With that in mind, this year’s Top-10 Fantasy Goalies ranking for one-year leagues is focused on volume. It includes goalies that I feel will not only play a ton of games and see tons of shots, but also make a high percentage of saves and have the best odds of playing consistently well from start to finish.

 

Understanding the value a ranking like this will have for many of you, I made sure to eliminate any “risky” picks and went with more of a surefire list. Last season was clearly an atrocity in terms of me having Tuukka Rask ranked first, and I have no problem admitting that.

 

I thought it was a risk worth taking, but obviously Tim Thomas had other plans.

 

So I’ll leave you with this thought: When you look at last season’s unexpected surprises, like Kari Lehtonen’s 69 games played, or James Reimer’s second-half breakout, or Michal Neuvirth’s stellar rookie season, remember that anything can happen at any given moment and be prepared for chaos to happen again this season. It has already transpired with the injuries to Mark Dekanich, Antero Niittymaki and now Scott Clemmensen!

 

 

10. Jonas Hiller: After watching him stop all 21 shots he faced in two periods on Saturday night, I can safely say he’s well on his way to reclaiming the rhythm he had in the first half of last season. There are serious question marks on Anaheim’s blueline, but other than that, you can’t discredit Hiller’s ability to stop the puck. Last season he won 26 games in 49 appearances and posted a .924 SP%, so projecting similar success over the course of 65-70 games means he could win close to 35. But he’s listed as 10th overall due to the fact that a couple of hard shots to the noggin could force him to take a few games off for precautionary measures.

 

9. Jonathan Quick: If Quick had any other backup besides Jonathan Bernier, he’d be ranked much higher on this list. But Terry Murray has stated numerous times that Bernier will get more looks, so I have to temper the 35 wins in 61 games Quick played last season. The Kings have improved their team on offense, but what type of impact will Drew Doughty’s contract issues have in the defensive end and in the locker room? Regardless of external influences, internally speaking, whenever Bernier seems to push Quick for starts this year, I think Quick has the skill and intensity to push back even harder.

 

8. Roberto Luongo: When we talked about goalies under the most pressure to win last season, it was clearly Carey Price. This season, there’s no mistaking the type of mental pressure Luongo will face to take Vancouver back to the Stanley Cup Finals. Since I also consider this to be the Cory Schneider showcase season, it won’t be a cakewalk for Luongo. His workload will be lighter, making him less valuable overall. I also don’t see him posting under a 2.25 GAA this season or posting more than 33 or 34 wins, either.

 

7. Carey Price: Last season’s leader in wins (38) was also 2nd overall in total shots faced (2,147), making him the most valuable goalie to own last season. This year, despite the fact that most situational elements have maintained the status quo, there’s still adjustments to be made. He’s switching from Vaughn to Reebok pads, which is more of an adjustment than you think, and he has a new backup in Peter Budaj. More importantly, Price is expected to not only win 38 games again, but continue to improve his game both mentally and technically. That’s quite a tall order for a goalie that is still so young and already so darn good.

 

6. Ilya Bryzgalov: Bryzgalov’s final regular season in Phoenix was admirable. He was 3rd in shots faced (2,125) and posted 36 wins in 68 games. He notched a 2.48 GAA, a .921 SP% and seven shutouts on a team that thrives defensively but struggles on offense. With such a major shift in atmosphere, Bryzgalov will have to make a considerable mental alteration in order to post similar numbers in Philly. A goalie known for being complacent at the wrong times, Ilya will have to block out the media spotlight and quickly rebound from bad games. Sergei Bobrovsky will earn starts and the fans will demand perfection every single night. It’s not going to be a cakewalk.

 

5. Marc-Andre Fleury: The type of nightmare Fleury experienced last October never really goes away. But the true merit of an elite goaltender is how they can manipulate past failures into future success. More mentally prepared than ever before, Fleury is primed to have an excellent regular season. He’ll look quieter in the crease and act smarter both on and off the ice. Even with last season’s early struggles, Fleury still won 36 games, posted a 2.32 GAA and was 13th in shots faced (1,742). Project a slightly higher level of success due to the team’s health (Malkin and Crosby) and a much steadier start, and Fleury will have one of the better fantasy values out there.

 

4. Cam Ward: Last season, Ward logged more minutes than any other NHL goalie (4,317:35). He was timely, stayed healthy and was one of the most consistent goalies in the league. But even though he was such a solid fantasy value, Carolina still didn’t make the playoffs. As a result, Ward will most likely be limited to 65 games, but I think that will make him even more valuable in terms of his overall SP% and GAA. It blows my mind that I still have to mention that he’s an elite goaltender, but that’s kind of his shtick. He gets the job done quietly and he stays totally focused on the task at hand – winning hockey games.

 

3. Pekka Rinne: One of the most electric goaltenders in the NHL is primed to earn even more Vezina Trophy votes this season. Similar to when Fleury broke out as a true elite star, the more Rinne plays, the more he understands how to stop pucks in an economical and consistent manner. I think that heightened sense of awareness will go a long way in eliminating some of the nagging injuries he suffered last season, thus making him just slightly more durable and more valuable. As good as he was last season, he can still be so much better in terms of controlling his movements and emotions, so I expect Pekka to be another Top-3 goalie this year.

 

2. Ryan Miller: Sabres owner Terry Pegula invested close to $10 million in order to improve the team’s workspace and surroundings. Combined with the addition of Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino, the team will be way more dynamic in terms of overall performance. Miller was already a fairly steady goalie last season with 34 wins in 66 games (he was also 6th overall in shots faced with 1,964). But take away the concussion issues that plagued him at the end of last season, then add in the healthy competition from Jhonas Enroth and you have one of the nicest situations for an elite NHL goalie heading into the season. Miller could probably win 40 games this year.

 

1. Henrik Lundqvist: Whenever I watched Lundqvist last season, I was always waiting for that one bone-headed turnover, that one unlucky bounce or that one crucial odd-man rush that he really had no chance of stopping. This season, the Rangers will be more dedicated to team defense and generate more scoring thanks to the addition of Brad Richards. So instead of Henrik being on the wrong side of a bunch of one-goal losses, I sense that he could be on the right side of them this year. Due to his skills, his positioning and his confidence, I think he has the best chance at winning 40 games, while still facing a ton of shots and playing in close to 70 games.

 

 

LATEST GOALIEPOST UPDATES


+ Just a reminder that our Email Updates feature has been activated for members. This is one of the best features we offer, as you’ll receive instant updates on your mobile device on anything related to starting goalies throughout the entire regular season. Remember you can purchase your membership in the DobberHockey store and then login to GoaliePost with your DobberHockey ID.

 

+ Scott Clemmensen had minor knee surgery today and is expected to miss a month of action. Although the report lists Jacob Markstrom as the first potential backup, I feel that the Panthers would rather have him hone his game in the AHL, so I expect Tyler Plante to back up Jose Theodore until Clemmensen returns.

 

+ Thomas Greiss has looked really good in the preseason so far. I watched his game against Vancouver last night and I think he’ll post good numbers as Antti Niemi’s backup while Antero Niittymaki is out for the next 12 weeks. He may have really struggled in Sweden last season, but everything changes with such a drastic shift in situation.

 

+ Don’t be fooled by J-S Giguere’s 3-0 shutout over the Stars last night. I scouted the game live, and while he made some nice saves, he was rarely tested by an AHL-laden opponent. But he is healthy, and that’s huge for this team. He’s also a great communicator on the ice, which should make all of his new blueliners more efficient in their own zone.

 


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Comments (16)add comment

Troy said:

PittPens1787
Lindback Any chance Lindback steals some starts (25-30) from Rinne this season? Do you think Rinne will be back next season? If Nashville falls out of the playoff race, could we see Lindback in anticipation of Nashville not retaining Rinne? Am I overanalyzing the situation? haha
September 27, 2011 | url
Votes: +0

Vincent said:

sacdechips
Corey Crawford Where would you rank Corey Crawford? He is a clear #1 on a very good Blackhawks team.
September 27, 2011
Votes: +1

Thomas Gregory said:

thom54
Thanks! I love your insight w/ goalies in both Fantasy and the game itself. Just watch Halak turn it up this year. His Post allstar #'s of last year when the team started to click finally/become healthy I believe is indicative of expected performance.
September 27, 2011
Votes: +0

Jocular Hockey Manager said:

JHM
Top 10 exceptionally difficult Heading into the 2011-12 season, a TOP 10 GOALTENDERS list is more difficult than at any time in recent memory. Three or four seasons ago, there were approximately 10-12 goaltenders that were clearly out front. I'm not so sure that that is the case anymore. For whatever reasons, there seems to be more definition in who most teams starter is at this time. Thus, there simply isn't room in the top 10 for everyone. There is a downing trend as we move along to number 20 or 21 or 22. However, each Fantasy GM can add their own personal feelings to these rankings and quite correctly move a tender up or down a few spaces. That someone loves Thomas, Niemi, Halak, Lehtonen... there's nothing wrong with that. Nor does it make this list any more correct/incorrect. Thanks for the list!
September 27, 2011
Votes: +0

PD said:

ZamboniNation
damn autocorrect I have no idea what the presidents window is. Trophy, now that's something else entirely. smilies/grin.gif
September 27, 2011
Votes: +1

PD said:

ZamboniNation
niemi Thanks for your input - and yes it was a great article. I understand your reasoning but am more inclined to think along the same lines as MN. Sharks are annual contenders for the presidents window and unless I've missed something, Niemi doesn't have questions about his health. For 1 year leagues I'd rather the goalie from a top team in the west than one thatll fight for a playoff spot (halak/hiller/lethonen)
September 27, 2011
Votes: +0

MH said:

BladesOfSteel
niemi part 2 Great article by the way, but to add to my last comment, how on Earth could anyone in their right mind possibly consider in the slightest, Jonas Hiller over Antti Niemi for this upcoming season? For one, Niemi is a better goalie, coming off an elite performance last season with 35 wins, 2.38 gaa, .920 sv% and 6 so in 60 starts, while leading the Sharks to the WCC. That's after leading the Hawks to the Stanley Cup the season before. Secondly, not only is Niemi the better goalie but he plays for a better team, especially on the defensive end. San Jose is an even better team this season with the additions of Brent Burns and Martin Havlat, and continued improvement from Pavelski, Couture, Demers and Clowe.

On the flipside, Hiller has yet to put together a top 10 fantasy worthy season to date, and is coming off a very rare and unpredictable, and debilitation illness related to severe vertigo type syndromes. He has played 40 minutes of decent pre-season hockey (when has pre-season ever mattered) after nearly 6 months without any real game action and you're ready to take him over a better goalie, coming off an elite season, playing for an elite team and with no injury concerns to date? I don't see the logic.
September 26, 2011 | url
Votes: +1

MH said:

BladesOfSteel
Niemi?? Niemi is easily (and I mean EASILY) a top 10 goalie for the upcoming season.
September 26, 2011 | url
Votes: +0

Bruce Dixon said:

Weekender
Other tenders What are your thoughts on Kipper, Backstrom and Pavelec?
September 26, 2011
Votes: +0

Justin Goldman said:

GoalieGuild
... PD,

Absolutely. Still don't see him being a Top-10 at the end of the day. He started off really slowly last season. I think he's more of a second-half goalie, who plays better the bigger the games get. If he loses a few games early and Greiss steps up, the Niitty absence could actually work against Niemi. Greiss is capable of surprising everyone, especially coming off a weak season in Sweden. It's all in how you look at things, and I personally couldn't squeeze him into the Top-10! Where would he rank? Definitely Top-15. I'd have Halak, Lehtonen, Niemi, probably even Dubnyk up there. Backstrom could have a big bounce-back year, but he'll need a lot of help from his teammates to win more that 32-33 games.
September 26, 2011
Votes: +0

PD said:

ZamboniNation
Niemi? You mention Griese being the backup in San Jose.. Wouldn't Niemi benefit by an extended absence of Nitty + more familiarity with an improved Sharks blueline?
September 26, 2011
Votes: +0

Justin Goldman said:

GoalieGuild
... Austin,

It was Hiller's first NHL game in six months. The fact he started off with such crappy rhythm and still stopped everything is a sign that, by the time the regular season begins, he'll only need a few games to regain form. You're looking way too deeply into the opponents. There's no point in trying to make a correlation between Hiller and Giguere. Two totally different goalies, two totally different situations in a bazillion ways. Make sure you click the link and read what I wrote about Hiller's performance.

Thomas,

Halak was literally #11 on my list. I had to choose between him and Kari Lehtonen and Quick and Hiller for the last two spots and it was Halak and Lehtonen as the two odd men out. I still think Halak is going to have a much better season, but still experience some ups and downs. He could easily be a Top-10 goalie, but as of today, he's just on the outside looking in.
September 26, 2011
Votes: +0

Thomas Gregory said:

thom54
Halak Since you listed Volume as a qualifier for great stats...Halak could be on this list: IF you believe he's going to bounce back from a 0.910 Sv% year. STL should insulate him as well should they not?
September 26, 2011
Votes: +1

Austin said:

austeane
Hiller vs Giguere I watched Hiller against the Canucks and I don't see how you can draw any conclude anything other then he isn't horrible from it. I did not watch the Star's game but I bet it was close to the same situation. I believe 4 Canucks were playing against what was basically the Ducks opening night roster, Sturm, Hodgson, Alberts and Rome. The rest were AHL caliber players if that. What I saw from hiller was good movement and positioning, what he had pre-vertigo, but if you look back he had trouble tracking and finding pucks and was lucky that they hit him. If NHL quality players were shooting I think 3-4 of those shots would have gone in without factoring the extra confidence. If you weren't inspired by a shutout against the Stars I would definitely not read much into this game.
September 26, 2011
Votes: +0

Austin said:

austeane
Vokoun Do you feel he will be challenged enough that even his high SV% and win/loss ratio doesn't include him in the top 10?
September 26, 2011
Votes: +2

Justin Goldman said:

GoalieGuild
FYI: Thomas / Rask These two guys essentially cancel each other out. It would be crazy talk for me to sit here and expect Thomas to have the same type of fantasy value that he had last season. Similar to what Terry Murray has been saying in LA, Claude Julien has been following suit in regards to Tuukka Rask. He will play more, but how that translates to fantasy value is pretty unknown at this point. Since this year's list is centered around volume, neither of them, as of today, had the type of value that overturned the other ten guys on this list! Hope you guys enjoy. Thanks for reading and hope to see you all over at GoaliePost!
September 26, 2011
Votes: +0
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