Top 20 Eastern Conference Fantasy Goalies - Part 2
Last week, we had a look at the bottom half of the top 20 Eastern Conference goaltenders for fantasy hockey. This week, we'll finish with the créme de la créme from the East.
We're not looking at keeper value here, only what we can expect for a return in the coming season. Without further ado, here's the top 10:
10) Ondrej "the Giant" Pavelec - Winnipeg Jets
The future is now for the just turned 25-year-old Jet. There is no threat to his status as the top dog on this mediocre at best team. If your roto-league counts goals-against-average (2.91) or save percentage (0.903) though, Pavelec might actually hurt your team. However, he should be good for nearly 30 Wins and his 1845 saves last year were good for fifth in the NHL.
9) Martin Brodeur - New Jersey Devils
At 40 years of age, Marty may be able to stave off Father Time for another year or two, but losing team captain Zach Parise could seriously cripple this team and with it, Brodeur's numbers. Even on this talent depleted team, Brodeur should still be able to post 30-35 Wins, but his corollary numbers will likely suffer. Having just finished a very deep Stanley Cup run is both good and bad. On one hand, it shows that he can still bring it, but at his age, he will be in tough to sustain that level of play over an entire year. On the other hand, he might be tired, although the lockout may make this last point moot.
8) Craig Anderson - Ottawa Senators
If you owned Anderson last season, as I did, he was decent for you in Wins and Saves, but his goals-against-average (2.84) and save percentage (0.914) were sub-par. In his breakout 38 Win season with Colorado in 2009-10, his goals-against-average was 2.64 and he finished with a 0.924 save percentage. Anderson was dealt to Ottawa during the following season and ended up with nearly identical averages (2.83, 0.913) as he had this past campaign. Don't expect world beating average numbers, but there is some room for improvement, especially on what should be an up and coming Senators squad.
7) Cam Ward - Carolina Hurricanes
Ward is one of those guys who is more valuable in real life than in the fantasy world. His numbers should improve this season due to the addition of star forwards Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin. They also brought back veteran defenseman Joe Corvo, but he's not exactly a top notch "defender". Ward has recorded 30 Wins in five of his seven NHL seasons, but he has not provided fantasy teams with much help in the goals-against-average category. Don't look for that to change this season, even though it may be a career best for Ward.
6) Carey Price - Montreal Canadiens
I'll get this out of the way and tell you that I'm a big Price fan. I believe he is a top five goalie in the league, but is on a team that will struggle to make the playoffs this season. The 25-year-old has an enviable track record of success wherever he has played. His achievements are in my opinion, legendary; Canadian Hockey League Goaltender of the Year, World Junior Championship Gold (Most Valuable Goaltender and Player) going a perfect 6-0 with a 1.14 goals-against-average and American Hockey League Playoff Most Valuable Player. To record 30-35 Wins, a 2.40 goals-against-average and a 0.920 save percentage this season would be quite an accomplishment on this team, but if anyone can do it, Price can.
5) Ilya Bryzgalov - Philadelphia Flyers
Bryzgalov didn't exactly set the NHL universe (insert link from below?) on fire in his first season in Philadelphia. How will the team fare defensively without Pronger, Carle and an aging (37) Timonen? None of the Flyers defensemen are going to challenge for the Norris trophy this season. Luckily, the forward corps are strong and deep and should dominate at the other end of the ice.
4) Marc-Andre Fleury - Pittsburgh Penguins
The signing of Vokoun was something I'm sure got Fleury's attention. Vokoun is a more than capable back-up and that may lead to less starts for the hot and cold Flower. Conversely, it might be just what the doctor ordered. Some goaltenders respond to challenges by playing better. Over the last two seasons, Fleury has averaged 66 games played, 39 Wins, 2.34 goals-against-average and a 0.916 save percentage.
3) Ryan Miller - Buffalo Sabres
Allow me to repeat something I've put out there before; in Miller's final 30 decisions last season, his record was 19-6-5 including five shutouts. Add that to a scorching goals-against-average of 2.04 and wicked 0.932 save percentage. I had forgotten that Miller won the Vezina trophy as the NHL's top goaltender in 2009-10. That year, he recorded 41 Wins, had a 2.22 goals-against-average and 0.929 save percentage. He also nearly stole the gold medal for the evil American side at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Miller was 5-1 with his only defeat coming in the gold medal game at the hands of the host team. His save percentage was an insane 0.949 and his goals-against-average was a stellar 1.35. This is how good Miller can be.
2) Tuukka Rask - Boston Bruins
With Tim "the tool, man" Thomas taking a well-deserved Snickers break, his apprentice has inherited a pretty sweet gig. Rask is now the undisputed number one on a team that has won a combined 95 games over the past two seasons. He is all but a lock to be fantasy gold playing 65-plus games behind a stacked Bruins line-up. It will be a disappointing season if he doesn't better 40 Wins, 2.20 goals-against-average and 0.930 save percentage. For those that own the 25-year-old in keeper leagues, I envy you.
1) Henrik Lundqvist - New York Rangers
The King reigns supreme. Sorry, couldn't resist. Last season, Lundqvist finally won a Vezina trophy as the league's top crease caretaker. Even his NHL career worst goals-against-average (2.43 in 2008-09) and save percentage (0.912 in 2007-08) can't really be considered terrible. It's hard to believe that he has yet to record a 40 Win season, though the remarkably consistent Swede has never won less than 30 in any of his seven NHL campaigns. The Rangers look to be an even better team this year. This will be Lundqvist's first 40 Win season. Long live the King.
Only nine goaltenders in the long history of the NHL have ever accomplished this. Brodeur, Nabokov, Theodore and Ward are the only active members of the nine. Ward is the last goaltender to achieve this. What was the feat?