For today’s article I am going to focus on trying to help answer the age-old fantasy hockey question of “where do I slot a top end goalie into my draft board”.  I have written before about how important the goaltending position is and also about just how unpredictable it is.  With that in mind I am going to profile the best in the business at providing stability and value for your goaltending position: Henrik Lundqvist.

Let’s take a look at King Henrik’s remarkable output over the years:



You can see above that Henrik has been incredibly consistent over his career.  In the past six season he has:

  • Never had less than 35 wins
  • Never had a GAA over 2.5
  • Improved his sv%  for four straight seasons
  • Averaged 69 GPs per year

This kind of consistency is nearly unheard of for a goaltender.

Not only are Lundqvist’s numbers consistent, but they are consistently elite.  So what kind of value does an elite goalie have in fantasy hockey and how do I go about valuing an elite goalie in comparison to elite forwards or defensemen?  This is an incredibly tough question to answer as it is a very apples-to-oranges scenario (how can I compare 40 wins to 50 goals?).  Thankfully we have Fantasy Hockey Geek to help us to understand the value between positions that measure different stats.

Let’s run the numbers through FHG to see what kind of value Lundqvist provided in a Yahoo! standard league last year:

(Yahoo! standard 12 team H2H league G,A,+/-,PPP,PIM,SOG, W, Sv%, GAA, SO)




From the chart above, you can see that Lundqvist was the 5th most valuable player in a league of this format last year.  Even more notable are a couple of the names that he was slightly above.  So why is Lundqvist’s value so high?  There are a couple of reasons:

He’s Good:

Amongst goalies with over 40 starts, Lundqvist was 3rd in wins, 2nd in shutouts, 1st in Sv% and 2nd in GAA.  He was top 3 in all categories that are measured for goalies!  Can you imagine how valuable a forward who was top 3 in the league in Goals, Assists, SOG and PPP would be? 

Consider this:  Stamkos was 1st in goals scored last year, but he was 5th in shots, 13th in PPP and 49th in assists.  Stamkos is a phenomenal player and a great fantasy own but in terms of value at his position, he falls short of what Lundqvist provides. 

Lundqvist’s value relative to his position more closely mirrors Malkin’s production from last year when Malkin was 2nd in goals, 3rd in assists, 1st in shots and 2nd in PPP.  That comparison alone should tell you a great deal about Lundy’s value.


Goalies Matter:

I know I harp on this point a lot, but goalies matter a lot.  In a league of this set-up, goalies account for 40% of the scoring categories and 17% of your active roster.  If your goalies are bad, you aren’t going to win your pool.  It’s that simple.

Compounding goalie importance is their scarcity.  Obviously each NHL team can only start one goalie at a time.  There are 30 NHL teams and a fantasy league of the format above has 24 goalie roster spots, meaning that 80% of NHL starting goalies are on starting fantasy rosters.  By comparison, if each NHL team starts 4 centers then there are 120 centers to choose from.  A typical fantasy league might only rosters 24 centers – which equates to the top 20% of centers being used in the NHL.

Moreover, of those 30 NHL teams, only 13 had a goalie who they relied on for 60 or more starts last year which makes goalies like Lundy, who consistently get the starts, extremely important. 


He’s Consistent

I alluded to this point earlier, but Lundqvist’s numbers are incredibly consistent at a position that is historically inconsistent.  I don’t have to explain the numbers any further for you to know what kind of output you are getting when you draft Lundy.  With other goalies, it isn’t as cut and dry: look below at some examples of recent drop-offs by some of the most elite goalies in the game in the very next season following a stellar performance:



Imagine how high these guys would have been drafted in the year following their “great season”?  Now imagine how crippled your fantasy team would have been if you drafted them in the first or second round.  That’s the beauty of Lundqvist, you can spend a high pick on him and know that you are getting what you paid for. 

So where do I draft him?

Typically in my Geek of the Week articles, I try to identify a player who provides high end value that you can get later in the draft.  With Lundqvist though, my recommendation is to take him where he is valued.  FHG calculates that he was the 5th most valuable player last year and that’s where I would suggest getting him.  When I am drafting, I personally never like to “chase”.  If the first 4 picks are the best 4 forwards, then I don’t want to be the guy taking the 5th best.  I would much rather have the best player available at another position.  King Henrik is a perfect example of how you can do that.  If you pull a mid-first round draft position, I would target Henrik.

 What if I miss on Henrik?

Obviously, you are not going to be the only one at a draft table who wants King Henrik on your team.  Whether or not you get him will largely depend on where you landed in the draft order.   If you miss on Henrik then where you will want to slot other goalies into your draft order will depend on your league set-up and how the other GMs are drafting.  I am in a points only league where 15 of the top 20 valued players are goalies.  In most leagues, it isn’t weighted quite so heavily towards goalies but the elite, consistent goaltenders usually come out near the top. 

To find out where goalies should slot in on your draft board, sign up for Fantasy Hockey Geek and enter in your league settings to see how goalies’ values compares to skaters’ values.  When you sign up for FHG, you can even choose an option to use Dobber’s projected stats (as opposed to last year’s stats) when determining the values.  Dobber’s projections actually have a goalie not named Lundqvist as the number one most valuable player in the Yahoo! standard league I detailed above!

Previous posts from Terry Campkin:




Write comment
Comments (2)add comment

Hey_Robbie said:

Hey Robbie
... In re some of Ryan's points:
November 19, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

... T-Camp! Another solid article! I was originally with your line of thinking, but over the last 2-3 seasons I'm beginning to change my mindset regarding goalies in H2H leagues.

1) Even though Lundy is a high quality goalie, the major problem is most leagues you need to have 2 if not 3 goalies... So even though Lundy might produce ridiculous numbers in your number 1 goalie slot, you need to have a #2 and #3 to help "support" his stats. So if you draft Lundy at say #5, you would be forced to use your 2nd round pick (20th overall) to grab another "high end" goalie to maintain the goalie stats dominance, which means you wouldn't grab your first offensive player till the 29th pick, which would really hamper that department... There'd be no point in drafting Lundy with your 5th pick then waiting till the 5th/6th round to grab your 2nd goalie. The numbers that they'd produce would negate any positive that Lundy brings. So to me if you're investing in Lundy, you'd have to invest your first 2 picks on him.

2) Another knock on Lundy is that yes he has averaged 69 games started during the last 6 seasons, but it's the 62 that's the major worry and that appears to be the trend moving forward. With the Rangers making it an emphasis on keeping him fresh for the playoffs and limiting his regular season starts, his fantasy value is decreasing. Let's assume that he's going to average 62 moving forward in order for him to get into the 40 wins range he would need to win close to 65% of his starts, which is a very very high number. Most elite goalies are around the 60% mark, so pushing it up to 65% would make it all that more difficult. Another (perhaps better alternative) is maybe Quick. He's in a situation where he'll get 70 starts a season, for him to get to 40 wins, he only needs to maintain a win
g;e of 57% which is a bit more achievable than 65% for Lundy. His team will help out the GAA and SP stats where he'll likely be in the same vicinity as Lundy's ~2.27 GAA and .920 SP.

3) Another big factor for me is in H2H there is a lot more variance between stats week to week than in Roto where you get a full-year's stats. I know plenty of weeks where I've went into it with a Lundy, Quick and Brodeur then go up against someone with Hiller, Ward and Pavelec. I'm thinking I got this one in the bag... then a couple of 3 goal games from my goalies and a double shut out from my opponent's goalies and I'm screwed... In my close friend's H2H league, I know of the 7 winners that we've had, 5 of them didn't place a strong emphasis on goalies, and a lot of them just ran with the Lehtonen's, Hiller's, Mason's and just end up stealing the "wins and saves" categories, then dominate the offensive categories to a victory... I've always placed an emphasis on goalies and have never won once (I've actually had 3 consecutive 2nd place finishes, AHHHHHH!!!).

4) This one is also a kicker for me too. Lundy's numbers in wins: 1.51 GAA and .945 SP (absolutely dominant!). Losses: 2.75 GAA and .904 SP (ouch!)... So even though his overall numbers are very consistent, in his losses there is still definitely a lot of room for the opponent to "catch up". Quick's numbers in wins: 1.32 GAA and .951 SP (even more dominant!). Losses: 2.62 GAA and .904 SP (slightly better than Lundy)

I do agree with you that Lundy is amongst the elite... but I don't know if there are better alternatives out there now or if going Lundy is a "surefire" better strategy to lead you to victory.
November 18, 2012
Votes: +0
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.