We’ve reached the end of my rankings by positions. On Friday, I plan to launch RCL’s, with my top 100 and 200 coming out next week. Today, we have ranks 21-40 for goaltending, and boy is it ugly. There’s a bit of upside here, and if you play your cards right, some really good roto options, but also some guys that I want nothing to do with but have to rank solely on volume. You can see my Top 20 goalies here. Let’s get to it!
21) Henrik Lundqvist – Hank will almost assuredly give us an average or better save percentage, even with the Rangers getting worse around him. The volume in net should be high, and I don’t think the Rangers are going to be as bad as people think, meaning the wins won’t be dreadful. The worry is that the GAA doesn’t improve and becomes a big negative, hence the King having a low floor for the first time in his career. That said, there’s a chance he ends up an average goalie across the board, which would be nice value in this slot.
22) Carter Hutton – After years of being a quality backup, Hutton will get his chance to be the #1 in Buffalo this season. We’ll get to see how good Hutton truly is, and there’s some high end potential here if last season’s 32 games weren’t a fluke. The downside is that Sabres GM Jason Botterill has already said that his intention is to start Hutton ~52 times and Ullmark 30. That’s not great volume to say the least. Now, Ullmark could falter or get hurt, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to plan for that. Hutton is a big wild card, and if you want to gamble, you can take him earlier. I’m much inclined to take that chance in roto where the potential lack of volume is less of a problem.
23) Roberto Luongo – Like Hutton, Luongo was spectacular last season in his 35 games posting a 2.47/.929. However, that’s two straight years with 40 or less starts, and he’s 39 years old. I’d be shocked if Luongo started 50+ games, but the starts he does have could be really damn good. Again, he’s an amazing roto target, and pairing him up with his backup seems like a great idea.
24) Cam Talbot – What a difference a year makes. Talbot went from fantasy difference maker in 2016-17 to fantasy difference maker in 2017-18, difference being that he absolutely killed your team if you drafted him last season. The volume is going to be there which gives him a big boost in H2H leagues and leagues that count saves. The Oilers could bounce back, but odds are they slightly improve, but not a ton. It’s a shame they are wasting McDavid, but they haven’t made any real improvements around him, and the blue line is still a mess, which hurts Talbot significantly. Sure, Klefbom could bounce back, but Sekera tore his Achilles in August and will miss most, if not all of the season. He’s a gamble that I probably won’t take.
25) Brian Elliott – The Flyers should be improved around Elliott, but like his former teammate Allen, I’m not sure it’ll make much difference. It seems like goalies are cursed in Philly, but either way, his save percentage has been right around .910 the last two years. He also hasn’t started 50+ games in 8 years, so it’s hard to count on him for much. The good thing is the wins upside is there when he does start, and at this point, it’s hard to hope for more from any of these guys.
26) Scott Darling – Darling was dreadful last season and is a cautionary tale for those who really love Hutton this year. That said, I might take another shot on Darling this late. The Hurricanes were a very strong team last season and were sunk by Darling and Ward. If Darling is even league average in net, the Hurricanes are going to push 100+ points. Perhaps with a new coach and an improved blueline, Darling gets back to his level in Chicago. They seem intent to give him a second chance and maybe he can cease it. I’m not convinced, but he’s a nice upside play as your #3 when there are very few of them.
27) Cory Schneider – The beginning of starting goaltenders that I can’t see myself owning, Schneider was quietly bad for the second straight season. It went a bit under the radar because of the success of the Devils, but Schneider posted a 2.93/.907 in 40 starts after 2.82/.906 in 60 starts in 2016-17. I expect a fairly big regression from the Devils as a team, so I simply don’t see any upside here.
28) Semyon Varlamov – I know I mentioned in the top 20 that I really like Grubauer, but Varlamov had a very good season last year. There’s a fairly decent chance that Varlamov at least gets in a time share, and with a .920 sv% last season, there’s some strong upside here. The blue line is improving as well, so I’d rather gamble on Varlamov at this point and if it fails, turn him into a stream spot. That’ll be a common point here; I’d rather grab goalies with upside at this point in drafts, and if it fails, cut him.
29) Juuse Saros – I would take Saros even higher than this in a roto league because his starts are going to be #1 goalie caliber. In his 26 games played last season, Saros posted a 2.45/.925 with 11 wins. The wins are bound to go up playing for Nashville as well. I think we see Saros get back in the 25-30 range, mostly because the team needs to decide if they’re comfortable making him the guy with Rinne turning 36 and entering a contract year. I’ve a huge believer in Saros, and I would try to own him everywhere I can in dynasties, because he’s going to be a #1 fantasy goalie soon.
30) James Reimer – Reimer should give you about 40 starts with a league average save percentage, potentially slightly better. The wins should be there on a quality Panthers team as well. My hope is that the GAA drops back down to where it was in 2016-17, but my guess is that it ends up slightly below average. As mentioned above, I like the idea of getting both of the Panthers goalies in roto and rolling them every start, outside of the worst games like at Tampa, etc.
31) Robin Lehner – Lehner should be the #1 on the Islanders, and the projection systems are a bit more optimistic on their outlook than I am. Lehner was a very good goaltender from 2015-17, but was dreadful last season with a 3.01/.908. Maybe Lehner bounces back, in which case he can provide an elite save percentage. My guess is that he at least gets back to average there, but the wins and GAA stay below average. That said, he’s at the top of this tier from here to Anderson of #1 goalies that I really don’t want to own.
32) Jacob Markstrom – All things considered, Markstrom played reasonably well last season with a 2.71/.912 in 60 games. The problem is that the defense remains an abortion in front of him, their division is going to be very tough, and there’s a strong chance of tank from the Canucks to increase their odds of pairing up the Hughes brothers. There’s also a chance they give Demko some games late in the year to see what he has, so Markstrom’s volume could go down, and the starts won’t be good to begin with.
33) Jimmy Howard – Howard started off last season very strong, only for the regression fairies to bring him back down to 2.85/.910 in 60 games. Like Vancouver, the Red Wings did nothing to bolster their blue line and are destined to be bad. I could see some potential streamer value for Howard only because he gets to play Montreal and Ottawa a bunch, but then again, Detroit isn’t much better than those two, if at all. No thanks.
34) Craig Anderson – Anderson posted a 3.32/.898 last season in 58 games. Ottawa is almost assuredly going to be the worst team in the league once they trade Karlsson. Need I say more? Oh, Anderson requested a trade. Like he thought a different team would trade for him at 4.2 million for the next two seasons. He appears to be as delusional as their front office, who thought it was a good idea to trade next year’s first round pick to Colorado for Duchene. Woof.
35) Linus Ullmark – As mentioned above, Ullmark is virtually locked in 30 starts. He’s certainly NHL ready at this point as he showed throughout his time in the AHL and his brief NHL stint last season. I think we see something close to league average numbers in those starts, and that’s sadly enough to be ranked here given the state of goaltending around the NHL.
36) Aaron Dell – Similar to Ullmark, he’s just safer but could end up starting 5-10 less games. Dell has made 49 appearances (39 starts) over the past two seasons totaling 2.37/.920/26. Pretty damn good. I wish he would get more starts, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. At the least, Dell is a truly elite streaming option.
I’m going to cut the rankings here. You can gamble on guys like Mrazek, take backups on elite teams like Halak, or draft a young kid like Hart and hope he forces his way onto the team at this point. The main thing to conclude here is that you need to get three goaltenders relatively early, although I still don’t want to take one in the first two rounds. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please leave them below. Thanks for reading, take care!