We’re at the end of individual rankings!  Almost 15,000 words later, we’ve ranked the top 100 forwards and 40 defensemen.  Now, we conclude that with my goaltending rankings.  I’m going to start by talking about my goaltending strategy for drafts, then split the goalies into tiers.  I’m not going to go in-depth on every goalie, just the ones that I feel are worth talking about, mostly because I’m higher or lower on somebody.  The reason I don’t want to go very in-depth on every goalie is that the variance on goaltending from season to season is massive.  In other words, even the best goalies have poor seasons from time to time, and guys will come out of nowhere to have excellent seasons.  Did anyone know who Jordan Binnington was a year ago?  The public certainly did not.  Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss were afterthoughts for most.  Darcy Kuemper was the backup and wasn’t drafted outside of deep leagues.  Those goalies were the 3rd-6th ranked goalies at the end of the season.  This is why I never draft goalies in the first two rounds, and never more than one in the first 7-8 rounds.  If you like to have one presumed top end goalie, that’s fine, go for it in the 4th-5th rounds if they’re still there.  Just do not reach, because the range of outcomes in goalies is incredibly wide, while forwards and defensemen are much more certain.  Any other questions on this, let me know in the comments section below.  Here are my tiers:

Tier 1: Andrei Vasilevskiy – Vasilevskiy is the one exception to taking goaltending early.  As I noted in my top 20 here, I’m comfortable taking him in the second round.  He’s the safest goalie on the board and could easily be the #1 goalie (he was #2 last season).

Tier 2: Ben BishopFrederik Andersen, Sergei Bobrovsky – Bishop was the #1 goalie last season despite only playing 46 games.  That’s how absurd his 1.98/.934 were.  Obviously that will regress some, but Dallas’ system is strong and Bishop’s volume increasing by staying healthy would be great.  We know the deal with Andersen by now, and Bob’s arrival in Florida shouldn’t change his value much from Columbus.

Tier 3: Philipp GrubauerPekka RinneTuukka RaskJohn GibsonMarc-Andre FleuryJordan BinningtonCarey Price – This tier has a bunch of guys who are in different situations.  The safest are Rask and Rinne, but they will have the lowest volume here.  Best case, you get 55 games from one of them.  Boston makes sure to give Rask enough rest during the season to be ready for the playoffs, and Rinne has entered the point of his career where they keep him rested to get Saros more action.  I love Grubauer this season.  He had a horrible start to last season and still had a .917, which was the worst of his career.  Now he’ll have the volume with Varlamov gone on an improved team.  Fleury and Price’s volume should make them a bottom end #1.  Gibson is an incredible goalie, but the team situation worries me a bit.  I do think they’ll be a bit better this season, and he’s probably the best goalie on the planet so the save percentage will be an asset.  Binnington is the ultimate wild card.  Could he simply be a late bloomer?  Sure.  Could he massively regress this season?  Absolutely.  Anyone who says they definitely know is lying to you, but I trust the team in front of him more than the guys after him, so I’m fine with putting him towards the bottom of this tier.

Tier 4: Semyon VarlamovPetr Mrazek, Matt MurrayBraden HoltbyCarter HartConnor HellebuyckDevan Dubnyk – I’m gambling on Varlamov in Trotz’ system.  I obviously don’t expect a season like Lehner had, but the upside is extremely high and Varly has had big seasons before.  I love Mrazek as the main guy in Carolina.  That team should be very good, and he had a 2.39 GAA last season in 40 games. Murray and Holtby scare me.  Murray can never stay healthy and their blue line is a disaster.  Holtby has had two poor seasons in a row and I’m not really expecting a bounce back to previous form.  This may be underrating Hart, but it’s been a while since a Flyers goalie was actually valuable.  He did have a solid .917 sv%, but 2.83 GAA isn’t going to help matters.  I wrote a post on what Hellboy is a bust this season; you can read that here.  I’m even more worried now because of the Byfuglien situation.  Dubnyk is simply not a good goalie anymore, but the system keeps his numbers at a respectable level, and he gets very good volume.

Tier 5: Henrik LundqvistRobin LehnerCorey CrawfordThatcher Demko, Martin JonesAntti Raanta – It’s hard to figure out if Hank will bounce back, but I don’t love his chances.  The Rangers defense is improved, but it’s still not great and the team is very young.  I have no idea how the goaltending situation works out in Chicago.  I don’t mind taking both parts of the duo in roto leagues, but in general I don’t really want Chicago goaltending.  We’re probably a year away from Demko making the big jump, but I expect him to have some really good stretches this season.  Jones will get you wins, but I remain very low on him.  He’s simply not good.  Raanta is a massive wild card.  He was great two seasons ago, but was hurt most of last season.  He could bounce back, but he has a short lease with Kuemper coming off a terrific season in his own right.

Tier 6: Thomas Greiss, Jaroslav HalakJuuse SarosDavid RittichCarter HuttonMackenzie Blackwood, Cam TalbotCory SchneiderLinus Ullmark – If Varlamov fails, Greiss could hold tremendous value.  For now, I’m counting him in a group with Halak and Saros as the best backups in the league.  They’ll get 25+ starts and be elite in those starts.  The other guys appear to be in a timeshare, but it’s unclear who will end up getting the most starts or how good they’ll be.  Obviously the Flames are the best team in the bunch, but Rittich wasn’t that valuable last season anyways.  I guess I’d prefer to gamble on Blackwood out of this group, but if I was drafting multiple leagues, I would be mixing who my third and/or fourth goalies are.

Tier 7: Jimmy HowardJoonas Korpisalo, Mikko KoskinenJonathan QuickDarcy Kuemper, Jacob MarkstromElvis Merzlikins, Mike SmithCraig Anderson – Most of these guys get volume on bad teams.  That makes them valuable in deep leagues if you need starts, but not much value otherwise.  Kuemper or Markstrom could break out of here if their starter struggles, or potentially a CBus goalie, but that’s about it.  I don’t mind gambling on Elvis only because I think Korpisalo is bad.  There are other backups that you could add into this tier e.g. Curtis McElhinney because they are great streamers, but barring injury I don’t see ever holding any other backups.

That’s all for now guys.  Please ask any questions in the comments section below and I’ll be sure to answer you.  I’ll try to get a top 200 list out on Saturday morning for everyone, but it will be by Monday at the latest.  Thanks for reading, take care!

  1. Mike says:
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    In my roto league, the goalie categories make up a good chunk of the scoring with GA, SVS, Shutouts, and SV %. Skaters only really account for 3 categories- G, ASSTS, and PP points. There’s also hits and +/-, but I don’t think you can draft for those two. With that kind of scoring, wouldn’t going for top goalies at least in the first 4 rounds and even with a late first round pick be the way to go?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      That is quite the strange format. You can definitely draft for hits, and it’s becoming more clear in today’s NHL who the elite plus-minus players are, so while it’s not super easy, it’s easier than it used to be. Using both total saves and goals against doesn’t make any sense because you are punishing people who make their starts and make all of their starts by including goals against. Shutouts is a category with absolutely zero predictability and is a complete fluke,I don’t understand why people use it, so you’re really just drafting for save percentage. That in itself has a ton of variance. I could maybe see a case for Vasilevskiy as a late first in this format, but otherwise, no I still think it would be a huge mistake to go goalies early. Probably for the best if you guys change your format though, I don’t understand why you’d pick those categories.

      • Aurelius says:
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        Shutouts are flukey, but still a worthwhile category because it encourages a person to maximize goalie starts to increase the likelihood of getting a shutout (like a second, higher variance win category)… the same reasoning as having a GWG category to add more weight to goal scoring. Plus, shutouts are just pretty cool and should be rewarded the odd time they do happen, I think.

        And as far as predictability in the stats, hits has got to be the easiest to draft for of any category.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          I mean, if you want variance, sure. I prefer my leagues to be more skill-based. GWG is a horrible category as is shutouts in my opinion, I would never do a league with GWG and really don’t want to do leagues with shutouts. GWG are a complete fluke. More weight is added to goal scoring by including SOG, that’s enough for me. You’re already encouraged to maximize starts for wins as well, but the format above doesn’t have them which is the issue. Completely agree on hits though.

    • Shitwolf says:
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      damn wish I read this yesterday haha… I winged it on goalies! Here is my team

      Marchand Point Rantanen
      Meier Larkin Svechnikov
      Kreider Zibanijad Kase
      Kapanen Kadri Athenasiou

      Carlson Letang Makar Sergachev

      Murray and Greiss

      waiver wire goalies are Saros Halak Hutton Ulmark and Talbot

      cats for goalies are wins losses Gaa saves sv% so

      I think my forward and D are strong so maybe just stream goalies??? Any advice would be appreciated I feel lost on goalies right now haha

      • Viz

        Viz says:
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        That forwards are unreal, love it. I mean, you could be okay, it depends how many starts Greiss gets though. Halak should be really good when he does play but idk if he’s worth holding. I wouldn’t panic with goalies, in H2H there’s so many variance anyways that I’d rather have loaded skaters.

  2. Yr Never Too Old For Balloons says:
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    so youse thinking sikura or aston reese actually start up in NHL this year or sent down, as eithere/both i could NA stash and still keep all those forwards (not including perlini) then add extra D men later (or trade one of the wingers for the D man later). currently dailyfaceoff has both not on roster, but we’re early enough that trusting any depth chart is rough.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      I’m starting to get a bit worried, especially in ZAR’s case, even though he’s clearly better than a few guys on their projected fourth line. I’m hoping talent prevails, but we’ll see.

  3. LG Hockey says:
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    Viz,

    Welcome back and thanks for the great content. I’m in a keeper pool where we get to keep 6 players. Categories are G, A, P, +/-, PPP, SOG, PIMs and W, GAA, Sv %, SO. My team is:

    Kucherov
    Pastrnak
    Eichel
    Bergeron
    DeBrincat
    F. Forsberg
    John Carlson
    Hedman
    Josi
    Chabot

    Bishop
    Lehner

    Tough call but who would be your top 6? We can keep forever with no salary or other restrictions.

    Thanks!
    LG

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      Hey LG, hope all is well! Man, this is a tough one. So, as far as automatics go, I think Kucherov, Pastrnak, Eichel, and Bishop are easy keepers. As much as I like to wait on goalie, Bishop is too good and I assume every other quality goalie will be kept, and some others because people are generally too worried about goalie. So we’re down to 2 spots for the rest, and I’m really torn. All of them but Lehner are in consideration for me.

      Ultimately, I think I’d go with DeBrincat and Hedman. I like DeBrincat because he’s 21 years old and there’s no reason to expect a dropoff, he’s that talented and in the perfect role. I’d rather try to get Bergeron back in the draf t due to age. Your D are 2-4 in my rankings, and by them it would be Carlson over Hedman because he’s safer. However, because your keepers are so strong, I lean towards taking a slight gamble and rolling with Hedman. He gives you a bit more in PIM which you kind of need and there’s a bit more upside in general. Hard to go wrong with any of these guys.

      • LG Hockey says:
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        Awesome thanks Viz for the detailed reply and will roll with those 6!

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