We’re keeping things moving in the preseason with goaltending rankings coming today.  All that I factor into rankings goaltenders are wins, GAA, and SV%.  A big factor into determining wins is potential workload, so I give more value to workhorses than players in time shares.   As I always preach in these parts, in head to head leagues, volume is king. In you’re in a roto league where starts are capped, then you can give more value to the Gustavsson’s of the hockey world.  Let’s get to it!

Tier One: Everything You Want

1) Jake Oettinger

2) Igor Shesterkin

3) Ilya Sorokin

4) Andrei Vasilevskiy

5) Alexandar Georgiev

All five of these guys should have massive workloads on good to great teams.  I assume all of these goalies would get picked in the first two rounds in most draft, a move that I would never make.  The variance is too high on a year to year basis with goalies to take one in the first or second round.  Regardless, even in their worst case scenarios (assuming health), these five should all be top 12 goalies come season’s end.  I was torn on who to rank #1 (I considered the top three) but ultimately settled on Oettinger.  The Stars are a better defensive team than the Rangers, and simply a better team than the Islanders which should allow him to get more wins.  Igor was disappointed in himself last season, yet he still was the #7 goalie overall.  He’s as safe as they come and as 2021-22 showed, he can be the best goalie in the league.  The Islanders will continue to play horrible hockey to watch, but it will do wonders for Sorokin’s numbers.  He was the best goalie of the five in this tier last season, and while Varlamov is easily the most capable backup any of these teams have, he shouldn’t cut into Sorokin’s workload.

We know what we’re getting from Vasilevskiy at this point.  The ceiling isn’t quite where it used to be when Tampa’s roster was deeper, but he’s still near the top of his game.  I may be a little bold to include Georgiev in the top tier, but he looked every bit of the part last season in Colorado. He tied for the league lead in wins last season and has a reasonable chance of repeating.  The GAA might end up slightly higher than the others here, but I have confidence that Georgiev can at least repeat his #6 finish last season.

Tier Two: #1’s With Extra Risk

6) Connor Hellebuyck

7) Juuse Saros

8) Ilya Samsonov

9) Linus Ullmark

10) Frederik Andersen

The tier name explains itself.  Hellebuyck had his third top 3 Vezina finish last season with his lowest GAA in five seasons.  The problem is that there are a ton of questions around the Jets, including with Hellebuyck himself.  He’s a pending UFA, and while it seems certain he starts the season with the Jets, who knows if he stays for the full season?  He should be good no matter where he ends up, but Winnipeg has the makings of a team that can surprise in a good way, or be a total dumpster fire.  In terms of talent, Saros belongs in tier one.  He will probably start the most games in the league for the third year running which is a huge value.  The problem is that his GAA is likely to be the highest of the top 10.  It’s not devastating, but it also limits a bit who you can get as your #2.  For example, you can’t get away with a Saros / Skinner tandem.

Samsonov was outstanding in his first season with the Maple Leafs.  Toronto should be a regular season juggernaut again putting Samsonov in position for elite wins and GAA.  The problem is that Samsonov has never started more than 40 games in a season (the most he has played is 44).  I do think he can set a new career high, but it’s hard to imagine him topping say, 52 starts, because Toronto probably won’t be pressed to push for points late in the season.  It was also the first quality season of his career so I want to see it again.

It might seem crazy to have Ullmark this low off the best 48 games in my time at Razzball.  40 wins, 1.89 GAA and .938 sv% is insane.  That said, the 48 games is telling because that’s really low volume for a top goalie.  Also, as everyone knows, Bergeron is gone and so is Krejci.  They should still be a solid defensive team, but it’s not going to be anywhere near that level.  Ullmark also has a long history of being hurt.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he turned into a pumpkin, or if Swayman ends up making more starts than him.  There’s a massive amount of variance here.

Andersen is also a huge injury risk, and he’s coming off a poor season.  With how good Carolina is defensively, even with a .903 sv%, Andersen still had a 2.48 GAA.  Carolina is arguably the favorite for the Presidents Trophy, so if Andersen plays anywhere close to what he did in 2021-22, he can be a top 5 goalie.  Like Ullmark, he could also end up losing his job to Raanta or even Kochetkov.  In roto leagues, I love the idea of taking both parts of the tandem, but in H2H leagues, that’s a bit dicey.

Tier 3A: Glass Half Full

11) Filip Gustavsson

12) Jacob Markstrom

13) Stuart Skinner

14) Vitek Vanecek

15) Devon Levi

16) Tristan Jarry

17) Sergei Bobrovsky

There is a massive group of goalies in tier three that are difficult to separate.  All of them will be held the entire season, all of them have a very good chance to be a #2 goalie, and some of them can be a #1 if things break right.  Gustavsson was a #1 last season after being cast off by Ottawa.  He had a 2.10 / .931 in 39 games.  While I expect an uptick in games, MAF is still going to play plenty.  Additionally, even with those gaudy numbers, Gustavsson only won 22 of 39 games.  If his play drops off a bit, then the wins could end up below average.

Markstrom had the season from hell last year after he was #2 for the Vezina the season before.  Odds are that this season will be somewhere in the middle, but I’m bullish on a bounce back closer to 2021-22.  Markstrom has a long history of playing well and I’m expecting a better performance with a new coaching staff.

Given that he plays on the Oilers, it’s unlikely that Skinner is a plus in the goals against average department.  I do expect the Oilers to be better defensively solely because of Ekholm being around for the entire season.  There’s also the chance that Campbell bounces back to what he was in Toronto and ends up stealing some time from Skinner.  We’ve seen it with goalies like Markstrom and Bobrovsky in the past.  I like taking the chance as Skinner, but beware that it’s risky.

The Devils have the chance to be the best team in the league.  Vanecek should get first crack at being the 1A.  Schmid is a worry, and again, I’d like to have both for the tandem.  Even with a .911 sv%, Vaneeck had a 2.45 GAA.  If he improves, he could end up being a top 10 goalie.  Think of his upside as Georgiev with ~10 less starts.  Or, unlike Georgiev, Vanecek could lose his job to Schmid and become the 1B or backup.

The Sabres are on an upward trajectory despite their goaltending issues.  They’re hoping that Levi can be the solution.  It’s a massive risk banking on a rookie goalie when the team is turning into an offensive juggernaut, but here we are.  I’m bullish on Levi long term, but it’s a lot to ask for a 21 year old to come in and play 50+ games on a team with playoff aspirations.  The Sabres were quite bad defensively last season, and it’s hard to say how much better it improves.  Levi could end up a plus in save percentage and decent in wins, but a negative in GAA.  I think his median outcome is around this area, a solid #2, but this could go plenty of different ways.

Jarry’s .909 resulted in a 2.90 GAA.  Yikes.  While I do think Pittsburgh will be better, how much better will they be defensively with Karlsson on their team?  Odds are that they’ll be worse defensively.  If Jarry is healthy, he’s going to play a lot, and I would be very selective about who I paired him with if I draft him.  I wouldn’t like him with Saros because the GAA is ugly, but he fits well with Samsonov or Andersen.

Bob was a dumpster fire in the regular season, and then dragged Florida to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Knight should be back as well which brings a looming threat.  This might be too generous of a ranking given that Ekblad and Montour will be out into December, leaving Florida’s blue line to be among the league’s worst.  I just can’t deny the upside in a similar way to Jarry.

That’s all for now guys.  I’ll be back tomorrow finishing out my goaltending rankings.  As always, feel free to ask any questions, give any comments, or leave any suggestions below.  Thanks for reading, take care!