2016 NHL Draft Guide: Top 20 Goaltenders
The Fantasy Alarm NHL Draft Guide breaks down the top 20 goaltenders for the 2016-17 fantasy hockey season.
Just like a starting pitcher in baseball or a quarterback in football, the goaltender in hockey is always under the spotlight. He needs to come up with key saves at the right time and his focus needs to be razor-sharp for the entire game. The goaltender gets a lot of the glory when his team wins, but he also takes most of the blame when they lose. It is a tough business and not everyone can handle that kind of pressure, but the very best NHL netminders have it in their DNA. Here is a look at the top 20 fantasy goaltenders heading into the 2016-17 season. One word of caution: the goaltending position can be extremely volatile, and a LOT of turnover can happen--quickly:
1. Jonathan Quick, Kings
He has won the Stanley Cup twice and has represented Team U.S.A. at both the Olympics and the World Cup of Hockey, but has yet to win the Vezina trophy--given to the NHL's top goaltender. Given his level of play in recent seasons that just may happen in '16-17.
2. Braden Holtby, Capitals
His 2015-16 campaign was magical, but can he be even better this season? The reigning Vezina trophy winner plays behind one of the best defensive teams in the league, which makes Holtby an excellent fantasy option.
3. Pekka Rinne, Predators
Expect a bounce-back campaign from the talented Finn after a so-so 2015-16 performance. His numbers were not terrible but his save percentage dipped to .908. He should move back into the .920 range in 2016-17.
4. Corey Crawford, Blackhawks
As the goaltender of the Blackhawks, winners of three Stanley Cups since 2010, Crawford does not have to stand on his head much. He is not the best goaltender in the NHL but he might be the best in the clutch.
5. Jake Allen, Blues
With Brian Elliott gone to Calgary, Allen will be handed the reigns as the undisputed starter in St. Louis this season. The Blues are among the top defensive teams in the league, so his numbers should continue to shine.
6. Martin Jones, Sharks
As a first-year No. 1 goaltender in 2015-16, Jones led the Sharks all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. What can he do for an encore? The 26-year-old Jones can still improve his regular-season numbers. Scary.
7. Cory Schneider, Devils
In a short period of time, Schneider has picked up where Martin Brodeur left off and continues the strong tradition of outstanding goaltending in New Jersey. Schneider may also benefit from the Devils' revamped offense this season and get a boost in the win column.
8. Carey Price, Canadiens
When healthy, he is arguably the best goaltender in the NHL. However, Price enters 2016-17 with plenty of risk after being reduced to just 12 games last season due to a strained medial collateral ligament in the right knee. He’s been knocking the rust off backstopping Team Canada in the World Cup and should bounce back. Still, he has some fantasy risk here.
9. Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers
Now 34 years old, Lundqvist is just three seasons removed from carrying the Rangers all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. That does feel like a long time ago, though, as the Swedish superstar is showing signs of decline.
10. John Gibson, Ducks
A highly touted prospect for several years now, Gibson will finally get the opportunity to showcase his ability as a true No. 1 netminder with the trade of Frederik Andersen to Toronto. Gibson could be special.
11. Craig Anderson, Senators
Anderson bounced back last season from an injury-plagued 2014-15 campaign and appeared in 60 games, his second season with 60-plus appearances since moving to Ottawa in 2011. He is a safe fantasy bet.
12. Matthew Murray, Penguins
Is he the next Ken Dryden or the next Cam Ward? The 2016-17 campaign will begin to provide answers for the Penguins rookie goalkeeper, who surprisingly led Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup last spring. Murray is a keeper.
13. Sergei Bobrovsky, Blue Jackets
The Russian veteran finished last season with strong performances after a nightmarish start to 2015-16. He appears poised for a return to top-10 fantasy goaltender status but Joonas Korpisalo might hurt his value.
14. Cam Talbot, Oilers
The good news here is Edmonton has committed to Talbot as its goaltender of the future. However, there are still holes in the Oilers' lineup, so wins may still be a little harder to come by than for most NHL starting netminders.
15. Tuukka Rask, Bruins
Rask's wins total has declined the last two seasons, while both his goals-against average and save percentage have gone up markedly. This disturbing trend must end this season, or Rask runs the risk of being replaced.
16. Devan Dubnyk, Wild
He could not follow up his magical career season of 2014-15 but still made a career-high 67 appearances for the Wild in '15-16. Dubnyk has the durability to continue to win 30-plus games, which has value in fantasy hockey.
17. Petr Mrazek, Red Wings
The only thing preventing Mrazek from being ranked higher on this list is the continued presence of Jimmy Howard in Detroit. While Howard has the contract of a No. 1 netminder, Mrazek is the better talent. Period.
18. Roberto Luongo, Panthers
The 37-year-old veteran hopes to be ready for the start of the 2016-17 regular season but the Panthers acquired James Reimer and Reto Berra as insurance, just in case. Luongo is a high-risk, high-reward fantasy option.
19. Semyon Varlamov, Avalanche
The Avalanche have a new coach in Jared Bednar, who is NOT one of the greatest goaltenders of all time (unlike previous coach Patrick Roy). How this affects Varlamov this season is a mystery. Buyer beware!
20. Antti Niemi, Stars
Who will emerge as the Stars' No. 1 goaltender this season? Kari Lehtonen is still the perceived starter but Niemi is right there with him. Neither Finnish puck-stopping option was great last season. In 2016-17?