Fantasy Hockey: Goalie Rankings and Draft Strategy

David Petrie’s rankings can be found on The Hockey Writers and will be up shortly on Fantasy Pros as well. Defence rankings and a top 250 rankings will be posted in August. These 2018-19 fantasy hockey goalie rankings are based on standard categories, including wins, goals against average, save percentage and shutouts.

  1. Andrei Vasilevskiy TB
  2. Connor Hellebuyck WPG
  3. Pekka Rinne NSH
  4. Tuukka Rask BOS
  5. Sergei Bobrovsky CBJ
  6. Jonathan Quick LA
  7. Frederik Andersen TOR
  8. Matt Murray PIT
  9. Marc-Andre Fleury VGK
  10. Braden Holtby WSH
  11. Martin Jones SJ
  12. John Gibson ANA
  13. Devan Dubnyk MIN
  14. Ben Bishop DAL
  15. Carey Price MTL
  16. Mike Smith CGY
  17. Antti Raanta ARI
  18. Jake Allen STL
  19. Cam Talbot EDM
  20. Roberto Luongo FLA
  21. Scott Darling CAR
  22. Semyon Varlamov COL
  23. Cory Schneider NJ
  24. Juuse Saros NSH
  25. Brian Elliott PHI
  26. Henrik Lundqvist NYR
  27. Corey Crawford CHI
  28. Carter Hutton BUF
  29. Keith Kinkaid NJ
  30. Jacob Markstrom VAN
  31. Aaron Dell SJ
  32. Philipp Grubauer COL
  33. Jaroslav Halak BOS
  34. Petr Mrazek CAR
  35. James Reimer FLA

Fantasy Hockey Goalie Draft Strategy

Draft at Least One of the Top 12 Goalies

I generally don’t like to draft goalies in the first three rounds (assuming 10-12 teams in the league) as the skaters that go near the top of the draft are far too valuable to pass up on. That means that I will miss out on Vasilevskiy and Hellebyuck and I’m okay with that. However, I find it crucial to get one of the goalies ranked in the top 12 so if the goalies start flying off the board, I will make sure to grab one. I consider the goalies ranked from number 4 (Rask) to number 12 (Gibson) to be of a similar tier so I’m fine with any of them.

Team Success Leads to Fantasy Goalie Success

The team in front of a goalie HEAVILY influences how good a fantasy goalie he is. It’s no coincidence that the top 13 goalies listed above were on the 13 winningest teams last season. When it comes to choosing which goalie you want that is further down the list, pick one whose team you think will take a step forward in 2018-19.

Despite the fact that they played poorly last season, Jake Allen and Scott Darling are two bounce-back candidates this season that I am targetting because I like what the St. Louis Blues and Carolina Hurricanes did this offseason and I think both teams can make the playoffs this year.

Jake Allen Blues Sean Couturier Flyers
Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues and Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers, January 6, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

On the flip side, avoid goalies that play on bad teams like the plague. You won’t see any goalies from the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders in the rankings because they can torch your goals-against average and save percentage. If you think that the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers will be better this year, then Antti Raanta, Carter Hutton and Cam Talbot are for you. If not, leave them alone for other fantasy GMs to take.

One team that’s difficult to figure out is the Philadelphia Flyers. Their goaltending has been atrocious the past couple years but they have a talented roster so if one of their goalies can step up, they can put together some excellent fantasy numbers. Brian Elliott gets the first crack at the starting job and can be had late in fantasy drafts. Michael Neuvirth would be next in line, followed by Alex Lyon, but watch out for one of the NHL’s best goalie prospects in Carter Hart.

Backup Goalies are Valuable in Rotisserie Leagues

If you play in a rotisserie league that has a maximum number of games allowed, there isn’t much use for skaters on your bench. That means you can use your bench allotment on goalies and you should. Here’s a quiz for you, which of these goalie stats from 2017-18 would you have preferred:

Goalie A. 64 games played, 33 wins, 2.40 GAA, 0.921 SV%, 5 shutouts
Goalie B. 60 games played, 31 wins, 2.43 GAA, 0.926 SV%, 4 shutouts
Goalie C. 60 games played, 29 wins, 2.30 GAA, 0.929 SV%, 8 shutouts

Goalie A is Jonathan Quick, goalie B is John Gibson and goalie C is a combination of Curtis McElhinney, Ryan Miller and Casey DeSmith, three goalies that were widely available on the waiver wire last season. By rotating good backup goalies when they start, you can get excellent goalie stats without wasting a high pick.

For 2018-19, the backup goalies I like best for this purpose are Juuse Saros, Aaron Dell and Jaroslav Halak. Keith Kinkaid, Phillip Grubauer, Petr Mrazek and James Reimer are backup goalies that could take the starters job as they are behind oft-injured or shaky starters.

Juuse Saros (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Impact of the NHL Schedule on Fantasy Hockey Goalies

Plenty of insights can be found in David Satriano’s analysis of the 2018-19 NHL schedule. In particular, for fantasy goalies, the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers have the most back-to-back games, which gives an uptick in value for their backups, James Reimer and Petr Mrazek. Another important insight is that the Anaheim Ducks play the most games by far on lighter game days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), which adds to John Gibson’s value.