Goaltending is a very volatile position. If we look and see which goalies were drafted first last year, Carey Price and Braden Holtby did not live up to their draft price. On the other hand, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Connor Hellebuyck were steals, so goalies can vary from year-to-year. It’s also very important to consider how good the team is. The tables below are only for the starting goalie. Goalies splitting time in the net, backups and third string goalies are not included. These rankings are based off of Yahoo’s standard league categories – adjust accordingly.
1. Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB)
Tampa Bay has been one of the best teams in the last few years and aren’t going anywhere. Even though Vasilevskiy technically had a worse season than Connor Hellebuyck, he’s been regarded as one of the top goaltending prospects. Due to the pedigree and skill, I believe he’s a safe choice as my number one.
2. Connor Hellebuyck (WPG)
Hellebuyck tied with Vasilevskiy for the most wins and put up better numbers than him. Winnipeg looks just as good as Tampa Bay and are also one of the teams regarded as a Stanley Cup contender. Hopefully he can have the same kind of season and won’t struggle like Cam Talbot and Jake Allen.
3. Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ)
Columbus took a step back last season, but Bobrovsky posted another solid season. He’s been one of the best goalies in the last two years and with John Tortorella being extended, the team should play the same way. This is a contract year for him so expect a great year.
4. Braden Holtby (WSH)
Not a good fantasy pick last season, he lost his job to Philipp Grubauer, but got it back and led the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup. He was rock solid going 16-7 with a 2.16 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. That’s more of what we’re accustomed to so I expect a rebound season from him.
5. Pekka Rinne (NSH)
Yes, Nashville finished on top of the league in the regular season, but did you know Pekka Rinne turns 36-years-old in November? Last season was one of the best seasons he’s ever had and it’s very hard to ask for a repeat from an older goalie. Well if you’re not afraid, that’s cool, Nashville is one of the better teams in the league, but draft at your own risk.
6. Jonathan Quick (LA)
Even with the new coaching regime, LA can still lock down those low scoring games. The Kings led the league with the fewest goals-against per game as well as having the best penalty kill percentage. They are better with the addition of Ilya Kovalchuk and having Jeff Carter for the whole season can do wonders. Quick is my favourite goalie to watch due to his flexibility and I would be very happy with him as my number one.
7. Frederik Andersen (TOR)
He’s proved he can be a number one goalie since coming to Toronto. With the Leafs being one of the best offensive teams, the chance for wins are great. The defence is a bit of an issue, but there’s no denying the Leafs will be one of the better teams. Babs, just don’t overwork Freddie and we’ll be okay.
8. John Gibson (ANA)
If this guy can ever stay healthy for a whole season he probably would be higher in the rankings. When healthy, his numbers are pretty impressive. Since his first season, his save percentage has never dipped below .920 while his goals-against average has never been higher than 2.50. All I can say is, what a stud, and if he can play 60 games again, I will be overjoyed.
9. Tuukka Rask (BOS)
Tuukka Rask had another solid season. He hasn’t been playing at that elite level since the 2013-14 season, but is serviceable on a very good Boston squad. You know what you’re getting with Tuukka, he’ll have more good than bad weeks.
10. Matt Murray (PIT)
Marc-Andre Fleury’s successor, Matt Murray, has yet to play a full season due to health. He is coming off of a down season, but has shown in the playoffs what he’s capable of. Despite only playing two seasons, he’s a two-time Stanley Cup champion where he has a record of 27-16-3 with a 2.08 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. One season he’s going to put it all together and hopefully we’re all on-board for it.
11. Martin Jones (SJ)
After a rough first half, Jones went 16-11-2 with a 2.41 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage in the second. He then turned it up a notch in the playoffs going 6 -4 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. A full season with Evander Kane combined with the addition of Erik Karlsson, that should give us confidence that we will see more of the second half Martin Jones.
12. Devan Dubnyk (MIN)
Here’s another goalie who had a poor showing in the first half, but turned his season around in the second. Dubnyk went 17-6-4 with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage in the second half. He’s had some pretty solid numbers since joining the Wild and their coached by Bruce Boudreau, who always has good regular seasons.
13. Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK)
Pittsburgh would have loved to keep Fleury, but due to the expansion draft, they decided to keep Matt Murray. Fleury had an amazing season and was even better in the playoffs, nearly completing the Cinderella story. Even if the Golden Knights take a step back, Fleury should be solid once again.
14. Ben Bishop (DAL)
In his first season with the Dallas Stars, Ben Bishop provided some decent goaltending. The team improved to 7th for the fewest goals allowed per game and now there’s a new head coach. With Jim Montgomery as the new bench boss, new ambitions and new excitement surround the team. Bishop should continue to provide solid numbers for you.
15. Carey Price (MTL)
Carey Price might have been one of the first two goalies off the board last season, but this time, won’t be anywhere near that. The team around him is bad and I’m not even sure how much he can help them. He’s coming off a really poor season after posting four really great ones. Price was once regarded as the best goalie, but even the best need help, this is a gamble pick.
16. Cam Talbot (EDM)
What a disappointing year for the Edmonton Oilers. Talbot, who was one of the best goalies in 2016-17, took a huge step back and didn’t look like the same goalie. There’s no doubt during that season he stole a bunch of games for them, but he didn’t have it last year. I expect a bounce-back year because those numbers were so bad and he’s not that bad.
17. Mike Smith (CGY)
The 36-year-old missed a big portion of the season which cemented Calgary’s fate of missing the playoffs. They are another team with a new head coach to go along with some new faces. The faces won’t be new to head coach, Bill Peters, as he’s coached them in Carolina. Smith should provide steady goaltending despite his age, please just stay healthy.
18. Jake Allen (STL)
Jake Allen has had a hard time establishing himself as the number one goalie in St. Louis. He’s had stretches where he’s looked unbeatable, but ultimately needs to be more consistent. I’m still holding onto hope that one day he’ll figure it out, and with Chad Johnson not being a threat behind him, it’s his crease once again.
19. Roberto Luongo (FLA)
Yet another ageless wonder. Roberto Luongo, 39 years of age, posted his best numbers since leaving Vancouver. It’s hard to imagine him replicating those numbers, but Florida is a team on the rise. They were one of the best teams in the second half and the expectation is he can at least be serviceable to your team.
20. Semyon Varlamov/Philipp Grubauer (COL)
I believe Philipp Grubauer is in Colorado in case Varlamov goes for his annual IR stint. Varlamov was great in March to help Colorado to the playoffs where he went 7-3-3, with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage. Hopefully we’ll see more of that performance, if not, Grubauer will see more starts.
21. Cory Schneider/Keith Kinkaid (NJ)
Due to injuries, Cory Schneider lost his job last season and Keith Kinkaid helped the Devils to the playoffs. Schneider reclaimed the net in the playoffs posting 1-2 record with a 1.78 goals-against average and .950 save percentage. He had off-season hip surgery and we’re not sure if he’ll be ready for opening day. If Kinkaid can have a good start to the year, we could be looking at a split in the net.
22. Corey Crawford/Cam Ward (CHI)
Corey Crawford is suffering from post-concussion syndrome so when he’ll be back, no one really knows. Until then it’s Cam Ward’s net. I’m not sure what to expect here, I’d rather take the chance on Crawford’s health over Ward, or I’m avoiding this situation.
23. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR)
At age 36, Lundqvist’s New York Rangers are in the middle of a rebuild/retool. He’s above Carter Hutton and Antti Raanta because I believe his New York Rangers won’t be as bad as the other two.
24. Antti Raanta (ARI)
Antti Raanta led all goaltenders in goals-against average and in save percentage in the second half of the season. He went 13-4-1 with a 1.80 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage. I’m cautiously optimistic because it’s Arizona, but considering he will get the bulk of starts, he deserves a bump in the rankings.
25. Carter Hutton (BUF)
What a career year for Carter Hutton. I have serious doubts he can replicate last year with the Buffalo Sabres. Still, he’s coming off a career year, so Sabres fans can only hope it carries over.
26. Brian Elliott/Michal Neuvirth/Carter Hart (PHI)
Fans are just waiting till the year Carter Hart is in the net. He’s arguably the best goalie prospect not playing in the NHL and is most likely going to spend the season with their minor league team. Until he’s ready, this is a timeshare situation.
27. Scott Darling/Petr Mrazek (CAR)
Last season, Darling had a very tough year. He was brought in to challenge Cam Ward for the playing time, but with those numbers, he found himself playing backup. With Ward gone, this is Scott Darling’s net, but if he struggles again, then maybe Peter Mrazek overtakes the throne.
28. Jimmy Howard/Jonathan Bernier (DET)
Jimmy Howard outlasted Petr Mrazek in the Detroit crease. He is back to being the starter, but with Jonathan Bernier now in the fold, it may be only his for so long.
29. Craig Anderson (OTT)
Since coming to Ottawa, every other year has been a bad season for Craig Anderson, and if history repeats itself, this year it will be a good year. Can it really be a good year when Ottawa looks this bad? Unless Guy Boucher is bringing back the 1-3-1, I can’t imagine it being a good one.
30. Jacob Markstrom/Anders Nilsson/Thatcher Demko (VAN)
Just like how Philadelphia Flyers fans are waiting for Carter Hart, Vancouver Canucks fans are waiting for Thatcher Demko. The difference is Demko has already played two years in the AHL. This is a situation where you’ll have to follow during training camp to see what they decide to do with Demko. With the Sedin’s gone, it’s going to be a rough ride no matter who’s in net.
31. Robin Lehner/Thomas Greiss/Christopher Gibson (NYI)
They lost their captain and now how do they look? They are definitely looking bad, but not the worst. The big question marks are the goalies. Last season, the New York Islanders were one of the highest scoring teams, but also allowed the most goals. Don’t wait to get a second goalie, you don’t want to be stuck with these guys.