Picking a goaltender in fantasy hockey can be a tricky task. A great deal of how a goalie produces is based on the team in front of him, and of course his abilities. It seems that every year another goalie slips into the Tier 1 level of goalies. It is just hard to determine what goaltender will perform on a consistent basis.
Another question that is very important is, when should a person select their first goalie? Some guys start as early as the second round, but I believe the third round is usually the target point to nab a quality goalie. A manager must watch how the draft is progressing. If you feel very strongly about a certain goaltender, I would select him in the third round. Otherwise I would watch to see when the first goaltender is picked, and then jump on board the goaltender draft machine. Once managers start to pick goalies the top tier will be gone quickly. So act fast!
Top 10 Fantasy Hockey Goaltenders –
1 – Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins –
2 – Jonathan Quick – Los Angeles Kings
3 – Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
4 – Ben Bishop – Tampa Bay Lightning
5 – Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers
6 – Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets
7 – Corey Crawford – Chicago Blackhawks
8 – Cory Schneider – New Jersey Devils
9 – Kari Lehtonen – Dallas Stars
10 – Marc-Andre Fleury – Pittsburgh Penguins
Rask is a ultra safe pick, and that is why I believe he is the clear number one. Quick is amazing, but often times his playoff performance does not relate to the regular season. Price shocked a lot of people last season with his Olympic performance and regular season play. Ben Bishop looks to be a safer and safer pick everyday. The Lightning look to be a up and coming team, and solid goaltending is a main part of that. Lundqvist is another safe pick. I do not look for him to put up record points, and I think the Rangers will dip this year. He will produce points, but not top three points.
Sleeper Picks –
1 – Jake Allen – St. Louis Blues
2 – Pekka Rinne – Nashville Predators
3 – Jonas Hiller – Calgary Flames
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock has clearly pointed out that Brian Elliott is the starter in St. Louis, but how long will that be the case. If they had full confidence in him they would have not picked up Ryan Miller last season. I look for young Jake Allen to get his shot, and he will prove to be a top end NHL goalie. Pekka Rinne is coming off a serious infection that had him sidelined most of last season, and this year he will move back up to the elite goaltender level that he once was. Jonas Hiller was a diamond in the ruff pick up for the Flames. Honestly this signing may prove to be the biggest of the summer. The Flames will struggle again this year, but Hiller will post decent numbers.
Buyer Beware –
1 – Semyon Varlamov – Colorado Avalanche
2 – Jimmy Howard – Detroit Red Wings
3 – Steve Mason – Philadelphia Flyers
I know the Varlamov ranking is somewhat surprising, but is it? He is young, and it is very hard to repeat what he did last season. I do believe that he will have a decent year, but Colorado will not surprise teams this season. Both Varlamov and the Avalanche will not repeat the stellar numbers that they produced last season. Jimmy Howard is on the down swing of his career. Detroit is getting old and injuries continue to haunt them. Without some young talent to quickly step up, Howard and the Wings will struggle. Steve Mason’s career has been a total roller coaster, and I think it is on the downslide again this season.
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