Goalie Rankings For 2016 Fantasy Hockey

I treat goaltenders like I would quarterbacks. In a league where you can start more than one, I draft them early and often. In most category leagues, goaltenders will account for half of your points. In other words, they are important. With that in mind, here are the initial goalie rankings for 2016 Fantasy Hockey:

1. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals: I’ve said many times that I’m a conservative drafter. What I mean by this is that I like a player to prove it to me again once he has a great season. Well, Holtby has done that. What’s not to like? He plays for a very good team, that plays above average on both ends of the ice. Drafting Holtby assures each of the categories will be hit.

2. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings: If you’re looking for consistency, then Quick is your man. He may not be quite the same goaltender he was a few years ago but he’s still pretty close and (maybe most important) he just doesn’t have any major problems.

3. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens: You could certainly make the argument that Price should be either first or second on this list, but an injury ravaged 2015-16 season means he has to prove it to me again.

4. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers: He 34 years old and his play seems to have slipped a bit. The other problem is that the play of the Rangers defense has also slipped a bit. If you combine the two you have some issues here. I always tweak my rankings, sometimes on a daily basis, and when I do, Lundqvist would have a better change of moving down than up.

Goalie Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning

5. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning: My only worry with Bishop, — well actually two worries — is that he is a free agent after the season. Why is this a worry? The Lightning have Andrei Vasilevskly waiting in the wings and the team could be thinking about trading Bishop and not lose him for nothing. Vasilevskly wouldn’t be that big a downgrade. The other worry is Bishop has suffered a few injuries over the years. Still, he plays for a very good team, which is why I’d want him.

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6. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks: He’s not quite the skilled goaltender as the others above him, but plays for a great team that you know will win games for him. He’s the perfect goaltender for a points based league.

7. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators: Rinne was very inconsistent last season and lost his starting job for a short time. Was this a blip on the radar or a sign of things to come? I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

8. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins: I admit, I have no idea why I ranked him this high. Matt Murray took over the starting job after MAF suffered multiple concussions. Will it be an even fight for the starting job in camp? Probably not. You have to think that the Pens give MAF the benefit of the doubt and first crack at the starting job. I really should have him 3-4 spots lower but I’m banking on the upside here.

9. Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues: Allen has all the tools to be a successful goaltender in the NHL. What he doesn’t have is a full season under his belt as a starting goaltender. He also doesn’t have a safety valve in Brian Elliott to cover for him if he fails. What he does have is a very good defense in front of him and no worries about playing time.

10. John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks: Now that the Ducks have removed the logjam they had in goal by trading Andersen, so Gibson flies into the Top 10. He has many of the same qualities as Allen along with the same negatives, and positives.

11. Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks: Could he be a one-year wonder? Maybe, but I would still take my chances.

12. Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils: If he played for a better team he would easily be a Top 5 goaltender. As it is, I could make the argument that he is the best goalie in the NHL. The problem is the Devils are still a rebuilding team, although acquiring F Taylor Hall was a huge step in the right direction.

13. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins: A bit of a disappointing season last year but if you can get him as a G2, you may just have a steal.

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14. Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild: Can he put together a full season? When acquired by Minnesota during the 2014-15 season, you could’ve had a debate that he should be in the Vezina Trophy conversation. Last season, his first full one in Minnesota, had more ups than downs but Fantasy owners were still expecting more. Still, a solid G2.

15. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers: He is still recovering from hip surgery, so we don’t know if he will be ready to begin the 2016-17 season on time. He’s 37 years old and is plain beat up. He’s just not the same goalie he used to be, but his team is getting better and better.

16. Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche: Perhaps a change in coaching will help Varlamov, perhaps it won’t.

17. Peter Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings: This is a team that is in need of a rebuild, yet seems it wants to both rebuild and compete at the same time. That usually doesn’t work and Mrazek will suffer because of it. It would also be nice if he didn’t have Jimmy Howard looking over his shoulder.

18. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators: Has some upside but always seems to leave the Fantasy owner wanting a little more.

19. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets: Stay healthy, just please stay healthy for once.

20. Brian Elliott, Calgary Flames: He is going to find out very quickly that the Flames do not possess the defensive talent of the Blues. Still, he was great last season and should fix what was Calgary’s biggest weakness in 2015-16.

21. Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers: See Bobrovsky. I like to say the most important ability in a Fantasy player is availability and it’s something that Mason doesn’t possess at all times.

22. Antti Niemi, Dallas Stars: This is still a below-average defensive team and it’s still a time share in net.

New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak

23. Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders: There are plenty of rumors that the Isles want to move his contract and go with Thomas Greiss in net. Proceed with caution here.

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24. Cam Talbot, Edmonton Oilers: They are an up-and-coming team, especially on offense. However, the defense is still a work in progress.

25. Robin Lehner, Buffalo Sabres: His first season in Buffalo was a bust due to the ankle injury. Let’s see if season two is any better. This is a good young team, but they may be a year away from contending.

26. Ryan Miller, Vancouver Canucks: Much like the Red Wings, the Canucks are in need of a rebuild but much like the Wings, they are trying to both rebuild and win at the same time. It’s just really difficult to make that work.

27. Frederick Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs: Remember those injuries I say might happen at the World Cup? Well, Andersen was the first domino to fall as he is out after suffering an upper body injury. At this point it does look like that he will be able to return for the opener, but it may not matter as Toronto will still be a bottom-tier team this season.

28. Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets: When will the Jets figure out he is not the answer in net?

29. Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins: If he gets the starting job over MAF then he vaults into the Top 12. As it is if you’re drafting MAF, you better get Murray also.

30. Thomas Greiss, New York Islanders: I wouldn’t handcuff Greiss to Halak or vice versa as neither will end up a Top 10 goaltender, but if Greiss were to get the starting job and Halak were to be traded, then Greiss moves into the Top 20.

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