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Fantasy Hockey: Top Goaltender Banger Rankings for 2022-23

Get ready for your fantasy hockey season by checking out the top goaltenders in the league to win your pool.
Andrei Vasilevskiy

Welcome to Part 2, an all-goalie special after Part 1 featured the top 200 players. Mixing in goalies with player rankings is always tough because they can be valued so differently in fantasy hockey, as if they’re two mini-competitions combined. That makes drafting them difficult, and in most cases, there will be a run of goalies once the pretty-good names start going off the board regardless of the round they’re drafted.

Best player available strategies aren’t always viable because with goalies. If, for example, a goalie run starts early in the draft and you’re forced between picking Alex DeBrincat, a rare 40-goal threat, or Darcy Kuemper, an injury-prone starter on a team that likely caps out as a playoff contender... well, either way, you’re not walking away from that draft very happy.

The categories considered in these rankings are wins (W), saves (Svs), GAA and save percentage (Sv%). They are also ranked with considerations made to quality starts, meaning that while quantity is an important factor, goalies who are more consistent performers on a nightly basis are ranked higher. (Sorry, Bob).

All 32 teams are represented in the list below. All the goalies are grouped into tiers but also numerically ranked for those who aren’t badass enough to live without them. Eagle Fang for the win!

Have fun! This list will be updated throughout the season.

First-round picks

1. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning
2. Igor Shesterkin, Rangers

There are only two really elite goalies in the league that warrant a first-round pick in most fantasy drafts, and there’s no debate about the names or the order they’re in. Vasilevskiy has been the best fantasy goalie for a few seasons running now, and Shesterkin is the biggest challenger to that title.

Elite starters

3. Jacob Markstrom, Flames
4. Juuse Saros, Predators
5. Ilya Sorokin, Islanders

Better team, better chances. Based on hockey-reference.com’s Quality Start % metric, Markstrom ranks a distant third, but he’ll have a heavy workload playing behind a deep defense. Saros gets the edge over Sorokin because Sorokin’s workload might be lower with Semyon Varlamov demanding playing time.

Very good starters

6. Tristan Jarry, Penguins
7. Frederik Andersen, Hurricanes
8. Thatcher Demko, Canucks
9. Jack Campbell, Oilers
10. Sergei Bobrovsky, Panthers

These five goalies all feature enough upside to finish in the top five. Still, there’s an apparent downside, be it poor injury luck (Jarry, Andersen, Campbell), poor team defense (Demko, Campbell, Bobrovsky) or poor consistency (Campbell, Bobrovsky).

Jarry gets overlooked a lot, but over the past six seasons he’s ranked sixth in wins (79), sixth in Sv% (.917, min. 100 GP) and sixth in GAA (2.52). The Pens have plenty to prove after blowing a 3-1 lead to the eventual conference finalists in the first round and it feels like they’ve got one more championship run in them after Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin were both re-signed.

Campbell is most in danger out of falling out of the top five. His injury history, fewer games of experience compared to his peers due to those injuries, and playing behind a team with a porous defense are all reasons to worry. Don’t forget, Campbell nearly lost the starting job midway through the last season.

Bobrovsky is in the most precarious position because Spencer Knight will be pushing him. Still, based even on a 50-game workload, he’s expected to win at least 30 games and his overall numbers last season – .913 Sv%, 2.67 GAA – were his best since moving to Miami. Just know he runs red-hot or ice-cold, and to get full value, fantasy managers must be willing to live with the bad starts.

Could be good starters

11. Jake Oettinger, Stars
12. Darcy Kuemper, Capitals
13. Connor Hellebuyck, Jets
14. Cam Talbot, Senators

All four goalies have the potential to win at least 30 games and put up some good peripheral stats. What keeps them out of the top 10 is their relatively shorter (Oettinger) or shakier track records (Kuemper). With Hellebuyck, it’ll be interesting how he responds this season considering he’s had a massive workload over the past few seasons, and it’s not clear what the defense-first Rick Bowness can coax out of a team lacking blue line depth and looking to move in a new direction after stripping Blake Wheeler’s ‘C’. At this juncture, Talbot and the Sens’ potential upside seems much greater.

May be good starters

15. Jordan Binnington, Blues
16. Marc-Andre Fleury, Wild
17. Elvis Merzlikins, Blue Jackets

Fleury is overrated (ducks for cover) and Binnington is sometimes pretty good (runs for the hills). Fleury’s numbers with the Wild during the season were very good, but when the playoffs rolled around, his play plummeted and did not even start the final game. Binnington was the flip-flop with a poor regular season performance but led the playoffs with a 1.72 GAA. None of the three should inspire a ton of confidence and heaven forbid they anchor your fantasy team.

Are they starters?

18. Jeremy Swayman, Bruins
19. Antti Raanta, Hurricanes
20. Pavel Francouz, Avalanche
21. Matt Murray, Maple Leafs
22. Alexandar Georgiev, Avalanche
23. Linus Ullmark, Bruins
24. Semyon Varlamov, Islanders
25. Jonathan Quick, Kings
26. Cal Petersen, Kings
27. James Reimer, Sharks
28. Ville Husso, Red Wings
29. Alex Nedeljkovic, Red Wings
30. Spencer Knight, Panthers
31. Ilya Samsonov, Maple Leafs

Welcome to the rest of the mess. If you’ve reached this point and still have zero goalies on your fantasy roster, a reminder that this self-inflicted pain. At the top of the list is Swayman, who should have the inside edge for the No. 1 job in Beantown. There’s certainly a chance he climbs into the next couple of tiers above, but Ullmark’s presence looms large.

In Carolina, if Andersen gets hurt – and odds are he will at some point – Raanta is very capable of stepping in. He’s one of the best 1B goalies in the league and he will be playing behind an excellent team. It’s hard to see a 50-50 split between the two since Andersen is the preferred starter, but Raanta should see close to 35 games of action. It’s the same for Varlamov and Knight, though to lesser extents because they’re not quite as good as Raanta, if their starters drop the ball.

Murray is really interesting. Whether it’s mental or further adjustments to his playing style, there were times last season where he looked very good with the Sens. The Leafs are so strong in the possession game that they will win many games without good goaltending, and if Murray can get his career back on track, he could easily vault into the top 15. Samsonov is likewise a reclamation project but so far pencilled behind Murray as the backup and never looked solid for the Caps last season.

Among the tandems, Georgiev and Francouz look the most appetizing but it’s anyone’s guess right now how the playing time will shake out. The Avs handed Georgiev a contract that implied he’s the starter – he’s younger, too – but the overall metrics favour Francouz as the better goalie, and he did play a big part in their Cup-winning run.

Non-starters, literally

32. John Gibson, Ducks
33. Philipp Grubauer, Kraken
34. Carter Hart, Flyers
35. Karel Vejmelka, Coyotes
36. Mackenzie Blackwood, Devils
37. Vitek Vanecek, Devils
38. Logan Thompson, Golden Knights
39. Laurent Brossoit, Golden Knights
40. Adin Hill, Golden Knights
41. Jake Allen, Canadiens
42. Craig Anderson, Sabres
43. Petr Mrazek, Blackhawks

It’s the bottom of the barrel by this point and it’s debatable whether any of these goalies are worth a fantasy draft pick. Gibson’s fantasy value should get a big boost when he leaves Anaheim because he’s looked disinterested for the past few seasons, and he’s certainly got the best chance to move up a few tiers. Things can’t get any worse for Grubauer, making him a strong value-pick candidate. Hart and Vejmelka are matchup-dependent but, in most cases, better left on the waiver wire because their performances can be inconsistent and difficult to predict. The Devils have an interesting tandem that could be pleasant surprises or a complete disaster.

Vegas is probably the third-best team in the Pacific behind Edmonton and Calgary, and they are only in that spot because of their reputation and represents a best-case scenario. They could easily miss the playoffs again with the Kings and Canucks behind them. This has always been one of the tougher questions in fantasy – how valuable can a bad goalie on a good team be?

None of their three goalies are really wroth drafting, though Thompson will be the most interesting option. He’s facing a much bigger workload than he’s ever had – his career high is 32 appearances in the ECHL two seasons ago – but showed very well in limited action last season. Training camp will decide who gets to start and fantasy managers should not want any part of a season-long three-man rotation, but I get the feeling Thompson will start in the AHL if he doesn’t shine in training camp because he’s the only one who’s waivers exempt.

Bonus: Best Backups

Anthony Stolarz, Ducks
Should Gibson leave, Stolarz will likely be the starter with top prospect Lukas Dostal getting the call-up. Stolarz has been a very good backup for the Ducks, a literal pterodactyl with his 6-foot-6 frame and owns a .920 Sv% and 2.54 GAA in 37 career appearances. The former second-round pick may be a late bloomer.

Martin Jones, Kraken
Nobody would’ve played well behind that Philly defense and there’s a chance Jones gets a big chunk of playing time if Grubauer falters again. There’s no sugar coating it; the Kraken were bad last season, falling well short of expectations in nearly every regard.

Anton Forsberg, Senators
It could be a 1A-1B rotation and the Sens have so much young talent they’re bound to break out. Statistically, Forsberg’s save percentage was better, but Talbot has far more experience and will likely get the starting job.

Eric Comrie, Sabres
It took a long time – eight years after being drafted in the second round and nine appearances with three NHL teams over the past five seasons – for Comrie to establish himself in the league. His track record is sparse, but in 19 appearances as Hellebucyk’s backup last season, Comrie played very well, finishing with a .920 Sv% and 2.58 GAA. Based on naturalstattrick.com’s 5v5 GSAA/60 model, Comrie ranked ninth (!) out of 119 goalies, between Sorokin and Shesterkin. The Sabres are rolling into the season with 41-year-old Anderson as the presumptive No. 1 and it would not be surprising if Comrie is their starter by the end of the season. 

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