The final position to preview for the 2013-14 Fantasy Season is the goaltenders. We will take a look at the fantasy worthy goalies around the league and what you might be able to expect from them this season. We will not take a look at net minders from Toronto, New Jersey, St. Louis, Anaheim or Philadelphia because we already previewed them in our Goalie Battles article!
Henrik Lundqvist came out of the gates a little slow last season. The Rangers were disappointingly bad and ‘King Henrik’s’ win totals suffered early in the year. However in April, Lundqvist was outstanding. He went 10-3-1 with a 1.76 goals against average (GAA) and a .934 save percentage (SV%). In 2013-14, he still remains as one of the Top-3 options in net. In his eight-year career, the Sweden native has never finished a season with a losing record or had a GAA over 2.43. He is as good as they come in the NHL and drafting him means you are probably getting close to 70 starts, 40 wins, a GAA under 2.00 and a SV% over .920. After back-to-back unbelievable seasons, Jonathan Quick‘s numbers took a slight hit last year. With Jonathan Bernier out of town, Quick will see a few more starts than he has in years past. On a very good Kings team seeing 70 starts could translate into 40 wins for the 27-year-old. After posting a 2.45 GAA and .903 SV% last season, Quick will likely be back in the 1.90-2.20 GAA and .915+ SV% range this season. Last year’s Stanley Cup Finals featured two standout fantasy goalies, Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford. With Tim Thomas sitting out the year, Rask became the unquestioned starter of the Bruins. The 26-year-old had been waiting in the wings for years and was ready to become the starter from the moment the season started. He started the season 11-1-2 with a 1.86 GAA and .933 SV% but then saw his numbers fall off in March and April. He finished the season 19-10-5 with a 2.00 GAA and .929 SV%. His late season slip did not carry over into the playoffs as he finished with a 1.88 GAA and a playoff best .944 SV%. Rask should start 60 games this season and behind a Cup contending Bruins team, he should pile up the wins yet again. He is another candidate for a sub-2.00 GAA. Goaltending was supposed to be a question mark for the Blackhawks last season, but Crawford and Ray Emery put that to rest with authority. Crawford saw his GAA drop from 2.72 to 1.94, while going 19-5-5 and leading Chicago to a Stanley Cup with a playoff best 1.84 GAA. In 2013-14, expect more of the same. He is probably not going to post a GAA under 2.00 again, but his numbers will be more than serviceable and his win total should be towards the top of the league. Pekka Rinne followed up his stellar 43-win 2011-12 season with a 15-16-8, 2.43 GAA and .910 SV% campaign. While Rinne is one of the league’s best tendys, he is not on a great team. He does not get nearly as much goal support as the other four I have mentioned so far which can lead to low win totals. However you know he is gonna start close to 65 games and will near 30-wins with good numbers. Rinne might not lead the Predators to a championship but he can lead your fantasy team to one.
Next in Line
Jimmy Howard is the workhorse for the offensively skilled but defensive minded Detroit Red Wings. That is a great situation for a goalie to play in. Losing Niklas Lidstrom hurt the Wings blue line last season but they are still a solid unit. Offensively, they added Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss to a forward corp that was already strong. Howard will play 60-plus games, win 30-plus while posting fantasy worthy numbers. Craig Anderson had a roller coaster of a year in 2012-13. He started the season 8-4-2 with a 1.47 GAA and a .952 SV% before spraining his ankle in mid-February. He missed the rest of February, all of March and the first week in April for a total of 19 games. When he returned he went 4-5-0 with a 2.02 GAA and .917 SV% which brought his totals to 1.69 and .941; he led the NHL in both categories. Had Anderson stayed healthy and maintained that pace all season he would have easily walked away with the Vezina Trophy. This year the Senators should be a playoff team again and Anderson should have another good year. Near 60-starts with a GAA in the low two’s and a SV% close to the top of the NHL are fair projections for the 32-year-old. With Corey Schneider being shipped to New Jersey at the NHL Draft, Roberto Luongo becomes the lead-dog in Vancouver for the first time in a few years. Schneider had a great year last year which led to Luongo essentially becoming the backup. Now back at the helm, Roberto will look to regain his old form early in the year as he looks to become Team Canada’s starter for the Sochi Olympics. He will get a ton of starts and wins this season on a good Canucks team. Luongo will find himself in the Top-10 in GAA and SV% by season’s end, but could even move back into the Top-5. Antti Niemi had a career year in the short season. He had winning percentage over .500 for the fourth straight season and career bests in GAA (2.16) and SV% (.924). While those numbers are good it is the shutouts that makes Niemi valuable. He had four last year (t-6th) and a total of 23 in his career. In each of his four years in the NHL, Niemi has ranked in the top-10 in shutouts. He will win 30-plus and will likely find himself near the top of the league in clean sheets yet again. Cam Ward started last year 9-6-1 with a 2.84 GAA and .908 SV% before suffering a third-degree MCL sprain. Ward missed the rest of the season and without him the Hurricanes missed the playoffs. Back at 100%, Ward will likely see upwards of 65 starts like he has throughout his time in Carolina. They should be a very competitive team this year, making Ward a solid fantasy option.
After the season Sergei Bobrovsky had last year, what can you expect in 2013-14? When he was in Philadelphia he showed he had some ability, but nobody saw a 21-11-6, 2.00 GAAA and .917, Vezina Trophy Winning season coming in Columbus. Even with the additions of Marian Gaborik and Nathan Horton it is still hard to picture the Blue Jackets as a playoff team. Bobrovsky’s situation warrants some scepticism, but he will be a workhorse and should post starter worthy numbers. In win-only leagues, Marc-Andre Fleury‘s rank should be bumped up a bit. Backstopping a dominant Penguins team will lead to a lot of victories for the 28-year-old. With Tomas Vokoun still in Pittsburgh, Fleury probably will not see 60-plus starts but he will still get to 30 wins no problem. His GAA has been in the 2.30-2.39 range for the last three seasons, so that is what you should expect from him in 2013-14. Carey Price opened the season 11-3-2 but slipped to 10-10-2 in the second half. Since his career year in 2010-11, Price has seen his numbers climb. He had a 2.59 GAA and .905 SV%, which are not elite numbers. Price is a low-end fantasy starter with upside. The 26-year-old could win 35 games with good numbers but he could just as easily have a 2.50 GAA and .905 SV% again. There are better options, but if you wait to grab your goalie, Price could payoff. The additions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter helped Niklas Backstrom to an NHL leading 24 wins. Although he had a high number of W’s, his GAA (2.48) and SV% (.909) were pedestrian. He will win a lot of games again but his career 2.43 GAA suggest there are better options than him. A few years ago Ryan Miller was a top-5 fantasy option, but we have seen his stock fall with the Sabres decline. In 2013-14, Miller is their only hope. He needs to steal a lot of games for them to be successful.However he will likely have a record under .500 with average GAA and SV% numbers.
Secondary Options – Projections
Mike Smith (PHX) – 28 Wins – 2.48 GAA – .913 SV%
Kari Lehtonen (DAL) – 30 Wins – 2.57 GAA – .914 SV%
Braden Holtby (WSH) – 30 Wins 2.49 GAA .918 SV%
Devan Dubnyk (EDM) – 25 Wins – 2.55 GAA – .920 SV%
Ondrej Pavelec (WPG) – 29 Wins – 2.72 GAA – 2.78 GAA – .909 SV%
Editors Note: If you have any questions or concerns about G’s that were not featured in this article, feel free to leave comments or tweet us @DailyFaceoff!