We have broken the DailyFaceoff Top 300 into tiers, continuing with the goalies. Drafting a goalie can be tricky, you don’t want to reach too early but you also don’t want to be too late. Tiers will help make sure you’re not reaching. I’ve already looked at the first five tiers:
Previous Tiers Posts:
Lundqvist’s illustrious career is winding down but he may get a few more kicks at the can before he retires. The Rangers improved their roster dramatically this offseason and it sets up a bounce-back campaign for Lundqvist. Adding Jacob Trouba helps the blueline and both Artmei Panarin and Kaapo Kakko boosts the offence, all of which will help King Henrik.
Lundqvist will probably start around 55 games and should be a 25-game winner with improved splits. Expect something around a 2.85 GAA and .912 SV%, making him a low-end No.2 fantasy option.
If we were talking about pure ability, Gibson would have been in my first tiers post, but from a fantasy perspective, he is simply average. Playing behind a bad Ducks team finally showed up in Gibson’s numbers in 2019, as he had a 2.84 GAA (29th) and a .917 SV% (t-13th) but the worst since his rookie campaign. Anaheim did not improve in the offseason and should be among the worst teams in 2019-20. That limits Gibson’s fantasy value, no matter how good he is in “real life.”
Markstrom is just an average NHL goalie. He is t-27th in SV% (.912) and t-32nd (2.72) over the last four seasons but his workload makes him a low-end No.2 option. Markstrom should be looking at 60 starts and that will allow him to approach 30 wins, something he hasn’t done to this point.
There were high expectations for Raanta heading into 2019 but a lower-body injury cost him the final four months of the season. Overall, Raanta has quietly been one of the best goalies in the NHL in recent years, tying Ben Bishop for the league-lead with a .923 SV% since 2016. Darcy Kuemper had a tremendous finish to last year but this is Raanta’s job to lose and I doubt he loses it unless he gets hurt again. Raanta is a low-end No.2 option but has high-end upside if he starts 55 games.
Hutton had a great 2018 season before signing with Buffalo to be a full-time starter. Unsurprisingly, he struggled to a 3.00 GAA and .908 SV% in 50 games, but that was thanks to a horrid second-half. Before Christmas, Hutton had a 2.58 GAA and .917 SV%, which showcases that he could be a half-decent fantasy option. Hutton is probably backup quality, but he could start 60 games and there’s some value there. You’re probably best served considering him a No.3 fantasy netminder and you could get rewarded with No.2 results.
Like Gibson in Anaheim, Quick is a good goalie on a bad team. Quick’s game completely fell apart last year but it’s hard to simply write-off his .919 SV% from the previous four years. The Kings will be among the worst teams in the NHL and he’ll be splitting time with Jack Campbell, making him a low-end No.2/high-end No.3 in 2019-20.
Schneider is a prime bounce-back candidate but drafting him comes with big risk. He has Mackenzie Blackwood breathing down his neck and has a .907 SV% in his last 122 starts. Neither of those is good news, but he was once among the NHL’s elite and now that injuries are behind him, he has bounce-back potential on a completely revamped Devils squad.
Lehner had a terrific season with the Islanders, posting a 2.13 GAA and .930 SV% in a timeshare with Thomas Greiss. Even with a career-year, New York let him walk in free agency, where he landed in Chicago. He’ll be back in a timeshare, this time with Corey Crawford, and that limits his upside. Additionally, Lehner goes from a solid Barry Trotz coached defensive system to a Chicago team that gave up the second-most shots against last year. His splits are bound to take a hit, but Lehner should win 20 games with a solid SV%.
Rittich is going to get another opportunity to be the Flames No.1 netminder but he wasn’t able to seize it in 2019. However, you have to like his prospects heading into 2020. The Flames gave up the fewest shots against in the NHL last year while scoring the third-most goals. Both of those combined are a great combination for a fantasy goalie and it gives Rittich high-end No.2 upside. There’s also a scenario where he ends up in a timeshare with Cam Talbot and they both just average.
Mrazek was solid in his first year with the Hurricanes, posting a 2.39 GAA and .914 SV% in 40 games. He’ll once again be in a timeshare, but with James Reimer instead of Curtis McElhinney. The new, less talented backup, should lead to more starts for Mrazek. Playing behind a Hurricanes team that is dominant at 5v5 will make things easier on the netminders and gives Mrazek No.2 potential. He has a career .911 SV%, so if you don’t expect anything close to .920 you won’t get burned.
Varlamov takes over for Lehner in New York and will be sharing the crease with Greiss. Limiting his starts will likely be good news for Varlamov, who has had durability issues in the past. Lightning probably won’t strike twice for Trotz and the Islanders, but Varlamov should improve his 2.87 GAA and .909 SV% from last year, maybe even drastically. Still, just 40 starts for a non-playoff team doesn’t carry a ton of value.
Concussion issues have derailed a once-promising career for Crawford and splitting time with Lehner will be best for him. Lehner is probably the goalie to own in Chicago, but Crawford certainly has standalone value if he gets 40 starts. Crawford has a .917 SV% in his last 67 starts, so look for him to post something similar with around 20 wins.
Saros has ridiculous upside but it doesn’t look like he will start more than 30 games as long as Rinne is with the Predators. He has a small share of the starts, but this is a guy who is tied for fourth in SV% (.921) and eighth in GAA (2.49) over the last three years. He’ll be great in his 30 starts but his upside is capped while Rinne is healthy.
Since a strong rookie campaign (.920 SV%), Korpisalo has posted an .899 SV% in 59 games since. He enters the season with the shortest leash of any netminder in the NHL and has Elvis Merzlikins waiting in the wings. Korpisalo is a tremendously risky pick.
Smith moves from Calgary to Edmonton, where he’ll play for a familiar head coach, Dave Tippett. During his time under Tippett, Smith faced an average of 30.9 shots per game and posted a .916 SV%. Playing for Tippett should help, but the Oilers are a fringe playoff team, limiting Smith’s win totals in 2019-20. He didn’t play well in Calgary but should improve a bit this season and Mikko Koskinen likely won’t make a huge push for playing time.