Line Change on the Fly: Quick Claims Top Spot

Updated: December 4, 2011 at 11:26 pm by Alexander Monaghan

‘Line Change on the Fly’ is the feature where we re-rank our current player rankings. This edition ranks starting goalies and their counterparts for the first time since the preseason. Feel free to go nuts in the comments.

Good day, fantasy hockey players. For the last couple of weeks we’ve heard clamoring over our current rankings. Well, chirp no longer as this list of starting goalies will be shortly amended to reflect this season’s progression. Keep in mind that these rankings are a mix of actual game play and how their counting stats stack up as we try to find the perfect blend.

Instead of ranking players in numbers, we will be assigning arbitrary numbers to each goalie. These numbers have nothing to do with auction drafts, they are simply to notate comparative value. Knowledgeable debate is more-than-encouraged; you may even be able to sway my vote in the future.

$32 Jonathan Quick
$30 Jimmy Howard
$30 Tim Thomas
$29 Henrik Lundqvist
$28 Marc-Andre Fleury

Quick gets the top seat in the League with his stellar play. Leading the League in shutouts while sporting a tidy .936 save percentage seals the deal for me. Combine those gaudy numbers with starting 21 of 26 games and you have yourself a keeper. Jimmy Howard and Tim Thomas make a close second as they figure to challenge for the Vezina Trophy. Atlantic Division stalwarts Henrik Lundqvist and Marc-Andre Fleury round out the top five but would likely rank higher if they didn’t play in that ultra-competitive bracket.

$26 Pekka Rinne
$25 Antti Niemi
$25 Carey Price
$25 Tomas Vokoun
$25 Roberto Luongo
$24 Ilya Bryzgalov
$23 Nikolai Khabibulin
$22 Mike Smith
$22 Brian Elliott
$22 Niklas Backstrom
$21 Corey Crawford
$20 Kari Lehtonen

Rinne just barely falls out of the top tier due to his inconsistent play — he’s allowed four-or-more goals in six starts and three goals in five of his last six. While I consider him elite, that showing is certainly far from a first or second round pick. From there are the holdover elite goalies — Roberto Luongo, Tomas Vokoun, Ilya Bryzgalov and Carey Price — whose teams are simply not playing up to their standards. If you own one of them, their track records should speak for themselves as they try to turn around their seasons. Brian Elliott deserves a good deal of love as he really has stepped up his game and has proven himself against top teams. Other surprises like Nikolai Khabibulin and Mike Smith get the nod over the inconsistent Corey Crawford and injured Kari Lehtonen.

$19 Ryan Miller
$17 James Reimer
$17 Jose Theodore
$17 Miikka Kiprusoff
$15 Cory Schneider
$15 Josh Harding
$15 Jonas Hiller

Miller’s value could be at an all-time low following his second concussion in two seasons. Keep in mind he is still the starting goalie who won the Vezina Trophy and who backstopped Team USA to an Olympic silver medal. Is he this generation’s Mike Richter? In other words, a goalie who could win but always battled through injures. Reimer, Theodore and Kiprusoff have all played very well and figure to help their teams stay in the playoff picture. They also start a lot. Harding and Schneider are the best handcuffs in the League right now and should be spot-started in most formats. Due to the recent coaching change, one would imagine Jonas Hiller starts picking up some wins.

$12 Craig Anderson
$11 Semyon Varlamov
$11 Cam Ward
$10 Johan Hedberg
$ 9 Al Montoya
$ 9 Curtis Sanford
$ 9 Jaroslav Halak
$ 7 Martin Brodeur
$ 7 Ondrej Pavelec

Anderson sits atop this tier due to his ability to win games. Then again, most starting goalies could get the W when their team puts across the seventh-most goals in the League. Varlamov and Ward should see their fair share of starts but won’t get too much help from their struggling teams. Same goes for Pavelec and even Martin Brodeur to a degree as Johan Hedberg has outplayed the Hall of Famer in what looks like his last year between the pipes. Sanford and Montoya play much better than their respective teams while Halak is a spot start due to the stingy defense in front of him.

$ 5 Tuukka Rask
$ 5 Sergei Bobrovsky
$ 5 Mathieu Garon
$ 5 Michal Neuvirth
$ 4 Andrew Raycroft
$ 4 Anders Lindback
$ 4 Jhonas Enroth

The final tier is comprised of capable and/or up-and-coming backups who could be worth a spot start or two. Raycroft currently holds the starting goalie position in Dallas with Lehtonen sidelined but he is likely interchangeable with any replacement veteran starter. Rask, Bobrovsky, Neuvirth and possibly Lindback have the potential to steal some starts from their counterparts so keep that in the back of your mind.

DROPABLES: Steve Mason, Jonas Gustavsson, Dwayne Roloson

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