These tier posts breakdown our positional rankings to help you better understand who you should be targeting in your fantasy draft and when you should be going after them. Here are our top goalies for the 2018-19 season, tiers 4-6. You can find the rest of our positional tiers here:
- Centre, Tiers 1-5
- Centre, Tiers 6-9
- Right Wing, Tiers 1-5
- Right Wing, Tiers 6-9
- Left Wing, Tiers 1-5
- Left Wing, Tiers 6-9
- Defense, Tiers 1-5
- Goalie, Tiers 1-3
Cory Schneider (NJD), Cam Talbot (EDM), Jake Allen (STL), Antti Raanta (ARI), Roberto Luongo (FLA) , Mike Smith (CGY)
This is an interesting tier. Each goalie has had great seasons in the past and each plays for a team that is capable of making some noise this season—the Coyotes may not make a lot of noise, but they should be improved.
During his five seasons with the Devils, Schneider has not topped 27 wins, but has posted a 2.41 GAA and .917 SV% over that stretch. His last two seasons have not been as impressive as the first three, however the Devils will look to take another step forward in 2019 and Schneider should reap the benefits.
After a 73-start, 42-win season in 2017, Talbot struggled to a 31-31-3 record with a 3.02 GAA and .908 SV% last year. Regardless, Talbot plays on an Oilers team that can’t be as bad as they were last season and he should bounce-back in 2019. He might not be the No.1 fantasy netminder he appeared to be in 2017, but he is capable of posting high-end No.2 numbers.
Since taking over a heavier workload in St. Louis two years ago, Allen 15th among qualified netminders in GAA (2.58) and 33rd in SV% (.910). The Blues are a hot pick to win the Stanley Cup this season thanks to the additions of Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak, David Perron, Patrick Marron and the return of Robby Fabbri. That should help Allen’s win totals, but he will likely continue to post modest splits.
Raanta was one of the best goalies in the NHL in the second half of last season. After January 1st, he wet 16-7-4 with a 1.92 GAA, .939 SV% and three shutouts. The Coyotes should be better, but not great. His win total likely won’t be good enough to get him into the top-10 of fantasy netminders. However, he should steal games for Arizona and post strong enough splits to be a low-end No.1/high-end No.2 this season.
Luongo continues to post solid splits, but durability has become a concern. During the last two seasons he is tied for seventh among qualified netminders in SV% (.922) and 16th in GAA (2.58), but has averaged just 36 starts per season. He’ll need to start 50-plus games to be a high-end No.2 netminder, but it’s not out of the question.
Smith provided some much-needed stability in the Flames’ crease last season. He started 55-plus games for the fourth time in five seasons and will continue to see a heavy workload in 2019. Smith’s career 2.70 GAA and .913 SV% showcases that he won’t post elite splits, but with a lot of goal-support and a strong blueline in front of him, he will win a lot of games.
Henrik Lundqvist (NYR), Brian Elliott (PHI), Semyon Varlamov (COL), Carter Hutton (BUF)
Lundqvist is trending down and the Rangers are going to be one of the worst teams in the NHL this season. Lundqvist enters his age-36 season and is tied for 27th in the NHL in SV% (.913) and 40th/50 qualified goalies in GAA (2.87) over the last two seasons. He’s no longer an elite fantasy goalie. King Henrik will be more of a low-end No.2 option in 2019.
Elliott will never be a great fantasy option because he doesn’t play enough games. However, he gets the job done when he starts, winning a lot of games with decent splits. The Flyers look like a team to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference, so Elliott could approach 30 wins.
You never know what to expect from year-to-year with Varlamov. It’s not really a bad thing though. From a fantasy perspective, he typically drops down draft boards because of his inconsistency and it makes him a steal when he has a good season. The team in front of him continues to get better, but he will have a ton of competition for starts this season following the offseason acquisition of Philipp Grubauer.
Hutton shockingly led the entire NHL in GAA (2.09) and SV% (.931) last season and signed a deal to be the Sabres’ starter this summer. The move will definitely hurt his splits, but he should see 55-plus starts and 25-plus wins as a first-time starter. He will be closer to last year’s Raanta than last year’s Scott Darling.
Juuse Saros (NSH), Philipp Grubauer (COL), Jacob Markstrom (VAN), Michal Neuvirth (PHI), Robin Lehner (NYI), James Reimer (FLA), Craig Anderson (OTT)
Eventually Saros will be the Predators No.1 netminder, but for now he remains behind Pekka Rinne. Despite being their No.2, Saros saw a decent workload each of the last two seasons and should be the first backup goalie drafted in 2019. He is nearly guaranteed for 20-to-25 starts even if Rinne is healthy and he showed last year that he can win games. Saros was ninth in the league in SV% (.925) and 13th in GAA (2.45). If you can handcuff Rinne with Saros and draft another mid-to-low-end No.2 option, you’ll be set in goal for 2019.
Grubauer heads to Colorado after three years as the Capitals backup. Over that time, he is tied with Raanta and Hutton for the best GAA (2.25) in the NHL and is tied for third in SV% (.923). He has been one of the best backups in the league and will challenge the often injury Varlamov for starts in 2019. Handcuffing Varlamov is a smart idea, but Grubauer will have standalone value in daily leagues.
The Canucks might be a little bit better in 2019, but they will still be near the bottom of the league table. Markstrom has been consistent but unspectacular throughout his three seasons in Vancouver. Over that stretch he has registered a 2.70 GAA and .912 SV% in 119 games. Expect similar numbers with limited upside for this low-end No.2/high-end No.3 fantasy netminder.
Like Elliott, Neuvirth will have some value this season because the Flyers should be a strong team. Neuvirth bounced back from a bad 2017 season to post a 2.60 GAA and .915 SV% last year, but was limited due to injuries. He should start more than the average backup, so he should come off the board after most of the starters are picked through.
Lehner was solid during his three years in Buffalo, posting a 2.77 GAA and .916 SV% in 133 games. However, the offseason move to New York will only hurt his fantasy value . The Islanders gave up more shots than any team in the NHL last season and Lehner’s splits will suffer if that continues int 2019. The 27-year-old will start 50-plus games, but his modest win totals may not make him worth the ugly GAA and SV% he will return.