Fantasy Focus: Top Goalies 2019-20

The 2019-20 NHL season is fast approaching, meaning there is only so much time to complete your fantasy hockey draft. If your league includes goalies then it is important to go into the draft with a plan of attack. Who should you take and when should you take them are vital parts of any potential draft.

Related: 2019-20 NHL Fantasy Guide

Goalies take on varying levels of importance depending on your league’s settings. For the sake of uniformity, we will assume that goalies will play a role of significant importance on your team and your team will feature two goalie slots. Here are the top 30 fantasy hockey goaltenders.

1. Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB)

The top spot on this list is realistically a coin flip between two players. Andrei Vasilevskiy and Ben Bishop could both occupy the top spot but Vasilevskiy will take it for a couple of reasons. First, he is likely going to start more games than Bishop. Whether your league counts games started or wins as categories or not, it is usually better if your goalie plays more games.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Vasilevskiy also plays for a better team. The Tampa Bay Lightning had the best record in the NHL last season and appear ready to attempt to repeat that feat. With a stellar team in front of him, Vasilevskiy should allow less goals and get more wins than his peers. If you want a high end goalie, look no further than the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.

2. Ben Bishop (DAL)

The other half of that equation is Dallas Stars netminder Ben Bishop. Bishop had an amazing season in 2018-19, finishing in second place in Vezina Trophy voting. His stats speak for themselves. In his second season in Dallas, Bishop reasserted himself as one of the league’s top goaltenders.

Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop
Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The only issue with Bishop is that he and Anton Khudobin are a tandem. Bishop started only 45 games last year with Khudobin starting the remaining 37. Playing time does play a factor in his ranking but Bishop is still an elite goalie and will be the star of your team between the pipes.

3. Sergei Bobrovsky (FLA)

There are a lot of question marks surrounding Sergei Bobrovsky as the 2019-20 season approaches. He recently signed a very lucrative deal to play for the Florida Panthers, a team that has struggled to put much of anything together in recent years. His strong play may push Florida over the hump but it still leaves questions.

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky
Former Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Bobrovsky played an astonishing 62 games last season. It is currently unclear whether head coach Joel Quenneville will ride his starter to that degree. Bobrovsky is still an elite goalie so there is no doubt he should be drafted early, but the amount of games he plays and Florida’s performance in front of him will determine just how valuable a fantasy player he will be.

4. Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK)

After losing the starting job in Pittsburgh and spending a good chunk of the 2017-18 season on the injured reserve, Marc-Andre Fleury returned to prominence last season. He played in 61 games and posted a very sturdy .913 save percentage. The Vegas Golden Knights are a solid team that are blessed with one of the best goalies in the league. Your fantasy team could share the same fortunes.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights
Marc-Andre Fleury has exceeded expectations over his career. (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

Fleury is getting to the age where he could start to slow down. He will turn 35 in November. He has not shown signs of decline but these things can not always be seen coming. The reward far outweighs the risk in this situation and Fleury would be a terrific first option for your team. He should go in the second or third round so hopefully you will have picked up a pair of goal scorers before you go for a goalie.

5. Frederik Andersen (TOR)

The Toronto Maple Leafs defence appears to be slightly better as they head into the 2019-20 season. The addition of Tyson Barrie should make things easier on Frederik Andersen who has played a staggering amount of games in each of the last three seasons. Aside from a rough stretch here and there, Andersen is as consistent as they come.

Toronto Maple Leafs Frederik Andersen
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

He had back-to-back seasons with a .918 save percentage in 2016-17 and 2017-18 before posting a .917 save percentage in 2018-19. Pretty reliable. It would be wise for the Maple Leafs to rest Andersen more often than they have been but head coach Mike Babcock has shown himself to be quite stubborn when it comes to making changing such as this. Expect Andersen to still play a ton of games this season and expect a very good stat-line as well.

6. Carey Price (MTL)

When Carey Price is on he is maybe the best goalie in the league. The problem is that he has battled injuries in recent years, causing him to miss substantial time. He managed to play a full season last year so he should be drafted high but it worth having another good goalie on your team in case an injury occurs.

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Montreal Canadiens have not been great that last few years. They surpassed expectations last season but still failed to make the playoffs. They then made no significant changes to their team in the offseason while other teams in the Eastern Conference improved their rosters. Do not expect the Canadiens to do much better than last year so do not expect Price to have an easier time in net. Expect a lot of games started but not a ton of wins.

7. Pekka Rinne (NSH)

Pekka Rinne is about as solid as it gets for a goaltender. He plays a good amount of games every year, his save percentage is steady and reliable, he plays for a good team, and he has name value for possible fantasy trades. He should go in the third or fourth round area and should be excellent value for his draft position.

Pekka Rinne
Pekka Rinne (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)

The only risk is his age. He will turn 37 in November so it may be safer to take a younger goalie in his place, especially if you are entering into a keeper league. Much like Fleury, he has not shown signs of slowing down but you never know when these things may start.

8. Tuukka Rask (BOS)

The Boston Bruins continue to be one of the most consistent teams in the NHL. They routinely finish near the top of the Eastern Conference and that is due in no small part to their goalie Tuukka Rask. Rask may not blow people away during the regular season like some of his peers, but he has the ability to post very fantasy-friendly stats. Stats that could help your team.

Tuukka Rask Bruins
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins, Dec. 2, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Rask has averaged a .915 save percentage over his last four seasons. Not mind-blowing but still very solid. He would be a welcome addition to any fantasy team as he has not had anything close to a bad season in his career. Rask is very safe but avoid picking him above the goalies listed above.

9. John Gibson (ANA)

The Anaheim Ducks have been up and down the last few seasons. They failed to make the playoffs last year but that did not negate the performance of John Gibson. Gibson has been one of the league’s most reliable goalies since becoming a league regular in 2015-16.

John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks, NHL
Gibson’s numbers in 2016-17 suggest he can be a starting goalie at the NHL level. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

He has a career save percentage of .921 and he plays a healthy amount of games. He may not play for a very good team and that does take a hit on his fantasy value, but he makes up for it as much as possible. As we approach the end of the high-end section of this list, Gibson could be one of the last chances you get to draft a great goalie. If you do not have a goalie by this point I strongly recommend picking him up.

10. Jordan Binnington (STL)

The rookie sensation that helped lead the St. Louis Blues to the Stanley Cup last year rounds out our top ten. Jordan Binnington had an incredible rookie campaign but his real test will be repeating that success in his sophomore season. In 30 games started, Binnington won 24 games including five shutouts. Had he played the entire season that would look like a 48 win effort.

St. Louis Blues Jordan Binnington
St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Tom Gannam)

It is difficult to predict what a rookie goaltender will do in their second season. Teams should be prepared for him this season but if he is going to be one of the NHL’s elite he will find a way to adapt. We have seen what he is capable of, now it is just a matter of if he can sustain it. Binnington could be a great mid-round pickup or he could be a bust. Personally, I am leaning towards a great mid-round pickup.

11. Braden Holtby (WSH)

Braden Holtby’s stock has fallen from where it was just a couple of seasons ago. From 2014-15 to 2016-17 Holtby was arguably the best goalie in the NHL. He averaged a .923 save percentage in those three seasons and won the Vezina Trophy in 2015-16. Since then, he has become far more average. In his last two seasons, Holtby has posted .907 and .911 save percentages respectively. He is not even close to the juggernaut in net that he was, but he still plays a lot of games for a very good team. He may not be elite, but he will get you where you need to go.

12. Matt Murray (PIT)

Matt Murray has been inconsistent since taking over from Marc-Andre Fleury as the Pittsburgh Penguins starting goalie. While it should not be argued that going with the much younger option was a smart move at the time for Pittsburgh, Fleury has remained more successful than his counterpart. Having started 50 games last season, Murray should be in line for a similar number of games played, making him a solid option for a mid-round pickup.

Pittsburgh Penguins Matt Murray
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

13. Connor Hellebuyck (WPG)

Connor Hellebuyck had a stellar campaign in the 2017-18 season, finishing second in Vezina Trophy voting. He amassed 44 wins in 67 games played and led the Winnipeg Jets to their best season since relocating. His performance last season was not as inspiring. He posted a much more average .913 save percentage and took a step backwards. Last year he would have placed much higher on this list but now it is hard to know exactly what you are going to get with him.

14. Philipp Grubauer (COL)

Philipp Grubauer split time last season with Semyon Varlamov on the Colorado Avalanche. He performed well enough but he only started 33 games. Now with Varlamov elsewhere, Grubauer will have the opportunity to step up and take hold of the starting job in Colorado. He has shown he has the ability to play at a high level but now we will see if he can do it as a starter. This one is a risk so draft with caution.

15. Carter Hart (PHI)

The Philadelphia Flyers set an NHL record last season by using eight different goalies in a season. It took a number of tries but it appears that 21-year-old Carter Hart should be the answer to the Flyers goaltending woes. Hart started 30 games last season, winning 16 of them on a below-average team. I would not recommend drafting Hart with the intention of him being your number one goalie but he should be a very good second option.

Carter Hart Philadelphia Flyers
Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

16. Martin Jones (SJ)

Martin Jones had an astonishingly bad season in 2018-19. In 62 games started, he posted a whopping .896 save percentage. That was on a San Jose Sharks team that was the favourite to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the season. Things obviously went very wrong for Jones last season, but he was still able to help his team reach the Western Conference Final. He has had good seasons so we won’t completely write him off but be wary if you are considering drafting him.

17. Semyon Varlamov (NYI)

The former Avalanche goalie signed a contract to play for the New York Islanders this season. Semyon Varlamov will presumably split the workload with fellow netminder Thomas Greiss. Greiss and Robin Lehner each took about half of the games last season and it would make sense to expect Varlamov to see similar production this season. The limited games should hold some people back even if his numbers are good. You may want to look for a goalie with a little more ice time.

18. David Rittich (CGY)

With Mike Smith now gone, the Calgary Flames are David Rittich’s team to lose. He put up a solid .911 save percentage last season where he took on half of the games for the Flames. He should face the majority of the team’s workload in 2019-20. It will be a test for him but it is not out of the realm of possibility that Rittich excels in his expanded role. He could be a late-round steal if he pans out. The Flames should still be a good team so this would be a good pick up.

David Rittich Calgary Flames
David Rittich, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

19. Devan Dubnyk (MIN)

No one played more games as a goalie last season than Devan Dubnyk. Appearing in 67 games for the Minnesota Wild in 2018-19, Dubnyk had a decent season. His .913 save percentage was the highlight of his season as the Wild proved to not be a very good team. It is difficult for good goalies on bad teams to climb these rankings but Dubnyk will be a solid choice for your fantasy team as long as the Wild are not the absolute bottom of the barrel.

20. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR)

The New York Rangers pulled off a crazy turn of events that took them from the rebuilding phase to the contending phase in one season. Winning a draft lottery and signing Artemi Panarin have put the Rangers in a position to succeed this season. Henrik Lundqvist is in an interesting position. He is 37 years old and appears to be declining each year. If the team was not contending this would be less of an issue but if he fails to produce he could be forced into a backup role. It is a risk to pick King Henrik but if you have a goalie or two already then go for it.

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

21. Petr Mrazek (CAR)

The Carolina Hurricanes are going into the 2019-20 season with a goalie tandem of Petr Mrazek and James Reimer. Both players have played in starting roles in the past but it is more likely that they split the workload evenly between them. Mrazek had a decent season in 2018-19, posting a .914 save percentage in 40 games. Similar production can be expected this season so if you are in a position where that checks your boxes then Mrazek should be a late-round addition you can grab.

22. Jacob Markstrom (VAN)

Jacob Markstrom started 60 games last season and if a lot of games played is what you are looking for then he is your man. The Vancouver Canucks still do not look like they are going to be a very good hockey team, but the emergence of young players should give them hope for the future. That does not do much for Markstrom this season but he should still put up decent numbers. He also should go in the later rounds so look for him to be a good source of saves and games played.

23. Corey Crawford (CHI)

This one is a big question mark. There is less risk associated with guys going in late rounds so do not feel like picking Corey Crawford is going to make or break your draft. Crawford has dealt with severe concussion symptoms in the last two seasons, which has limited his playing time. He appears to be ready to return to the ice this season but it remains to be seen if he will be in his elite form. It probably will be at least a step back from elite but it may be worth the long shot if Crawford works out.

Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks, Nov. 9, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

24. Jonathan Quick (LA)

Jonathan Quick had by far the worst season of his career in 2018-19. The Los Angeles Kings crumbled around him, saddled with contracts of older players. The team did poorly and Quick suffered as a result. He posted a .888 save percentage in 46 games. The Kings do not appear to be much better than they were last season but it is not unrealistic to expect Quick to do better. He is still Jonathan Quick after all.

25. Darcy Kuemper (ARI)

I don’t think many people were betting on Darcy Kuemper to finish in fifth place in Vezina Trophy voting last season but it happened. His career year helped push the Arizona Coyotes to within just a few points of a playoff spot. He put up a .925 save percentage in 55 games last season. An outstanding performance. The Coyotes appear to be an even better team than last season with the addition of Phil Kessel, so it is possible that Kuemper could repeat his performance from 2018-19. A late-rounder that could be the steal of the draft.

goaltender Darcy Kuemper
Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

26. Antti Raanta (ARI)

The Arizona Coyotes other goalie is Antti Raanta. Raanta may not have had the season that Kuemper had but he still has good seasons under his belt. His 2017-18 performance was his career-best, posting a .930 save percentage in 47 games played. He did not live up to those standards last season but he could still bring value to your fantasy team as a third goalie.

27. Cory Schneider (NJ)

Cory Schneider is far removed from his peak with the New Jersey Devils. His save percentage has not been great in each of the last three seasons and he could easily end up losing his position to Mackenzie Blackwood. The Devils should be a good team this season with the additions of Jack Hughes and P.K. Subban, but there is no guarantee that Schneider will bounce back. It is a risk so plan accordingly.

28. Thomas Greiss (NYI)

Last year Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss made up one of the best goalie tandems in the NHL. The problem with that is that tandems make it difficult for either player to gain fantasy value. Less playing time means fewer points for you. With Semyon Varlamov coming aboard the New York Islanders it should be expected that Greiss will see a similar level of production this season. Playing 40 games may be fine for a third goalie so just make sure that is his role on your team.

Thomas Greiss
Thomas Greiss (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

29. Jimmy Howard (DET)

The Detroit Red Wings have been in limbo for the last couple of seasons. They are no longer competitive but they have not gone into a full-blown rebuild as the Rangers did. Jimmy Howard is still producing on the lacklustre Red Wings team, quietly putting up decent numbers. They are not stellar but Howard should play plenty of games and win a fair few of them. Not a shabby option for a late-round pick but try to have your goalies picked by then.

30. Robin Lehner (CHI)

Robin Lehner is a difficult one to place. He finished in third place in Vezina Trophy voting last season with the Islanders before signing a one-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. Lehner’s play last season was outstanding but there are a few things to consider. First, he was part of the aforementioned tandem with Greiss, limiting his playing time. Second, he had struggled both on and off the ice in the seasons that came before. Finally, he is joining the Blackhawks who could already have a starting goalie if Crawford returns to form. Lehner could be a fantastic pickup but a number of things would have to go his way for it to work out for your team.

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