Preseason Rankings of NHL Goaltenders
As I entered my first-ever NHL fantasy hockey contest, I noticed that the top salary cap allotments were for goalies. That’s natural enough, because hockey goalies are pivotal to a team’s success. They are the only player on the ice the entire match, and they pile up more stats than most players. Also, when a goalie stands on his head, he can single-handedly will his squad to victory.
For Americans who are new to hockey, but who’ve grown up playing and watching baseball, compare the hockey goalie to a baseball pitcher. When a pitcher is at the top of his game, it doesn’t matter how good the other team is or how much of a mismatch the game should normally be, that pitcher can simply shut down the opponent. Pitching cancels out all (or most) weaknesses, if the pitching is good enough. Good pitching beats good hitting, as the old saying goes.
Sure, you need one run or one goal, so it’s not the end-all, be-all of baseball, but pitching is pretty close. The same can be said for goalies. When they are stoning the competition, it’s almost impossible to beat that hockey team. Of course, that doesn’t always happen.
For US fantasy hockey owners wanting a contrast between the two positions, the hockey goalie is even MORE important in a player series than a pitcher is in the playoffs. A pitcher might throw in 3 out of the 7 games in a series. A goalie is in there, night-in and night-out, for all seven matches (if needed). Imagine if Madison Bumgarner could pitch every single game and that’s how important goalies are in an NHL series.
2014-2015 Fantasy NHL Goalie Rankings
Of course, we’re talking about regular season hockey. To research the state of goalkeeping in the NHL, I found a preseason fantasy goalies list for the 2014-2015 season. While these don’t matter so much once the season gets underway, it’s important to look back at these as a reference point. That helps you gauge whether a player might return to their natural place in the rankings, or just how disappointing (or surprisingly good) their season has been.
Fantasy Goalies Ranked for the 2014 NHL Season
1. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
2. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Islanders
3. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
4. Jonathan Quick, L.A. Kings
5. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning
6. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
7. Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars
8. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
9. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Bluejackets
10. Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche
11. Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils
12. Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs
13. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
14. Ryan Miller, Vancouver Canucks
15. Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks (Key Backup: Tony Grosenick)
16. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
17. Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues
18. Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers
19. Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes
20. Anton Khudobin, Carolina Hurricanes
21. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
22. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
23. Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders
23. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators
24. Jonas Miller, Calgary Flames
26. Frederik Andersen, Anaheim Ducks
27. Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets
28. Ben Scrivens, Edmonton Oilers
29. Darcy Kuemper, Minnesota Wild
30. Michael Neuvirth, Buffalo Sabres
Again, this is not the ultimate guide to fantasy hockey netminders in the 2014-2015 NHL season. It is a reference guide to the list of the top goaltenders, as they were perceived throughout the season. The longer a season goes, the less importance you should view such a list. Right now, this early in the season, you should keep an eye on the preseason rankings as a reference point. Good luck on your one-day hockey contests.