Goaltending in fantasy hockey is the hardest thing to anticipate. There are rarely any locks when it comes to picking a good goaltender. For instance, Antti Niemi and Henrik Lundqvist were at the top of most preseason rankings for fantasy writers’ predictions, but both goaltenders haven’t fared as well as anticipated. Meanwhile, players like Ben Bishop, Josh Harding, Steve Mason, and Semyon Varlamov have all exceeded expectations.
On top of unexpected outcomes, one has to stay on top of injury news and take advantage of backup goalies who will become their team’s starter for awhile, like Ben Scrivens, Marek Mazanec, and Justin Peters. With all this being said, let’s take a look at some goaltenders who you should consider dropping.
For one, the play of Cam Ward has been horrible this season. With five wins in 16 games this season, Ward has a save percentage of .901 and a 3.04 GAA. Those numbers are pretty bad, especially when you consider the fact Peters has played in one more game and has produced a .929 save percentage and a 2.16 GAA. You won’t be alone if you drop Ward, as he is now only owned in 63.4 percent of ESPN leagues.
Along with Ward, it’s time to drop Scrivens. The goaltender seemed to have a nice run filling in for Jonathan Quick, but Martin Jones posted an impressive shutout streak and has seemed to grab the team’s role as the temporary starter. Also, Quick is expected to be coming back within a few weeks. Another backup-turned-temporary starter that should be dropped is Mazanec, as Carter Hutton has seen several starts lately. Mazanec hasn’t played in the team’s last three games.
The situations in New Jersey and Ottawa are becoming a pain for fantasy owners that own any of the four main goalies involved. In New Jersey, Martin Brodeur has only nine wins with a .905 save percentage and 2.31 GAA. As for Cory Schneider, he has an impressive 1.97 GAA, but has only been able to record four wins in 15 games.
In Ottawa, Craig Anderson has been disappointing for several fantasy owners, as he has a 3.37 GAA and a save percentage of .898. Robin Lehner has better numbers than Anderson, but he has only played in four of his team’s last eight games and has posted save percentages of below .900 in three of those performances.
As for goalies to pick up, there are several noteworthy temporary fixes for your fantasy crease. The easiest acquisition would be Antti Raanta. He may have had a rough outing on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but Raanta has won four of his last five games and has posted a save percentage of .923 or better in six of his last seven games. He is owned in 92.5 percent of ESPN leagues.
An even more temporary fix is Jones of the Los Angeles Kings. There is no telling exactly how much longer Jones has in the Kings’ blue paint, but he can at least help you for a week or two. Jones has won all five games he has appeared in this season, as he has allowed a total of five goals against and has posted two shutouts. With a save percentage of .967, Jones is worth a look, as he is owned in 80.2 percent of ESPN leagues.
In St. Louis, Brian Elliott has been getting a lot of work as of late, as he has won two of the Blues’ last four games while playing in three of them. He is expected to start tonight and is owned in 30.9 percent of ESPN leagues. Elliott may not have the best numbers, but playing behind St. Louis and their defense, the goaltender will most likely lock up a few wins.
TEAMS WITH BACK-TO-BACKS THIS WEEK
Anaheim Ducks – @ New Jersey Devils on Friday and @ New York Islanders on Saturday.
Carolina Hurricanes – Hosting the Washington Capitals on Friday and @ Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Colorado Avalanche – Hosting the Dallas Stars tonight and @ Dallas Stars tomorrow.
Dallas Stars – @ Colorado Avalanche tonight and hosting the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow.
Florida Panthers – @ Ottawa Senators on Thursday and @ Winnipeg Jets on Friday.
New Jersey Devils – Hosting the Anaheim Ducks on Friday and @ Washington Capitals on Saturday.
New York Islanders – @ New York Rangers on Friday and hosting Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
Ottawa Senators – @ New Jersey Devils on Wednesday and hosting the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
Pittsburgh Penguins – @ New York Rangers on Wednesday and hosting the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
St. Louis Blues – @ Ottawa Senators tonight and hosting the San Jose Sharks tomorrow.
Toronto Maple Leafs – @ Pittsburgh Penguins tonight and hosting the Florida Panthers tomorrow.
Vancouver Canucks – @ Dallas Stars on Thursday night and @ Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
Winnipeg Jets – @ Columbus Blue Jackets tonight and @ Buffalo Sabres tomorrow.
Washington Capitals – @ Carolina Hurricanes on Friday and hosting the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
LEAGUE LEADERS WHO AREN’T 100 PERCENT OWNED
Goals: Forward – Vladimir Tarasenko (STL, 45.8% owned), Tied for 35th among forwards with 11. Defenseman – Michael Stone (PHX, 7.5% owned), Tied for third among defensemen with seven.
Assists: Forward – David Legwand (NSH, 17.9% owned), Tied for 20th among forwards with 18. Defenseman - Cody Franson (TOR, 99.8% owned), Tied for 17th with 14.
Plus/Minus: Forward – Rob Klinkhammer ( PHX, 1.9% owned), Tied for fifth among forwards with plus-14. Defenseman – Erik Johnson (COL, 85.4% owned), first among defenseman.
PIMs: Forward – Derek Dorsett (NYR, 2.1% owned), first in NHL with 101.
Defenseman – Matt Carkner (NYI, 0.4% owned), first among defenseman with 75.
Power-Play Points: Forward – Derek Roy (STL, 18.6% owned), Tied for 12th among forwards with 12. Defenseman – Cody Franson (TOR, 99.8% owned), tied for second among defenseman with 12.
Average TOI: Forward – Travis Zajac (NJD, 14.4% owned), 29th among forwards with 20:00. Defenseman – Andrew MacDonald (NYI, 72.5% owned), tied for sixth with 26:15.
Shots on Goal: Forward – Chris Higgins (VAN, 91.2% owned), 13th among forwards with 111. Defenseman – Dan Hamhuis (VAN, 97.9% owned), Tied for 16th among defenseman with 69.
Goalie Wins: Corey Crawford (CHI, 98.0% owned), Tied for second with 17
Save Percentage: Martin Jones (LAK, 80.2% owned), second with .967