Here are the Top 100 goalies to own in your keeper leagues – August edition!
Sorry not sorry. This is the first time my Top 100 list is untouched from the prior month. Sure, little tweaks were made outside the list – Eddie Lack retired (was far out of this list anyway), and further down the list prospect Justus Annunen (Colorado) is coming off a strong World Junior Summer Showcase, but not enough for me to move him any higher than he already was. So I left the list as is. I reviewed the comments from last month and for once there weren't any – so nothing brought to my attention to tweak and adjust. No huge protests. So if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
I did have someone protest Mackenzie Blackwood's low ranking on Twitter, and I took a closer look at that situation, but I'm sticking with my assessment for New Jersey. Cory Schneider was huge in the final month – back to his old self. From February 15 onward, 14 games, he was 6-6-2 with stellar 2.28 GAA and 0.927 SV% numbers. Going back to what Roberto Luongo said about hip surgery ("It takes two full years to recover"), to see Schneider post those kinds of numbers just 10 months later is very promising. Today, there isn't much question that Blackwood will be the future No.1 goalie for New Jersey. He's been very promising – a second-round draft pick who is 22 years old and posted a 0.918 SV% in 23 NHL games, as well as a solid 56.5% QS rate. But the Devils won't put $6 million on the bench. If Schneider has indeed come back, he will be given the starting job without reservation. The team owes him $18 million over the next three seasons and they have suffered through 18 months of his battling injuries. Now that he's apparently recovered and he gets a full summer of further rest – they're going take that time that was invested and flush it down the toilet? No chance. And with the Devils noticeably better this year, any warts in Schneider's game will be effectively covered off. As in – he could give up four goals, with two of them being softies, and the team would still win 5-4. The injury risk is certainly there, and I have accounted for that. If there was no injury risk, then Schneider would be a Tier 1 goalie right now and rank 12th or 15th instead of 29th, while Blackwood would fall to 50th. So those two stay put.
In fantasy hockey, because of the volatility of goaltenders, it's best to look at just two seasons ahead and no further. Sure, account for general upside when the player reaches his peak, but tune your focus just two seasons ahead. So much can change. The only goalies who are studs and look great beyond the two years – I have given them a Tier 0.
Look at the goalies in terms of Tiers. A goalie in the same tier as another goalie, has the same value. Don't overreach to get a different goalie in the same tier. I define the tiers, roughly, as follows:
Tier 0 – Elite 40-win goalies who are on strong teams and are going to be great fantasy assets for three or more years yet.
Tier 1 – Top goalies with a clear-cut hold on the top job, with lower injury risk, and a very strong shot at 35+ wins. Track record also helps here.
Tier 2 – This is a mixed bag of risk and reward. It could mean a top goalie who is on a terrible team and thus get his win totals held down. It could mean a good goalie on a great team, but he's in a shared goalie situation with another guy. It could mean a top goalie on a good team, but he has a high risk of injury. Or he is an aging goalie with a stud prospect coming up behind him (Schneider a great example here)
Tier 3 – This is for goalies in a shared situation, therefore limited upside for wins. Or this is a backup on a great team with the top goalie being injury prone. Or this is a top prospect finally making the team as a backup and the wait on him taking the top job is maybe a year (or sooner if top guy gets hurt)
Tier 4 – This could either indicate a clearcut backup who could take the top job because the top goalie is injury-prone, or this is a top prospect in the minors with minimal wait time. This could also be a veteran backup who has fallen out of favor in terms of fantasy value, but still has a chance of turning it around (Cam Talbot) Or somewhere in between.
Tier 5-7 – At this point it is varying levels of prospect talent and wait time. Higher talent and lower wait time pushes them into Tier 5, etc.
Go by Tiers – not by rankings.
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