To put it bluntly, this has not been a good season for your goalies.
With a couple of exceptions, many struggled this season, either with injuries, in a timeshare or they just plain sucked. We may wind up with only six netminders to start 60 games. For comparison, the last three full seasons before Covid, we had eight, nine and 11 goalies start a minimum of 60 games.
It’s enough to further the support for the zero-goalie strategy. While this strategy varies based on league settings, the number of teams, the number of goalie starts, etc., the basic premise is that you don’t take a netminder before a certain round. Normally, it’s round 10. The theory is that since the top goalies fluctuate from season to season, you’re better off using high picks on elite forwards and defensemen and waiting to select your first netminder.
That strategy can work, but it does involve luck and smart drafting. If you’re going to use this strategy, you need to be cognizant of the best goalies left on the board, and not necessarily shoot for the sexy, sleeper picks. On average, this season, you could have drafted Tristan Jarry or Sergei Bobrovsky in round 10 and Jacob Markstrom in round 11. That is how you win championships. Of course, you also could have drafted MacKenzie Blackwood in round 10 and Mike Smith or Jake Allen in round 11.
Below are the top goalies that were disappointing this year that may have cost you a chance at a championship.
10. John Gibson
Gibson and #9 have both been pretty awful this season, but Gibson is slightly higher on this list as he was drafted about nine rounds behind the next guy on this list. Their numbers are close to identical, but no one should be surprised about Gibson’s season. The Ducks goalie tends to start with a bunch of wins early in the season and then slow down as the season moves along, and this year was no exception. In the first month of the season, he was 9-2-2 with a 2.33 GAA and a 0.925 SV%. Since then (from November 17), he is 8-22-8 with a 3.48 GAA and a 0.896 SV%. For future years, it might be smarter to draft Gibson and sell high after a month.
9. Philipp Grubauer
The saga of Grubauer has made me, and probably many other fantasy GMs, a little wary. A year ago, Grubauer was part of a major trade in my points-only keeper league, with the hope he would re-sign in Colorado. Instead, he went to Seattle and somehow forgot how to tend net. His record of 16-29-5 is awful (the 29 wins are the worst in the league), and his 3.12 GAA and 0.891 SV% are significantly below league average. It’s this poor performance that made me a little gun shy on acquiring Darcy Kuemper when he was offered to me at the trade deadline in my points-only pool, and I wonder if others felt the same.
8. Mackenzie Blackwood
It’s definitely been an off-year for Blackwood. He came to training camp unvaccinated with no plans to take the jab, which put it in doubt whether he could play games in Canada. He wound up taking the vaccine, but has spent most of the season on the IR, appearing in only 23 games. As a whole, he has a record of 9-9-3 with two shutouts, a 3.29 GAA and a 0.894 SV%. He’s been dealing with heel injuries