In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll divide Eastern Conference goaltenders into tiers based on their fantasy hockey value. Keep in mind, there's a fair bit of subjectivity that goes into these tiers, so think of them more as a guide for your own thinking than rigid rankings that you should stick to.
Igor Shesterkin (New York Rangers) – Last year, Shesterkin had one of the greatest seasons we've ever seen from a goaltender. He posted a league-best .935 save percentage and 2.07 GAA, winning 36 of his 52 starts. He's an elite goalie on a very strong Rangers team. I think you can justify drafting him ahead of Vasilevskiy this year.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning) – Consistently elite goalie on a consistently elite team. When it comes to fantasy hockey, I would personally use a first-round pick on a forward because their output tends to be more predictable year-to-year than goaltenders. However, Vasilevskiy has been the closest thing to a 'reliable' fantasy hockey netminder that we've seen in recent years.
Frederik Andersen (Carolina Hurricanes) – There's certainly an argument for Andersen to be in tier one. He's a good goalie, who posted outstanding numbers last year, and benefits from playing behind a strong team. However, knee injuries have caused him to miss significant time in each of the last two seasons. In the past year, knee injuries have derailed the careers of two formerly elite goalies in Ben Bishop and Carey Price. Now, I know everyone's situation is different, and knee injuries come in different forms, but knee mobility is incredibly important to play in net effectively. Andersen deserves to be near the top of this list, but injury concerns prevent me from placing him any higher.
Ilya Sorokin (New York Islanders) – After dominating the KHL and playing well in his first (condensed) season of NHL action, Sorokin used his second year in the NHL to prove he's one of the league's top goaltenders. Among goalies who saw at least 10 starts, Sorokin's .925 save percentage (52 games) was beaten by only Igor Shesterkin (.935). The Islanders parting