Goaltenders are easily the most important position in fantasy hockey. You can dress 10 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies, and no matter how good your forwards and defensemen are, you could still be losing your matchup week after week if your netminders are weak.
A month into this season, and we’ve already seen quite a few disappointments. Not all goalies can be studs, and those that are can struggle. The goalie position is the least consistent position in fantasy hockey, as an elite fantasy option one year can be one of the worst the following.
Of course, much of the disappointment comes from where you drafted a goalie and what you expected.
Below are 10 netminders who have been disappointing so far this season.
10. Juuse Saros
Every season, it feels as if Saros owners are ready to anoint the Preds goalie as the next big thing (or at worst, in a timeshare), and yet it never happens. This year is no exception, and it looks less likely he will be the next big thing this issue as he has struggled while Pekka Rinne has been dynamite. Saros was just one win in four games to go along with an 0.884 SV % and a 3.62 GAA. He may already be rebounding slightly, allowing only two goals in each of his last two games, but it’s tough to have Saros taking up a fantasy roster spot when he’s not getting enough starts.
There was lots of hope that Merzlikins could be the Blue Jackets goalie of the future, and also some hope that the future would start this season. However, that hope hasn’t come close to happening. Merzlikins has played in just four games, started three and hasn’t looked good in any of those starts, allowing at least three goals in each one. Instead, the Jackets are leaning on Joonas Korpisalo, who hasn’t been that great either. It seems as if the Jackets want to rely more on the veteran they know rather than the rookie they don’t.
8. Devan Dubnyk
Dubnyk is 2-6-1 with an .883 SV % and a 3.68 GAA. When Yahoo first launched its 2019-20 fantasy hockey platform, it projected Dubnyk to finish with 44 wins. There was no way he was going to hit that mark, and the projections were later reduced into the low 30s. It appears as if he’ll struggle to reach 25 wins, which isn’t great for anyone who drafted Dubnyk hoping that he would be a good option as a second netminder. Remember, Dubnyk was drafted ahead of Semyon Varlamov, Petr Mrazek, Robin Lehner and David Rittich. Dubnyk and the Wild have been awful this year, and it doesn’t look like any of that will change soon.
Both Devils goalies have been brutal, so I am combining them in one spot. Blackwood is 3-2-0 with a .878 SV % and 3.19 GAA. Schneider has been even worse, winless in five games with a .847 SV % and a 4.71 GAA. Overall, the team’s 3.92 goals against per game is the second-worst in the league, trailing only Los Angeles. Schneider hasn’t been fantasy relevant for a few seasons, but there could be hope that the rookie Blackwood will be the goalie of the future in New Jersey.
6. Martin Jones
I think this is the beginning of the end of Martin Jones as a starter in San Jose. However, the Sharks may need to make a trade to stop starting Jones as backup Aaron Dell has also been brutal. Right now, Jones has a 2-7-1 record with a 3.52 GAA and a 0.887 SV %. Instead of contending for first in the division, they’re contenders for first overall lottery pick as they are tied for 30th in the league in points. At least in previous years, you could rely on Jones for wins, but you can’t even count on that anymore. You simply can’t trust to start him anymore.
On the bright side, Andersen is picking up wins, but his underlying numbers are not helping anyone in leagues that count more than victories. His seven wins in 11 games are awesome, but his 3.00 GAA and .904 SV % are not. However, before you freak out about those numbers, remember that he is normally a slow starter with Toronto. In his first 11 games in 2017-18, he had a 6-5-0 record with a .896 SV % and 3.47 GAA. In his first 11 games in 2016-17, he was 5-3-3 with a .897 SV % and a 3.41 GAA. Last year was the only exception, but we’ve been here before with Andersen. You just need to be patient.
4. Carter Hart
There was a lot of hope that Hart was finally the solution to the Flyers’ long-time goaltending issues, but it appears as if there is still some waiting time. Carter’s numbers this year have been atrocious, with a 3-3-1 record to go along with a 3.23 GAA and a .867 SV %, and only two quality starts in his eight games. Like most of the other Flyers, I’m willing to cut Hart a little slack as they’ve had a brutal schedule to start the season (a home opener overseas followed by a West Coast road trip).
Is Holtby one of the greatest overrated fantasy goalies ever? Each season, it feels as if he is drafted much higher than he should be even though he won’t give you much outside of wins. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, 38 goalies have played at least 75 games. Holtby is 11th in games at 124 and seventh in wins with 72, but tied for 29th in shutouts with three, 28th in save percentage with .908 and 30th in goals against average with 2.94. It’s a conundrum at the draft table: Do you select Holtby because of his win total while sacrificing other categories, or would you rather have another goalie that will give you fewer wins but better all-around stats? It will be interesting to see what happens with Holtby as the season progresses, as backup Ilya Samsonov is putting up better numbers and Holtby is a free agent next summer. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Samsonov pilfering some starts.
A few weeks back, Bobrovsky was on my list of the top 10 buy-low candidates, and time may be running out if you were waiting to trade for him. It’s been well documented how slow a starter Bobrovsky has been, as he has a career October record of 34-32-4 with a 2.93 GAA and .903 SV %. Then in November, he rebounds with a 49-22-8 record, 2.24 GAA and .925 SV %. So far this year, he has a 6-2-3 record to go with a 3.36 GAA and .882 SV %. Note that his one game in November this year was a 22-save shutout against Detroit on Saturday night.
His numbers may not be as bad as most of the others on this list, but you need to remember that Vasilevskiy was chosen in the first round in many pools, and most often the first goalie selected. That makes his 5-4-0 record with a 3.12 GAA and .904 SV % simply not good enough. Tampa Bay is too good a team to keep underperforming for this long, so his wins will come around soon enough. He a tough own right now, especially when you could have drafted someone like Leon Draisaitl instead.
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