With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, NHL.com has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.
But, don't worry if they slip through your grasp in a draft, because you really can't go wrong with the rest of the top 10. Tuukka Rask is playing behind a team that is just as strong as last season, Jonathan Quick is just as valuable as Lundqvist and Niemi in terms of workload and Corey Crawford is poised for a steady season after signing a new six-year contract extension.
The tougher selections come in the 15-to-25 range, mainly due to the high number of tandems in the League. Drafting the more valuable goalie in Toronto, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and New Jersey is no easy task; James Reimer and Corey Schneider could easily be top 15 goalies, but since performance will dictate playing time, the same could also be said for Jonathan Bernier and Martin Brodeur.
Not including goalies in a tandem, we've pinpointed three names that could be great late-round steals.
The first is Jacob Markstrom, who is widely regarded as one of the best 23-year-old goalie prospects in the NHL. His career stats will detract poolies (10-19-2, 3.09 goals-against average, .906 save percentage), but he still has the opportunity to break out in a big way for the Florida Panthers.
Next is Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov, one of the most flexible and explosive netminders in the NHL. He might be exposed behind a feeble defense once again, but with all of the exciting changes and new faces in Colorado, including legendary goalie coach Francois Allaire, he could be a solid late-round selection.
Finally there's Karri Ramo of the Calgary Flames, who hasn't played an NHL game since April 11, 2009, and now has the task of filling Miikka Kiprusoff's shoes on a rebuilding team. It seems like a pretty bleak outlook, but keep in mind that he was regarded as one of the KHL's best goalies in each of the past four seasons.
There's always a few injuries and surprises in goal during an NHL season, so we bolstered our rankings with a list of 10 goalies currently sitting just outside the NHL that could step in and have some success.
NOTE: Positional rankings do not necessarily reflect the order of NHL.com's top 200 overall rankings, which are compiled based on the individual rankings of the four NHL.com insiders whose opinions were taken into account.
This preseason ranking places an emphasis on volume categories such as games played, wins and shots. Backups with an asterisk (*) next to their name are projected to play in more than 30 games and shouldn't be regarded as such since they are expected to be utilized as part of a tandem.
25. Semyon Varlamov, Avalanche 62 J-S Giguere
TEN HIDDEN GEMS
1. Jake Allen, Blues
2. Reto Berra, Flames
3. Antti Raanta, Blackhawks
4. Petr Mrazek, Red Wings
5. Niklas Svedberg, Bruins
6. Cristopher Nilstorp, Stars
7. Philipp Grubauer, Capitals
8. Darcy Kuemper, Wild
9. Anders Nilsson, Islanders
10. Magnus Hellberg, Predators
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