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Rinne emerges as new No. 1 fantasy goaltender

2011-12 Fantasy Hockey Goalie Rankings

By Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Rinne emerges as new No. 1 fantasy goaltender
NHL.com's Matt Cubeta ranks the top goalies for the 2011-12 fantasy hockey season.
NHL.com started their fantasy hockey rankings with centers on Monday, Aug. 29 and will release rankings for each position by day, finishing with goalie rankings on Friday, Sept. 2. We will release the top-175 overall fantasy hockey rankings on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Positions are based on where we project these players to start the season -- they may change when the season begins. Regardless of what kind of league you're in, NHL.com has you covered for fantasy hockey all year long.

It's never easy determining when to select your first goaltender in a draft. Is it worth risking not having an elite goal-scorer on your squad to lock up one of the best goalies? Do you wait until the middle rounds to take your first goalkeeper and hope to get lucky with a high-risk, high-reward guy like Jimmy Howard? You'll be faced with plenty of questions come draft day, but deciding on when to take your goalie is always one of the toughest.

Not only are there several questions you have to face about your personal fantasy team, but how about the debates facing the goalies themselves. Can Tim Thomas compete at the same level as he did last season, when he won the Vezina Trophy? Will Roberto Luongo be affected by his playoff struggles? Are the Rangers good enough to put Henrik Lundqvist into the upper echelon? Will Pekka Rinne take the next step to stardom after earning a Vezina nomination?

We believe the last question is the most likely scenario of all the question marks surrounding this year's crop of elite goaltenders. With the end of Martin Brodeur's reign as the top-ranked goalie heading into the season, we welcome Nashville's Rinne as our new No. 1. After posting a 33-win season with an outstanding 2.12 goals against average, .930 save percentage and six shutouts, expectations are extremely high for the 28 year-old.

While it's not a lock that Rinne will be the most dominant goalie this season, we believe he is more than capable while playing behind an outstanding defensive team in Nashville. If you don't end up with any of the top five guys, don't panic as there's plenty of depth after them with guys like Jonas Hiller, Niklas Backstrom and Dwayne Roloson. However, you should try to get at least one good goaltender on your team or you could end up starving on the waiver wire hoping to get lucky with someone.

NHL.com has also decided to include each team's backup goalie alongside its starter. If you're the type of fantasy owner who likes to handcuff your starter with his backup, then this will help you. It also gives you some perspective as to who will be putting pressure on the starter -- another reason we believe Rinne and Lundqvist are two of the safest picks among goaltenders.

Let the games begin: Fantasy league formats and strategies

Top 175 | Top 50 Breakdown | Centers | Left Wings | Right Wings | Defensemen

Rank
Team
Player Backup Goalie
1. Pekka Rinne Anders Lindback
2. Roberto Luongo Cory Schneider
3. Henrik Lundqvist Martin Biron
4. Tim Thomas Tuukka Rask
5. Ryan Miller Jhonas Enroth
6. Marc-Andre Fleury Brent Johnson
7. Carey Price Peter Budaj
8. Ilya Bryzgalov Sergei Bobrovsky
9. Antti Niemi Antero Niittymaki
10. Martin Brodeur Johan Hedberg
11. Tomas Vokoun Michal Neuvirth
12. Cam Ward Brian Boucher
13. Corey Crawford Ray Emery*
14. Jonas Hiller Dan Ellis
15. Jimmy Howard Ty Conklin
16. Miikka Kiprusoff Henrik Karlsson
17. Jonathan Quick Jonathan Bernier
18. Niklas Backstrom Josh Harding
19. Jaroslav Halak Brian Elliott
20. Dwayne Roloson Mathieu Garon
21. Kari Lehtonen Andrew Raycroft
22. Craig Anderson Alex Auld
23. Semyon Varlamov Jean-Sebastien Giguere
24. Steve Mason Mark Dekanich
25. James Reimer Jonas Gustavsson
26. Ondrej Pavelec Chris Mason
27. Jose Theodore Scott Clemmensen
28. Rick DiPietro Evgeni Nabokov
29. Mike Smith Jason LaBarbera
30. Nikolai Khabibulin Devan Dubnyk

*attending training camp on a tryout basis


Contact Matt Cubeta at MCubeta@nhl.com


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