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
|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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