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Fantasy goalie rankings for 2016-17

Devan Dubnyk, Marc-Andre Fleury bargains; Connor Hellebuyck breakout candidate

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

How important is goaltending depth? Take a look at the 2016 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Goalie Matt Murray began the season in the American Hockey League before stepping in for Marc-Andre Fleury and tying a rookie record with 15 Stanley Cup Playoff wins to help the Penguins win the title.

Goalies can be the backbone of a fantasy roster as well. They count for four of the 10 standard Yahoo categories (wins, goals-against average, save percentage, shutouts) in head-to-head leagues, so drafting the right ones -- early and late -- can tip the scale in your favor.

FANTASY RANKINGS: TOP 250 | CENTER | LW | RW | D-MAN

PRESEASON TAKEAWAYS: GOALIE

The top four goalies for this season, Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals), Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay Lightning), Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings) and Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens), speak for themselves in terms of consistency. After that, it's more wide open.

Waiting too long for a goalie can make for a chaotic season filled with spot starts and inconsistent streaming options, and drafting one too early without insurance also can come back to bite you. Remember, just because you draft a team's current No. 1 goalie doesn't mean it'll end up that way by season's end, because of potential injuries. It's always good to look at goalies expected to take on a heavier workload, and backups or third-string options with potential to store on your bench or promptly add off the waiver wire.

Video: Fantasy hockey analysis with Pete Jensen

Here's a complete goalie outlook and fantasy draft guide to help you prepare for this season.

BARGAIN HUNTING

Well-known goalies in position to outperform their current Yahoo rank

Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild

After being a Vezina Trophy finalist in 2014-15, Dubnyk was 32-26-6 with a 2.33 GAA, .918 SV% and five shutouts last season to finish among the top 10 fantasy goalies again. He started 66 games (tied for second in NHL), a number which he should approach again this season, and allowed one goal or fewer in almost one-third of the games (20). The Wild aren't built on offense and had extended slumps last season, but Dubnyk kept them in most games. His name value may not be as flashy or popular as the other top goalies, but he has shown what he is capable of the past two seasons.

Brian Elliott, Calgary Flames

Elliott takes a step back in the fantasy goalie rankings after moving from the defensive-minded St. Louis Blues to the Flames, the League's worst team in goals against last season (3.13 per game). That said, Elliott had a .930 SV% (first; minimum 15 games) and a 2.07 GAA (T-2nd) last season and is a huge upgrade for Calgary. Elliott hasn't started more than 51 games in any season in his career, but that should change being the No. 1 in Calgary and no longer being involved in a time share. The Flames, led by high-scoring forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, should be able to provide offense, with Elliott doing the rest. It would be hardly surprising to see Elliott finish among the top 10 goalies by season's end, meaning he's worth a sixth-round pick in a 12-team draft.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

This isn't the expected spot for Fleury, 31, who has been a top-five fantasy goalie for much of the past decade. But after he was overtaken by Murray last season, he was listed as the No. 21 goalie in Yahoo's preseason rankings. Murray excelled in the playoffs, but is out 3-6 weeks because of a broken hand sustained at the World Cup of Hockey 2016. Fleury was 35-17-6 with five shutouts, a career best 2.29 GAA and .921 SV% last season despite missing time on two separate occasions because of a concussion. He has had at least 34 wins in each of the past seven full NHL seasons and is still a threat to finish among the top 100 overall. The injury hurts Murray's stock a bit, but this can still be an efficient tandem if you can get the Penguins goalies with consecutive picks in the middle rounds.

POTENTIAL STEALS

High-ceiling goalies who should be available outside the top 100 on average

Robin Lehner, Buffalo Sabres

Lehner was limited to 21 games last season after sustaining an ankle injury in the Sabres' opener. He only had five wins, but still impressed with a .924 SV% allowing two goals or fewer in 13 outings. Questions about Buffalo's lack of offense (T-25th in goals per game last season) have been answered with the signing of right wing Kyle Okposo, who should make the Sabres power play even more dangerous and flank either Ryan O'Reilly or Jack Eichel at even strength. Lehner, 22nd in Yahoo's rankings, will be the undisputed No. 1 in Buffalo and has breakout potential in the 12th round or later in a 12-team league.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

Vasilevskiy, 22, played eight games in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs and four the postseason before following injuries to Bishop, the Tampa Bay starter. Bishop enters the final season of his contract and Vasilevskiy signed a three-year extension that runs through the 2019-20 season. He is ranked outside the top 200 overall (204) by Yahoo, but proved his worth last season (11-10-0, 2.76 GAA, .910 SV%, one SO) and it wouldn't be surprising if he ends up starting 30 or more games this season, given the uncertainty surrounding Bishop. The Lightning have been to the conference final each of the past two seasons and have a deep defense to continue alleviating pressure on their goalies.

James Reimer, Florida Panthers

Reimer, 28, signed a five-year contract with Florida this offseason, so he has a chance to be the starter if/when Roberto Luongo, 37, retires. But Reimer still provides fantasy upside this season, especially with Luongo recovering from hip surgery. Even if Luongo is ready to start the season, Reimer will see his share of starts for one of the most complete teams in the Eastern Conference. He was 17-14-7 with a 2.31 GAA and .922 SV% for the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks last season, and had three shutouts in eight starts after being traded to contending San Jose. Joining another well-rounded team should help him continue his fantasy upswing.

Video: SJS@VAN: Reimer shows off the glove on Burrows

BEST THIRD-STRINGERS

Goalies who are third on the depth chart, but could find fantasy relevance

Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

Hellebuyck, 23, was excellent in his first NHL season; he played in 26 games, going 13-11-0, with a 2.34 GAA, .918 SV% and two shutouts. After the Jets waived Ondrej Pavelec, Hellebuyck's breakout potential could come into fruition. Originally a deep or keeper-league flier, Hellebuyck joins the top 25 goalies with a chance to climb even higher if he can emerge from a competition with Michael Hutchinson.

Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus Blue Jackets

Korpisalo, 22, filled in admirably for injured Sergei Bobrovsky and Curtis McElhinney in his rookie season. In 31 games, Korpisalo was 16-11-4 with a 2.60 GAA and .920 SV%. He allowed two goals or fewer in nine of 10 games from Jan. 13-Feb. 9, and had a SV% of .931 or better in 15 of his 30 starts. He also played 18 regular-season games with Lake Erie of the AHL, and nine more in the Calder Cup title run. Bobrovsky has been limited to 51 games (2014-15) and 37 games (2015-16) in the past two seasons, missing time because of injuries in the stretch. The backup job belongs to McElhinney now, but Korpisalo, who's dealing with a groin injury, could still surface with the Blue Jackets at some point this season.

Jean-Francois Berube, New York Islanders

The Islanders could carry three goalies again, but Berube will begin the season behind Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss. Ranked 66th among goalies by Yahoo, Berube will not be drafted on average, but could become a valuable streaming option again. Last season, he made six NHL starts (three wins), allowing three goals or fewer in four of them. Berube played five games with Bridgeport of the AHL, going 4-1-0 with a 1.25 GAA and a .960 SV%, so it's no wonder the Islanders made room for him. Given Halak's injury history (limited to 36 games last season) and the fact coach Jack Capuano likes to keep his goalies fresh, Berube could be in line for an increased workload. If an injury or trade should occur involving Greiss or Halak, Berube's value would increase significantly.

Video: PIT@TBL, Gm6: Vasilevskiy covers puck off deflection

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GOALIE RANKINGS

The below rankings may differ from the order of goalies in NHL.com's fantasy top 250 by Pete Jensen. Rankings are based on projected starts, peripheral category coverage, time-share situations, team defenses, past performance and upside in standard Yahoo categories (wins, GAA, SV%, shutouts). NOTE: These rankings have been updated Oct. 11.

1. Braden Holtby, WSH
2. Jonathan Quick, LAK
3. Carey Price, MTL
4. Ben Bishop, TBL
5. Cory Schneider, NJD
6. Martin Jones, SJS
7. John Gibson, ANA
8. Jake Allen, STL
9. Corey Crawford, CHI
10. Pekka Rinne, NSH
11. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
12. Devan Dubnyk, MIN
13. Brian Elliott, CGY
14. Roberto Luongo, FLA
15. Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT
16. Matt Murray, PIT (INJ.)
17. Petr Mrazek, DET
18. Jaroslav Halak, NYI
19. Frederik Andersen, TOR
20. Michal Neuvirth, PHI
21. Tuukka Rask, BOS
22. Robin Lehner, BUF
23. Connor Hellebuyck, WPG
24. Thomas Greiss, NYI
25. Steve Mason, PHI

Just missed: Semyon Varlamov (COL), James Reimer (FLA), Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL), Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ), Cam Talbot (EDM)

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