Most head-to-head fantasy hockey owners are in the midst of a playoff round, meaning this is the most important time of the season. Especially if your league has a cap on transactions per week or for the season, each playoff pickup is precious.
In standard Yahoo leagues, there are four goalie categories: wins, save percentage, goals-against average and shutouts. If you are trying to win a particular category, you could take the streaming approach and pick up a different goalie each day based on your needs. With championships on the line, here are some options based on what category you're looking for.
The Dallas Stars' Antti Niemi (67 percent owned) and Kari Lehtonen (63 percent owned) have frustrated fantasy owners with their mediocre peripherals for much of the season. That said, Lehtonen has won three straight games, all against teams currently in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Whether he or Niemi start, they are always good options for wins playing behind the high-powered Dallas offense. Each has 22 wins, but don't expect much in terms of GAA or SV%.
Jean-Francois Berube (4 percent owned) of the New York Islanders made 22 saves in a 3-1 win against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. Considering the Islanders are tied for the most games remaining (10), including five in the final seven days of the regular season, it's safe to assume he'll make a few more starts to spell Thomas Greiss some rest.
New York Rangers backup Antti Raanta is 9-5-2 with a 2.34 GAA and .916 SV%. He's also 5-1-0 in his past six starts, so the wins have been there. Raanta is owned in 13 percent of leagues, so chances are he's available. And the Rangers have two back-to-back sets remaining this season.
A look at the stats shows a few good options here. The strongest option for category coverage is Philipp Grubauer of the Washington Capitals. Grubauer (7 percent owned) is 8-6-1 with a .924 SV% and 2.19 GAA in 19 games. Braden Holtby is going for the single-season NHL wins record -- he's four from the mark of 48 set by Martin Brodeur in 2006-07 -- but the Capitals will likely rest their players as needed having clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Jhonas Enroth (6 percent owned) has a .928 SV%, but it's .943 at even strength, best among goalies to play at least 15 games this season. The Kings have clinched a playoff spot and could rest Jonathan Quick once they clinch the Pacific Division.
A few other options who should be available include Joonas Korpisalo (5 percent owned) of the Columbus Blue Jackets who has a .918 SV%, including .931 at even strength, and Chad Johnson of the Buffalo Sabres (17 percent owned) who's been getting a bunch of starts and has a SV% of .900 or higher in six of his past seven games.
Video: TOR@WSH: Grubauer stones Kadri in front of the net
Jonathan Bernier of the Toronto Maple Leafs is a solid option here. He has three wins and has allowed five goals in his past four games. Don't let the 2.89 GAA for the season fool you. Bernier (31 percent owned) has been playing better recently for the Maple Leafs, who have a ton of young forward talent on display.
Since returning from injury, the Arizona Coyotes' Mike Smith (53 percent owned) is 3-1-0 with one shutout and five goals-against in four games. The Coyotes play their next three games at home, where Smith is 7-2-0 this season.
It may be a stretch, but considering he's owned in 75 percent of leagues, Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues could be a huge pickup if he's somehow available in your format. He has two straight shutouts in his return from injury, stopping 56 combined shots in wins against the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks.
This is the most difficult category to account for but can decide a head-to-head matchup. I would recommend selecting a goalie based on what team they are playing. The Canucks have been shut out in three straight games (eight times this season) and have scored one goal in their past four games. In their next five games they play the Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and a home-and-home with the Sharks. If James Reimer (41 percent owned) is available, add him. He has two shutouts in four games with the Sharks. Carter Hutton also may be a good choice here. The Predators backup is 1-0-1 with one shutout and three goals allowed at home this season.
The New Jersey Devils have scored the second-fewest goals in the League and the Toronto Maple Leafs have been shut out eight times this season. If you have someone to drop and want to try and win the shutouts category, your best bet is to check the upcoming schedule and pick up a goalie starting against one of these teams. The Ducks have been shut out a League-high nine times, but most were earlier in the season when they weren't scoring.
TOP 30 FANTASY GOALIES
These rankings indicate fantasy expectations for the rest of the season. Value is quantified by projected starts, peripheral category coverage, timeshare situations, team defenses, past performance and upside in standard Yahoo categories, which include wins, goals-against average (GAA), SV% (SV%) and shutouts. These rankings reflect fantasy value, not necessarily the most talented goalies in order.
1. Braden Holtby, WSH
2. Jonathan Quick, LAK
3. Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT (+3)
4. Ben Bishop, TBL (+1)
5. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR (-2)
6. Corey Crawford, CHI (DTD)
7. Martin Jones, SJS
8. Frederik Andersen, ANA
9. Devan Dubnyk, MIN (+3)
10. Pekka Rinne, NSH (+3)
11. Roberto Luongo, FLA (-1)
12. Brian Elliott, STL (NR - INJ.)
13. Petr Mrazek, DET (-4)
14. Thomas Greiss, NYI
15. John Gibson, ANA (+2)
16. Jake Allen, STL (-5)
17. Tuukka Rask, BOS (-1)
18. Semyon Varlamov, COL (-3)
19. James Reimer, SJS (+2)
20. Steve Mason, PHI (-1)
21. Jonathan Bernier, TOR (+3)
22. Craig Anderson, OTT (-4)
23. Kari Lehtonen, DAL (NEW)
24. Chad Johnson, BUF (NEW)
25. Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ (-3)
26. Philipp Grubauer, WSH
27. Niklas Backstrom, CGY (NEW)
28. Calvin Pickard, COL (-1)
29. Jacob Markstrom, VAN (NEW)
30. Cam Talbot, EDM (-2)
Dropped out: Antti Niemi, Joni Ortio, Garret Sparks
Key injuries: Carey Price, Cory Schneider, Jaroslav Halak, Michal Neuvirth, Robin Lehner, Karri Ramo