All season long, NHL.com will rank the top 25 goalies for standard Yahoo leagues (wins, goals-against average, save percentage, shutouts). Players with long-term injuries have been removed from this list.
These rankings are based on expectations for the rest of the season. Value is quantified by projected starts, peripheral category coverage, time-share situations, team defenses, past performance and overall upside in standard leagues. It is important to note that our rankings reflect sheer fantasy value, not necessarily the most talented goalies in order.
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With the fantasy playoffs either underway or about to get underway next week in most leagues, it's important that you're set at the goalie position. In standard leagues, wins, GAA, SV% and shutouts count equally and account for four of the 10 total categories in the matchup.
Even if you have a strong starting goalie or two, the final weeks of the season are usually when starters for sure-fire Stanley Cup Playoff contenders are given some rest, giving backups a chance to do some fantasy damage. Some teams that have been eliminated from playoff contention give backups or rookie goalies playing time to prepare for next season.
As of Thursday, the Detroit Red Wings have the most back-to-back sets remaining this season with six (they also have a rare back-to-back-to-back set from March 26-28 because of a postponed game. The Buffalo Sabres have five set of back-to-backs. Five teams (Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers) have four sets left.
Video: DET@COL: Howard uses glove to turn aside Rantanen
On the other end of the spectrum, the Calgary Flames are the only team without any back-to-back sets left, and the Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets each have one set. All other teams have either two or three.
Here's a look at how the back-to-back games remaining could affect certain teams and their goalies:
Detroit Red Wings
With the most back-to-backs remaining, it likely means those who have Jimmy Howard (44 percent owned in Yahoo) won't see him start more than 10 of the final 14 games of the season for the Red Wings. Howard, who made 26 saves in a 3-1 loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, has one win in two starts since returning from a knee injury he sustained in December and is 6-8-1 with a 2.03 GAA and an .931 SV% this season. However, he is still worth owning because of his excellent peripherals. That said, Detroit plays three games in as many days later in the month and is out of postseason contention. There's really no reason for them to overwork Howard, meaning Petr Mrazek (58 percent owned) should also get some reps to improve his poor totals (15-19-7, 3.02 GAA, .900 SV%).
Brian Elliott (80 percent owned) has won his past nine starts and has no doubt helped many fantasy teams qualify for the playoffs with his late-season resurgence. The Flames had won 10 games in a row before a 5-2 loss against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, a game started by Chad Johnson (31 percent owned). The backup allowed four goals on 31 shots faced filling in for Elliott, who was scratched because of an illness. Elliott should still get the vast majority of the starts down the stretch with the Flames needing every point they can get to hang on to a playoff spot, but Johnson is still worth monitoring as a streaming option. Calgary has no back-to-backs left on its schedule.
Video: BOS@CGY: Johnson gets his pad down to stifle Nash
San Jose Sharks
Martin Jones is the No. 1 starter in San Jose and with good reason; he's 32-17-6 with a 2.25 GAA, .916 SV% and two shutouts in 56 starts this season. However, Aaron Dell has been one of the most valuable backups in the League this season. He's 10-3-1 with a 1.82 GAA and .938 SV% and has allowed two goals or fewer in 10 of 13 starts. Dell (16 percent owned) has started three of the past seven games for the Sharks, who have three sets of back-to-backs remaining. He's also 6-0-0 at home with a 1.50 GAA and .942 SV% and could start a good number of the final 13 games (six at home) for the Sharks, who would like to save Jones for what is hopefully another long playoff run. James Reimer became a late-season fantasy commodity when the Sharks went that route last season.
With five sets of back-to-back games left, Buffalo could curtail the play of workhorse goalie Robin Lehner, who's started 49 games. Lehner (64 percent owned) is 19-21-8 with a 2.69 GAA and a .920 SV%, and has allowed at least four goals in three of his past four starts. Backup Anders Nilsson (6 percent owned) is 9-9-4 with a 2.84 GAA and .917 SV% and could be useful in the final week of the season if you need a win or an improved SV%.
-- With John Gibson (lower body) sidelined for the Anaheim Ducks, Jonathan Bernier (33 percent owned) has started nine of their past 10 games, going 6-3-0. Bernier made 26 saves in a 2-1 win against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday and is worth owning in most formats until Gibson returns. With Henrik Lundqvist also injured, fantasy owners should employ Bernier if Antti Raanta of the New York Rangers has already been scooped up.
-- Andrei Vasilevskiy (69 percent owned) of the Tampa Bay Lightning is 6-0-1 with a .958 save percentage since Ben Bishop was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. The 22-year-old has become a must-own goalie in all formats, especially with the Lightning having a home-heavy schedule (eight of final 13 at Amalie Arena).
Video: TBL@OTT: Vasilevskiy sprawls to stifle Turris
-- Cam Ward (48 percent owned) of the Carolina Hurricanes has allowed at least three goals in each of his past five games. The Hurricanes have games in hand on the rest of the League, but you may want to consider a quality backup over Ward the rest of the way.
TOP 25 FANTASY GOALIES
NOTE: These rankings were last updated March 16
1. Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ (+1)
2. Braden Holtby, WSH (-1)
3. Carey Price, MTL (+1)
4. Devan Dubnyk, MIN (-1)
5. Martin Jones, SJS (SAME)
6. Matt Murray, PIT (SAME)
7. Tuukka Rask, BOS (+1)
8. Jonathan Quick, LAK (-1)
9. Cam Talbot, EDM (+1)
10. Jake Allen, STL (+3)
11. Corey Crawford, CHI (-2)
12. Brian Elliott, CGY (+3)
13. Pekka Rinne, NSH (-1)
14. Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL (+5)
15. Craig Anderson, OTT (DTD)
16. Antti Raanta, NYR (NEW)
17. Frederik Andersen, TOR (+1)
18. Thomas Greiss, NYI (-1)
19. Jonathan Bernier, ANA (+5)
20. Ben Bishop, LAK (-3)
21. Steve Mason, PHI (+2)
22. Cory Schneider, NJD (-2)
23. Aaron Dell, SJS (NEW)
24. Mike Condon, OTT (NEW)
25. James Reimer, FLA (-3)
Dropped out: Robin Lehner (BUF), Connor Hellebuyck (WPG)
Key injuries: Henrik Lundqvist (NYR), John Gibson (ANA), Roberto Luongo (FLA), Semyon Varlamov (COL)
READ: Last week's Top 25 goalie rankings