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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Allen out; Blues turn to Elliott

by David Satriano

Every Thursday during the season, fantasy hockey staff writer David Satriano provides in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Satriano is your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.

Jake Allen was having an MVP-type season for the St. Louis Blues before he sustained a knee injury in the second period of a 4-3 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. He was 18-10-3 with a 2.17 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and five shutouts, and clearly carrying the load.

But now Allen (86 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) is considered week-to-week with a knee injury, which means Brian Elliott, who has been with the Blues for five seasons and has seen his share of being a No. 1, a backup and in a timeshare, will get a bulk of the starts.

Elliott (68 percent owned) who made 25 saves in relief of Allen against Anaheim, allowed one goal in a 2-1 shootout win against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, and made 22 saves in a 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. He's 7-4-4 with a 2.31 GAA and .919 save percentage this season.

This is a good chance for Elliott to make the most of his opportunity. He was 26-14-3 last season with five shutouts and 18-6-2 with four shutouts in 2013-14. Elliott has good career numbers (149-95-30 with a 2.44 GAA, .912 save percentage and 30 shutouts), and coach Ken Hitchcock and the Blues have confidence in him. Jordan Binnington (less than one percent owned) was called up from Chicago of the American Hockey League to back up Elliott. The 22-year-old has yet to make his NHL debut.


Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings may have had a timeshare to start the season, but the job now belongs to Mrazek. Mrazek was the NHL's second star of the past week, going 3-0-0 with an 0.67 GAA and a shutout. He is owned in 74 percent of leagues with Jimmy Howard owned in 59 percent of leagues. Howard had started two of nine games prior to Monday, and he was pulled in each (he allowed three goals on six shots in 14:17 of a 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 22 and followed that up allowing four goals on 14 shots in 31:43 of a 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 29).

Mrazek (75 percent owned) has not allowed more than two even-strength goals in his past 15 starts. He's 15-8-3 with a 2.16 GAA and .930 save percentage, and gives the Red Wings, who are trying to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 25th straight season, the best chance to win.


Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche

Varlamov (81 percent owned) has two wins in his past four games but has allowed three or more goals in seven of nine starts and allowed four or more in five of the nine games; still, Patrick Roy has continued to stick with him. It doesn't really help his fantasy numbers. Varlamov has a high 2.82 GAA and a low .909 save percentage. If you own him, I'd suggest trying to trade him.

With Reto Berra (eight percent owned) injured, Calvin Pickard (one percent owned) has been Varlamov's backup. Roy said Pickard would start Thursday against the Devils.


Robin Lehner, Buffalo Sabres

Lehner (12 percent owned) hasn't played an NHL game since sustaining a knee injury in the Sabres' opener on Oct. 8. He played three games in the American Hockey League since Friday and went 2-1-0, making 24 saves on 28 shots in a 5-4 win against Hershey on Saturday, 20 saves on 22 shots in a 2-1 win against Syracuse on Sunday, and 35 saves on 39 shots in a 4-0 loss to Albany on Wednesday. He was recalled by the Sabres on Thursday.

Lehner likely will start for the Sabres on Friday against the Boston Bruins or Saturday against the Washington Capitals, coach Dan Bylsma said earlier this week. The Sabres acquired Lehner last summer to be their No. 1 goalie, so he should start a majority of the games, with Chad Johnson (17 percent owned) serving as the backup and Linus Ullmark (four percent owned), who played very well with Lehner out, returning to Rochester of the AHL.


-- Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets (53 percent owned) is 9-6-1 this season and ranks fourth among all goalies in GAA (2.00) and save percentage (.931). Hellebuyck has started 13 of the past 15 games for the Jets. Although he is 0-1-2 in his past three, he will start most of the games with Ondrej Pavelec (45 percent owned) remaining out with a lower-body injury. Pavelec skated this week but there is no timetable for his return. Michael Hutchinson (11 percent owned) will continue to see the occasional start.

-- Ryan Miller, who hasn't played since Dec. 20 with an undisclosed injury, will return Thursday for the Vancouver Canucks and start against the Washington Capitals. Miller (71 percent owned) is 10-11-6 with a 2.74 GAA and .909 save percentage, and had allowed three or more goals in his past four starts. Jacob Markstrom (13 percent owned) has started the past eight games for the Canucks since Miller was injured, and has played well (6-5-4, 2.44 GAA, .920 save percentage), so this situation is still worth watching.

-- Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens skated for the third straight day on Wednesday but isn't expected to return until after the All-Star break.


These rankings indicate fantasy expectations for this season alone. Value is quantified by projected starts, peripheral category coverage, timeshare situations, team defenses, past performance and overall upside in standard Yahoo categories, which include wins, goals-against average (GAA), save percentage (SV%) and shutouts. It is important to note that our rankings reflect sheer fantasy value, not necessarily the most talented goalies in order.

1 Braden Holtby, WSH (SAME) 16 Antti Niemi, DAL (+3)
2 Corey Crawford, CHI (SAME) 17 Martin Jones, SJS (+3)
3 Ben Bishop, TBL (+1) 18 Jaroslav Halak, NYI (-2)
4 Jonathan Quick, LAK (-1) 19 Mike Condon, MTL (-1)
5 Henrik Lundqvist, NYR (SAME) 20 Louis Domingue, ARI, (+9)
6 Roberto Luongo, FLA (+2) 21 Semyon Varlamov, COL (-4)
7 Cory Schneider, NJD (SAME) 22 Karri Ramo, CGY (-1)
8 Petr Mrazek, DET (+4) 23 Craig Anderson, OTT (+2)
9 Pekka Rinne, NSH (-3) 24 James Reimer, TOR (-1)
10 Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT (SAME) 25 Thomas Greiss, NYI (-1)
11 Tuukka Rask, BOS (+2) 26 Michal Neuvirth, PHI (SAME)
12 John Gibson, ANA (+2) 27 Steve Mason, PHI (NEW)
13 Devan Dubnyk, MIN (-2) 28 Kari Lehtonen, DAL (SAME)
14 Connor Hellebuyck, WPG (+1) 29 Cam Ward, CAR (NEW)
15 Brian Elliott, STL (NEW) 30 Robin Lehner, BUF (NEW)

Dropped out: Andrew Hammond, Eddie Lack, Jimmy Howard

Key injuries: Carey Price, Jake Allen, Sergei Bobrovsky, Ondrej Pavelec, Mike Smith


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