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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Avalanche's Berra a bargain

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.

As of Thursday morning, the same goalie leads the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage. Any idea who it could be?

Carey Price, Henrik Lundqvist or Marc-Andre Fleury all are good guesses, but nope. The right answer is Reto Berra of the Colorado Avalanche.

In five starts Berra is 2-3-0 but has a 1.50 GAA and a .952 save percentage. Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said it would be hard to bench Berra, who's available in 85 percent of Yahoo leagues, and he likely will start Thursday against the Boston Bruins, which would be his third straight start. Berra made 25 saves in a 4-0 shutout against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, one game after making 31 saves in a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers.

"I feel really good," Berra said after defeating the Flyers. "The first day I got here … I had a really good summer. I worked hard at every level and so far it's paid off and I'll try to keep going."

Things could get interesting in Colorado. Starter Semyon Varlamov is 3-6-1 with a 3.26 GAA and an .890 save percentage, and also dealing with a groin injury that has kept him out for the past two games. Varlamov was 28-20-8 with a 2.56 GAA, .921 save percentage and five shutouts in 57 games last season, nowhere near his 2013-14 totals when he was a Vezina Trophy finalist after going 41-14-6 with a 2.41 GAA and .927 save percentage to help the Avalanche make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Berra played in 19 games last season with 12 starts, and went 5-4-1 with a 2.65 GAA and a .918 save percentage. He definitely should eclipse his win and start totals, and right now is Colorado's best option in goal.


Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings

Petr Mrazek
Petr Mrazek
Goalie - DET
RECORD: 5-3-0
GAA: 2.07 | SVP: .938
Mrazek (58 percent owned) made 38 saves in a 1-0 shutout against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, including 15 saves off shots by Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin. Mrazek has had two great starts in a row; he made 32 saves in a 2-1 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday. Jimmy Howard (70 percent owned) left a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Sunday in the third period after taking a knee to the head, but coach Jeff Blashill said he was fine.

Mrazek (2.07 GAA, .938 save percentage, eight starts) and Howard (2.07 GAA, .932 save percentage, seven starts) have almost identical statistics. But because of Howard's injury history and Blashill's familiarity with Mrazek from their time together with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League, expect Mrazek to get more starts sooner rather than later.


Antti Niemi, Dallas Stars

Antti Niemi
Antti Niemi
Goalie - DAL
RECORD: 6-3-0
GAA: 2.80 | SVP: .907
It hasn't been pretty at all for Niemi (73 percent owned) and fantasy owners since he made 37 saves in a season-opening 3-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. While he's 6-3-0, he's allowed three or more goals in each of his past six games. That includes two straight losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs in an eight-day span; he allowed four goals on 26 shots Nov. 2 in Toronto and then allowed three goals on 30 shots Tuesday. Toronto has three wins this season, two of them against Niemi. He has 2.80 GAA and a .907 save percentage, his worst numbers since becoming a full-time NHL player in 2009-10.

While Niemi has struggled, teammate Kari Lehtonen has been on fire. In seven games he's 6-1-0 with a 2.37 GAA and .921 save percentage, has allowed one goal in each of his past two starts and has allowed two power-play goals against this season. Lehtonen is owned in fewer leagues (62 percent) than Niemi, whose value clearly is on its way down.


Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

Vasilevskiy and teammate Ben Bishop have alternated starts the past six games. Vasilevskiy didn't make his season debut until Nov. 1 while recovering from surgery Sept. 3 to remove a blood clot from near his left collarbone. In three games he's 2-1-0 with a 2.37 GAA and a .924 save percentage. Bishop, who has won at least 37 games in each of the past two seasons is 5-7-1 with a 2.24 GAA and a .920 save percentage. Those aren't bad numbers for Bishop, but the Lightning haven't been scoring; they have 12 goals in their past nine games and are 7-8-2 this season, nowhere near where they expected to be after making the Stanley Cup Final last season.

Coach John Cooper may opt to use Vasilevskiy more to shake things up. The Lightning host the Calgary Flames on Thursday and then have a home-and-home set against the Florida Panthers on Saturday and Monday; both those teams have fewer points than the Lightning. The Buffalo Sabres do also but the Lightning lost 4-1 to them on Tuesday. Vasilevskiy is owned in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues so he is there if you need him.


Jake Allen
Jake Allen
Goalie - STL
RECORD: 7-3-0
GAA: 1.53 | SVP: .950
I mentioned Jake Allen was trending up last week, and what did he do this week? He had back-to-back shutouts against the Nashville Predators (45 saves) and New Jersey Devils (24 saves). Allen has allowed six goals in his past seven games.

In that same article I also said Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators was trending down. After two great starts he allowed seven goals on 38 shots in a 7-5 loss to the Predators on Tuesday.

Price, who hasn't played since Oct. 29 because of a lower-body injury, will be out for at least the remainder of this week, Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Tuesday. That means you can expect more starts for Mike Condon (6-0-2, 1.73 GAA, .936 save percentage) who is owned in 61 percent of Yahoo leagues.

The Calgary Flames' Jonas Hiller (2-3-0, 3.67 GAA, .861 save percentage) sustained a lower-body injury Oct. 28 and is on injured reserve. Karri Ramo has started the past five games but has allowed 16 goals.


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 Henrik Lundqvist, NYR (+1) 16 Kari Lehtonen, DAL (+7)
2 Carey Price, MTL (-1, DTD) 17 Frederik Andersen, ANA (+2)
3 Braden Holtby, WSH (+3) 18 Ryan Miller, VAN (-4)
4 Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT (+1) 19 Martin Jones, SJS (-7)
5 Pekka Rinne, NSH (-2) 20 Tuukka Rask, BOS (-3)
6 Jake Allen, STL (+14) 21 Brian Elliott, STL (-8)
7 Jonathan Quick, LAK (-3) 22 Petr Mrazek, DET (+7)
8 Devan Dubnyk, MIN (-1) 23 Michael Hutchinson, WPG (-2)
9 Corey Crawford, CHI (-1) 24 Michal Neuvirth, PHI (NEW)
10 Cory Schneider, NJD (+5) 25 Antti Niemi, DAL (-9)
11 Roberto Luongo, FLA (-2) 26 Craig Anderson, OTT (-2)
12 Jimmy Howard, DET (+6) 27 Semyon Varlamov, COL (-5)
13 Ben Bishop, TBL (-3) 28 Ondrej Pavelec, WPG (-3)
14 Jaroslav Halak, NYI (-3) 29 Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ (-4)
15 Mike Condon, MTL (NEW) 30 Linus Ullmark, BUF (SAME)

Dropped out: Steve Mason, Cam Talbot

Key injuries: Carey Price, Semyon Varlamov, Jonas Hiller, Robin Lehner


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