Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com 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.
A week into the season, we've already seen some surprises. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings are among the winless teams; the Vancouver Canucks, Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks have yet to lose in regulation.
There's been good, bad and just plain ugly. But one player who has been better than good is Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.
Three games may be a small sample size, but Smith allowed one goal in each of his first two starts, making 40 saves against the Los Angeles Kings and 27 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on back-to-back nights last week. He followed that up with a 37-save shutout against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. It was his first shutout since March 2014.
Smith had 14 wins and 47 losses last season with a 3.16 goals-against average and didn't get his third win until his ninth start of the season. I listed him as a bounce-back candidate because of how poor he played last season. True, he won't allow one goal every night, but so far so good.
The 29th goalie drafted in Yahoo, and for good reason after last season, is owned in 62 percent of leagues, a number which you can expect to rise. One of the lowest-scoring teams in the League last season has 10 goals through three games (3-0-0). Smith should see help offensively especially with youngsters Anthony Duclair and Max Domi, who have combined for five goals.
Goalie - SJS
GAA: 0.33 | SVP: .987
Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks
Jones has been nothing short of outstanding, and if it hadn't been for Smith's start he would probably be talked about more. In three games, Jones has allowed one goal on 79 shots and has two shutouts. I had him at 28 in the preseason rankings, noting the Sharks' style of play and a new coach made Jones a wild card. So far, he's started this season how he began his career with the Los Angeles Kings with two shutouts in three games. He had three in his first six starts with the Kings in 2013-14.
Despite being a starting goalie, Jones isn't even owned in 100 percent of Yahoo League (82 percent). The Sharks have scored 12 goals in three games and look good on offense and defense. It is shaping up to be a big year for Jones.
Goalie - BOS
GAA: 4.72 | SVP: .846
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
A number of goalies are winless early (Jonathan Quick, Kings; Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets; Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins), but each of these goalies can, and likely will rebound. The same can't be said of Rask.
Rask was the seventh goalie taken in the majority of Yahoo leagues (29.7 overall), ahead of Fleury and Bobrovsky. In his three starts, he's allowed 14 goals and hasn't looked very good. Rask has a 4.72 GAA and a .846 save percentage. Going back to last season, he's allowed three or more goals in five of his past six starts. Rask started 67 games last season and tends to be a workhorse, but this season could be different. If you own him, try to trade him before it gets much worse.
Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Goalie - CBJ
GAA: 5.05 | SVP: .830
Fantasy owners could excuse one or two poor starts in a row to begin the season from Bobrovsky, but allowing at least four goals in four starts (0-4-0), a 5.05 GAA and an .830 save percentage aren't acceptable from someone who was expected to be among the top-10 goalies in the League. He has allowed five power-play goals, but even if we remove those, he's allowed 13 goals in four games.
Bobrovsky has two straight 30-win seasons and a save percentage of .918 or higher in each of his past three seasons and the Blue Jackets tend to start slow, so expect him to turn it around. But for now, it's hasn't been pretty in the Columbus net.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Goalie - DET
GAA: 0.50 | SVP: .977
On average, Howard was the 23rd goalie taken in Yahoo Leagues, and it's easy to see why. Howard has struggled with injuries and with his play in the past two seasons, yielding way to Petr Mrazek
last season, and didn't start any of Detroit's games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With new coach Jeff Blashill, who coached Mrazek at Grand Rapids in the American Hockey League, this season appeared to be a changing of the guard in net, but Howard has stopped that from happening.
In two starts, Howard has a 22-save shutout against the Toronto Maple Leafs and allowed one goal to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He's 2-0-0 with an 0.50 GAA and .977 save percentage. Of course it helps when the Red Wings have looked great, scoring 11 goals in three games. Right now, Howard will get a majority of the starts, and is worth adding if you need goalie help (Howard is owned in 74 percent of Yahoo leagues).
Michal Neuvirth, Philadelphia Flyers
Goalie - PHI
GAA: 1.04 | SVP: .964
With Steve Mason
missing the past two games because of personal issues, Neuvirth been a rock. He has made 61 saves in back-to-back shutouts against the Florida Panthers
and Chicago Blackhawks
Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo Leagues, he has a chance to start even when Mason returns, and has been a No. 1 goalie before. Neuvirth is definitely a good short-term option who could end up paying off in the long term as well.
Chad Johnson likely will see majority of the starts for the Buffalo Sabres in Robin Lehner's absence. Lehner will miss 6-10 weeks with an ankle sprain. Johnson is 1-2-0 with a 2.78 GAA and .891 save percentage.
With New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak day-to-day and having not started a game this season, Thomas Greiss (1-0-1, 2.46 GAA, .915 save percentage) has played two of three games this season. He's played in at least 20 games in each of the past two seasons and is available in 92 percent of Yahoo Leagues.
TOP 30 FANTASY GOALIES
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.
||Carey Price, MTL
||Corey Crawford, CHI
||Pekka Rinne, NSH
||Craig Anderson, OTT
||Martin Jones, SJS
||Semyon Varlamov, COL
||Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
||Frederik Andersen, ANA
||Ben Bishop, TBL
||Ryan Miller, VAN
||Braden Holtby, WSH
||Tuukka Rask, BOS
||Devan Dubnyk, MIN
||Cam Talbot, EDM
||Mike Smith, ARI
||Jake Allen, STL
||Roberto Luongo, FLA
||Jonas Hiller, CGY
||Antti Niemi, DAL
||Ondrej Pavelec, WPG
||Brian Elliott, STL
||Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ
||Jimmy Howard, DET
||Cory Schneider, NJD
||Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT
||Petr Mrazek, DET
||Michael Hutchinson, WPG
||Kari Lehtonen, DAL
||Jonathan Quick, LAK
||Karri Ramo, CGY
Key injuries: Robin Lehner (BUF), Jaroslav Halak (NYI), Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL)