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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Darling will share starts

by David Satriano / NHL.com

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.


Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford has won the Stanley Cup twice and won 30 games in each of the past four full NHL seasons, and he's gotten those wins despite not playing in more than 59 games. That means you can expect his backup, Scott Darling, to get between 20-25 starts.

Crawford's numbers aren't up to his standards; his 2.57 goals-against average and .912 save percentage are less than his career averages of 2.35 and .916, respectively. He made 27 saves in a 5-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, but Darling has started two of the past five games and likely will start once this weekend with Chicago having back-to-back games at the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.

As Darling showed last season, he's more than capable of coming up big when it matters. Darling was 3-1-0 with a 2.21 GAA and a .936 save percentage in helping the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup last season. This was after he went 9-4-0 with a 1.99 GAA and a .936 save percentage in 14 starts during the regular season.

Darling is widely available, owned in eight percent of Yahoo Leagues. He's 2-2-1 with a 2.51 GAA and a .912 save percentage and has allowed four goals combined in his previous three games. Chicago ranks towards the middle of the pack in goals allowed this season after allowing the second fewest last season.

TRENDING UP

Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators

Anderson (74 percent owned) has been the go-to guy for the Senators recently. He's started the past six games and had two straight shutouts before allowing four goals in a 7-4 win against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Anderson followed that up with 40 saves in a 5-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.

Craig Anderson
Goalie - OTT
RECORD: 10-4-3
GAA: 2.71 | SVP: .920
He's 10-4-3 this season with a 2.71 GAA and .920 save percentage and two shutouts and is 4-0-2 in his past five games. Anderson will put up wins and save percentage (.916 in his career) although his goals-against is usually high (2.72 career). The Senators should compete for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so he's definitely worth a look if you are in need of a goalie or have injury troubles.

Coming into the season, Anderson and Andrew Hammond were supposed to split time, but Hammond (32 percent owned) has been hampered by injuries. He's played in four games this season (2-0-2, 2.42 GAA, .930 save percentage) and it appears that last season's miraculous run by Hammond may have been a one-hit wonder.

TRENDING DOWN

Frederik Andersen, Anaheim Ducks

Anderson (79 percent owned) did not dress Tuesday or Wednesday because of the flu, but has

had allowed three goals or more in four of his past five games. The Ducks have been playing better but Andersen? Not so much. His GAA is 2.54 and he doesn't have a shutout in 16 games this season.

Even when he does return, Andersen could be benched in favor of prospect John Gibson (11 percent owned) who made his season debut Tuesday in relief of Anton Khudobin (eight percent owned) and made 19 saves on 20 shots in a 5-3 win against the Calgary Flames and was rewarded with the start Wednesday against the Arizona Coyotes. After another solid performance (30 saves in a 4-2 loss), we could be seeing more of Gibson.

Gibson was 13-8-0 with a 2.60 GAA and a .914 save percentage last season but wasn't able to overtake Andersen in the regular season or playoffs, but that could soon change.

KEEP AN EYE ON

Anders Nilsson, Edmonton Oilers

Cam Talbot (38 percent owned) put up solid numbers last season (21-9-4, 2.21 GAA, .926 save percentage, five shutouts) and clearly benefitted from playing on the New York Rangers. After an offseason trade to the Oilers, Talbot was expected to be the No. 1 goalie but has struggled (3-8-0, 3.09 GAA, .890 save percentage) and has allowed at least three goals in six straight games.

Anders Nilsson
Goalie - EDM
RECORD: 4-6-1
GAA: 2.85 | SVP: .906
Enter Nilsson, who has started four straight games and eight of the past 10. His record is 4-6-1 and he hasn't won two consecutive games yet this season, but he allowed three goals on 26 shots in a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday after allowing two goals in each of his previous two starts. Nilsson is owned in eight percent of Yahoo Leagues and likely will see more starts.

WORTH NOTING

Carey Price returned last Friday after missing three weeks because of a lower-body injury. He made three starts for the Montreal Canadiens and won each of them, allowing six goals, although he left a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers on Wednesday because of a lower-body injury. Mike Condon (31 percent owned) will start Friday against the New Jersey Devils and could see an increase in ownership again if Price is out for an extended period of time.

Semyon Varlamov (69 percent owned) returned for the Colorado Avalanche on Monday after missing seven games and made 20 saves in a 4-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets. He started Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators but was pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots in 22 minutes. Varlamov (3.22 GAA, .890 save percentage has not been great this season, but coach Patrick Roy hasn't been pleased with Reto Berra's play recently (four goals allowed in three straight starts). Berra did make 12 of 13 saves in relief Wednesday, so this one could get interesting.

Jets prospect Connor Hellebuyck was called up from Manitoba of the American Hockey League with Ondrej Pavelec (56 percent owned) expected to miss significant time because of a knee injury. Michael Hutchinson (35 percent owned) started on Wednesday and allowed five goals on 34 shots in a 5-3 loss against the Washington Capitals. Hellebuyck was an underwhelming 2-7-1-0 with a 2.41 GAA and .927 save percentage in the AHL, but coach Paul Maurice said he would play "sooner rather than later." Hellebuyck, who is owned in four percent of leagues, has the potential to have a Hutchinson-type run from last season.


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.

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

Dropped out: Linus Ullmark

Key injuries: Ondrej Pavelec, Jonas Hiller, Andrew Hammond, Robin Lehner

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