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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Habs' Price earns No. 1 rank

by Evan Sporer / NHL.com

Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com's Evan Sporer will provide you with in-depth analysis of goaltenders. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Sporer will be your go-to guy for advice on fantasy goalies all season long.

UPDATED TOP 30 GOALIE RANKINGS

Wins in baseball can be a deceiving stat for pitchers. Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners went through stretches of being one of the most dominant starters in the majors, but with win totals that didn't reflect it because of poor run support.

It's a concept somewhat analogous to hockey and goalies, and if there is currently a king of doing more with less, it's Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens.

No team in the NHL has won more this season than Montreal (nine times) when it has scored two or fewer goals. And in the crease for seven of those nine victories has been Price, whose seven wins when his team scores two or fewer goals are tied with Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers and Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils for most in the League.

Montreal has been leaning heavily on Price all season, and his numbers have surpassed the stratosphere of Vezina Trophy consideration and catapulted him into the Hart conversation.

In his nine starts in the month of January, Price went 7-1-1 with a .951 save percentage. The Canadiens took 325 shots on goal while conceding 374 for a negative differential of 49. Shot attempts were even more tilted in their opponents favor, as Montreal took 642 total attempts compared to 708 allowed, for a negative differential of 66 (and at even-strength that number slides to minus-88).

All of this purports a team that played large stretches without the puck, yet Price still recorded a win percentage of .833 while posting the highest save percentage in the League.

For most of the season, Price was putting up spectacular numbers, just not on this level. That, paired with the historic play of the Nashville Predators' Pekka Rinne, diverted some attention away from Price. But since Rinne was injured and last played Jan. 13, Price's play has taken off, as he's gone a 5-1-0, with two shutouts and a .954 save percentage.

Carey Price
STATS PRIOR TO FEB. 5 GAMES
RECORD: 27-11-2
GAA: 2.06 | SVP: .932
For Montreal meanwhile, this has been the story the entire season. The Canadiens have conceded 138 more shots on goal than they've taken, and attempted 192 fewer shots than their opponents overall. Without even taking a deeper look into how they've managed their success in spite of those numbers, it's obvious it takes some very strong play from their goaltender.

Price is providing the Canadiens with timely goaltending. In a 1-0 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 31, Price made 17 saves during the second period while his team was under siege. After Price made 10 saves in the third, Montreal scored on its second shot of overtime to pick up its 15th win of the season despite being outshot. The Canadiens have won 32 times this season.

It should come as no surprise that Price has overtaken Rinne as the top-ranked fantasy goaltender in hockey. Price's Yahoo ranking now sits at eighth among all players, one spot ahead of Rinne, with the Washington Capitals' Braden Holtby the only other goaltender ranked among the top 20 (No. 17 overall).

With the body of work Price is assembling it would be difficult to argue -- fantasy or otherwise -- there has been a more valuable player this season.


Tuukka Rask
STATS PRIOR TO FEB. 5 GAMES
RECORD: 22-12-7
GAA: 2.33 | SVP: .921
TRENDING UP

Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

Since Zdeno Chara has returned from injury, Rask hasn't allowed more than three goals in any of his 20 starts, with a .931 save percentage in those games entering Wednesday. He was even better in the month of January, when his save percentage was .949. The Bruins have righted the ship in front of Rask, while the Bruins top-flight goalie continues to stay true to form.

TRENDING DOWN

Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs

Jonathan Bernier
STATS PRIOR TO FEB. 5 GAMES
RECORD: 16-16-4
GAA: 2.76 | SVP: .914
As TSN's James Mirtle pointed out, Toronto just went through a historically anemic offensive stretch. Bernier's numbers on top of that -- 17 goals allowed on 166 shots faced -- have contributed to a 10-game winless streak (0-9-1) for the Maple Leafs. Wins are hard to come by in Toronto, and Bernier's stock is taking a big hit.

KEEP AN EYE ON

Malcolm Subban, Boston Bruins

Whatever the Bruins intentions are with Subban is unclear. Rask has been an absolute workhorse, so it's entirely possible regular backup Niklas Svedberg was sent back to the American Hockey League to get some playing time. But with Subban in Boston, it's also a perfect opportunity to showcase him to a potential suitor, and with the Bruins likely buyers with the NHL Trade Deadline approaching, Subban is a top goalie prospect with a ton of upside.


TOP 30 FANTASY GOALIES

These modified re-rankings are a projection of a goalie's fantasy output for the entire season. Our ranks are based on volume categories like games played, wins, saves, goals-against average (GAA) and save percentage (SV%). The plus or minus for each player is movement based on our most recent rankings from last week (NR means not ranked in previous rankings). It is important to note that our rankings reflect sheer fantasy value, not talent. A less-talented goalie could be ranked higher due to their team's strong defense and offense.

1 Carey Price, MTL (SAME) 16 Semyon Varlamov, COL (-1)
2 Pekka Rinne, NSH (NR - IR) 17 Cory Schneider, NJD (+3)
3 Henrik Lundqvist, NYR - DTD 18 Antti Niemi, SJS (-1)
4 Brian Elliott, STL (-1) 19 Kari Lehtonen, DAL (-1)
5 Tuukka Rask, BOS (+6) 20 Petr Mrazek, DET (+1)
6 Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT (-2) 21 Steve Mason, PHI (NEW)
7 Corey Crawford, CHI (-2) 22 Devan Dubnyk, MIN (SAME)
8 Roberto Luongo, FLA (-2) 23 Jonas Hiller, CGY (NEW)
9 Ben Bishop, TBL (-1) 24 Jonathan Bernier, TOR (-5)
10 Frederik Andersen, ANA (-3) 25 Antti Raanta, CHI (-1)
11 Braden Holtby, WSH (-1) 26 Cam Talbot, NYR (-1)
12 Jaroslav Halak, NYI (-3) 27 Jake Allen, STL (-1)
13 Ryan Miller, VAN (+3) 28 Alex Stalock, SJS (-1)
14 Michael Hutchinson, WPG (-2) 29 Curtis McElhinney, CBJ (SAME)
15 Jonathan Quick, LAK (-2) 30 Robin Lehner, OTT (NEW)

Dropped out: Carter Hutton, Anton Khudobin, Joni Ortio

Key injuries: Sergei Bobrovsky, Jimmy Howard, Craig Anderson, Martin Jones, Michal Neuvirth

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