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.
The Anaheim Ducks goaltender situation was going to be one worth watching all season.
Frederik Andersen (69 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) was the incumbent and Anton Khudobin (four percent owned) the experienced backup with John Gibson (51 percent owned), who began the season in the American Hockey League, looming.
So far, it's unfolded the way many thought it would; Andersen started early and often, but the Ducks struggled and gave Khudobin some starts. Andersen has been out with the flu since Nov. 21 and missed the past seven games, each of which has been started by Gibson. And though Andersen may return Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes, it'll be hard for coach Bruce Boudreau to sit Gibson, who was named the NHL's first star this past week, going 3-1-0 with two shutouts, an 0.76 goals-against average and a .968 save percentage. Overall, Gibson has gone 4-1-2 with a 1.47 GAA and a .944 save percentage and the Ducks are winning.
Gibson played 23 games last season (13-8-0, 2.60 GAA, . 914 save percentage) after going 3-0-0 and allowing four goals in three games in 2013-14, so he's shown he can produce when given the chance.
Andersen hasn't played in three weeks, so he's sure to be rusty. He's 4-7-4 with a 2.54 GAA and .914 save percentage. Right now, Gibson gives the Ducks the best chance to win and has the Ducks one point out of third place (and a Stanley Cup Playoff berth) in the Pacific Division.
Michal Neuvirth, Philadelphia Flyers
Neuvirth (39 percent owned) wasn't thought of as a backup when he was signed by general manager Ron Hextall, but more of a 1-A to No. 1 goalie Steve Mason (64 percent owned). So far this season, Mason has started 17 games, including four of the past five; Neuvirth has started 13 games.
Despite the starts being in favor of Mason, the numbers are tilted towards Neuvirth (6-3-2, 2.00 GAA, .937 save percentage, three shutouts) as opposed to Mason, who has five wins in 17 games (5-8-4, 2.93 GAA, .905 save percentage).
Neuvirth stopped all 16 shots in relief of Mason in a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday and I'd expect him to start Thursday against the St. Louis Blues or Friday against the Dallas Stars. Those seem like difficult matchups, but Neuvirth has been pulled only once this season and has allowed more than three goals once in 13 appearances.
Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks
There was no way Jones was going to continue at the pace he started, with two shutouts and allowing two goals in the first four games, but after allowing four goals on 20 shots in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, Jones (89 percent owned) is 1-5-0 in his past six starts allowing 18 goals in that stretch.
Backup Alex Stalock (four percent owned) hasn't been great (2-4-0, 2.95 GAA, .891 save percentage) but he's played at least 22 games in each of the past two seasons including a 2013-14 season in which he was 12-5-2 with a 1.87 GAA and a .932 save percentage in 24 games.
Jones was brought to San Jose to be a workhorse, and he has been, but if he continues to allow three or four goals a night, his workload and fantasy value will suffer.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Curtis McElhinney, Columbus Blue Jackets
After an awful start to the season, in which he lost his first six starts and allowed more than four goals in each of his first five games, Sergei Bobrovsky (87 percent owned) was 7-3-1 in his past 12 starts, allowing two or fewer goals in 11, before he sustained a lower-body injury late in the third period of an eventual 3-2 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Bobrovsky will be out at least three weeks.
Columbus plays the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday and the New York Islanders on Saturday and the Blue Jackets likely will turn to McElhinney (four percent owned). McElhinney didn't play that well Tuesday when he replaced Bobrovsky, allowing two goals on seven shots, but it's never easy entering the game cold.
McElhinney doesn't have a win this season (0-4-1) and has allowed 11 goals in four starts, but with Bobrovsky out for three weeks, he's worth looking into. Coach John Tortorella said the Blue Jackets are comfortable with McElhinney in net.
Connor Hellebuyck (27 percent owned) continues to flourish (3-0-0, 0.97 GAA, .965 save percentage) for the Winnipeg Jets while Michael Hutchinson (20 percent owned) has lost eight starts in a row (0-7-1). Hellebuyck has also seen his ownership dwarf that of Hutchinson, who was thought to see most of the starts in the absence of Ondrej Pavelec (50 percent owned).
James Reimer (43 percent owned) missed the past two games for the Toronto Maple Leafs with a lower-body injury, but could return against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 15 when they next play. Toronto will have a full week off, having not played since Tuesday. Rookie Garrett Sparks (11 percent owned) has played in four of the past five games (3-1-0, 2.21 GAA, .921 save percentage).
Karri Ramo (23 percent owned) has started the past three games for the Calgary Flames, winning them all, although he's allowed nine goals on 100 shots. The Flames are playing well now, but none of their goalies [Jonas Hiller (41 percent owned), Joni Ortio (one percent owned)] have posted good numbers; Ramo's are the best of the three (9-8-1, 3.00 GAA, .901 save percentage). If he can limit the goals allowed, Ramo could be a sneaky add.
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.
||Henrik Lundqvist, NYR (SAME)
||Jimmy Howard, DET (+4)
||Braden Holtby, WSH (SAME)
||Martin Jones, SJS (-5)
||Jonathan Quick, LAK (+2)
||Petr Mrazek, DET (-3)
||Pekka Rinne, NSH (SAME)
||Craig Anderson, OTT (+2)
||Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT (-2)
||Kari Lehtonen, DAL (-3)
||Corey Crawford, CHI (+1)
||James Reimer, TOR (DTD)
||Cory Schneider, NJD (-1)
||Semyon Varlamov, COL (+3)
||Ben Bishop, TBL (+2)
||Ryan Miller, VAN (+3)
||Jake Allen, STL (-1)
||Antti Niemi, DAL (+4)
||Devan Dubnyk, MIN (DTD)
||Connor Hellebuyck, WPG (+4)
||Tuukka Rask, BOS (+3)
||Thomas Greiss, NYI (-3)
||John Gibson, ANA (+7)
||Steve Mason, PHI (-3)
||Jaroslav Halak, NYI (+3)
||Anders Nilsson, EDM (NEW)
||Roberto Luongo, FLA (-4)
||Michal Neuvirth, PHI (NEW)
||Mike Condon, MTL (+3)
||Michael Hutchinson, WPG (-3)
Dropped out: Chad Johnson
Key injuries: Carey Price, Robin Lehner, Frederik Andersen, Ondrej Pavelec, Sergei Bobrovsky