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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Varlamov's play concerning

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.

The Colorado Avalanche were hoping last season, when they finished last in the Central Division, wouldn't repeat itself. But they're 2-3-1 following their 1-0 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes and are allowing 2.83 goals per game. Some of that falls on goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who made 18 saves on Wednesday.

Varlamov was 41-14-6 with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage and was a Vezina Trophy finalist in 2013-14. Though he regressed last season, the numbers still were good: 28-20-8 with five shutouts, 2.56 GAA, .921 save percentage.

But in four starts this season he has one win, a 3.89 GAA and has allowed 14 goals on 101 shots (.861 save percentage). 12 of those goals have come at even strength. And it's not like Colorado isn't scoring; they have scored 12 goals in his four starts. Varlamov had a 4-1 lead entering the third period of his first start this season against the Minnesota Wild but allowed four goals on 10 shots in the third period in a 5-4 loss.

The Avalanche could turn to Reto Berra (14 percent owned), who had a 35-save shutout against the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 16 and allowed two goals on 40 shots in a 2-1 loss at the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 18. Berra has a 0.85 GAA and a .975 save percentage in three games and is looking much better than Varlamov right now.

"Varly is our No. 1 goalie," coach Patrick Roy told the Denver Post on Wednesday, prior to his start against the Carolina Hurricanes. "It's time for him. He’s been practicing really well."

The Avalanche play their next four games against the Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Hurricanes, so I wouldn't recommend giving up on Varlamov just yet. If he can get his confidence back and has a few solid starts in a row, he could turn things around.


Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils

Schneider has been very good since coming to the Devils prior to the 2013-14 season. Among goalies to play at least 50 games in that span, Schneider entered play Wednesday third with a 2.13 GAA and .924 save percentage. In four games this season he's 2-1-1 with a 1.71 GAA and .937 save percentage. After allowing three goals in his first start, Schneider has allowed four goals in his past three.

The Devils and Schneider have been a beneficiary of the change to 3-on-3 overtime that has limited the number of shootouts this season. Schneider's 13 shootout losses are tied for second-most in the League since the start of the 2013-14 season. Schneider's past three games have gone to overtime but the Devils won two of them during 3-on-3 play.


Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues

Owned in 66 percent of Yahoo leagues, Allen has had a tough start to the season, allowing three goals in each of his three starts. He has a 3.02 GAA and .899 save percentage; last season he was 22-7-4 with four shutouts, a 2.28 GAA and .913 save percentage in 37 games.

The Blues begin a five-game home stand Saturday, during which they'll play four teams that made the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. It's more than likely that Brian Elliott, who is owned in 80 percent of Yahoo leagues, will start the majority of those games. Elliott has been more consistent this season, going 4-0-0 with a 2.01 GAA and .918 save percentage. He's allowed eight goals in four games, but only four at even strength.


Andrew Hammond, Ottawa Senators

Hammond will make his first start of the season Thursday against the Devils and is readily available (42 percent owned). He was 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA, a .941 save percentage and three shutouts in 24 games last season. Hammond has been out since sustaining a groin injury before a preseason game Oct. 1. Craig Anderson has started five of six games for Ottawa.

Anderson (3-1-1) tends to have a high GAA (2.53) but a high save percentage (.924) since he faces a lot of shots. Because of what Hammond was able to do last season during his remarkable run to help the Senators make the playoffs, I expect him to see majority of the action once he is fully healthy. As we saw last season, Hammond was responsible for a lot of people winning their fantasy leagues and should be picked up by those in need of a goalie.


Jaroslav Halak made his season debut for the New York Islanders on Oct. 17 and made 22 saves in a 6-3 win against the San Jose Sharks. He followed that with a 37-save shutout against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He's 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .952 save percentage.

Calgary Flames goalie Karri Ramo cleared waivers Wednesday and was sent to Stockton of the American Hockey League. Ramo is 0-3-0 with a 4.37 GAA and .879 save percentage. He was viewed as the No. 1 entering the season, but now Jonas Hiller, who also has struggled (1-2-0, 3.71 GAA, .867 save percentage), likely will play more. Joni Ortio, who has yet to play this season, could see some time as well.


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

Dropped out: Karri Ramo

Key injuries: Robin Lehner, Andrei Vasilevskiy


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