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Fantasy top 25 goalie rankings for 2017-18

NHL.com lists most valuable standard-league assets for this season

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

Following the NHL Expansion Draft, the 2017 NHL Draft and the beginning of free agency, several teams have new goalies for the upcoming season. The Dallas Stars (Ben Bishop), Calgary Flames (Mike Smith), Philadelphia Flyers (Brian Elliott) and Arizona Coyotes (Antti Raanta) each brought in a new No. 1, the Winnipeg Jets (Steve Mason) figure to be set up for a time-share, and the Anaheim Ducks (Ryan Miller) and Pittsburgh Penguins (Antti Niemi) each acquired a valuable veteran backup.

Looking at the starters who changed teams, Bishop and Smith likely will see the most increased fantasy value as a result.

 

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Bishop was 18-15-5 with a 2.54 goals-against average and .910 save percentage with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Los Angeles Kings last season, but he is joining a Stars team that led the League in goals per game (3.23) in 2015-16 and finished second (3.13) in 2014-15. Dallas signed forward Martin Hanzal and Alexander Radulov to add scoring to a team already with Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza, and its defense should be better after acquiring defenseman Marc Methot in a trade from the Vegas Golden Knights.

Smith should see an immediate boost going to the Flames from the Coyotes, one of the worst scoring and defensive teams in the League. He was 19-26-9 with a 2.92 GAA, a .914 SV% and three shutouts in 55 games last season. He hasn't had more than 19 wins since 2013-14 (27) and hasn't had a GAA under 2.50 since 2011-12 (2.21). Those numbers should improve with the Flames.

Elliott started last season 3-9-1 with an .885 SV% with Calgary but went 20-4-2 with a .925 SV% in his next 27 games, including tying a Flames record with 11 straight wins from Feb. 21-March 19. The Flyers scored 10 fewer goals (222-212) and allowed 12 more (231-219) than the Flames, but Elliott should make more than the 45 starts he made last season if he remains healthy.

Raanta, who was traded to the Coyotes from the Rangers, and Marc-Andre Fleury, who will be the starter for the Golden Knights after spending the first 13 seasons of his NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins, each will see a decline in fantasy value.

One of the biggest surprises last season, Raanta was 16-8-2 with a 2.26 GAA, a .922 SV% and four shutouts in 30 games (26 starts) with the Rangers. Even though he is expected to make more starts this season with the Coyotes as their No. 1, his numbers likely will decline; Arizona allowed 3.15 goals-against per game (28th in NHL) compared to 2.63 (T-12) for New York.

Fleury was 18-10-7 with a 3.02 GAA, a .909 SV% and one shutout in 38 games last season, some of the worst numbers of his NHL career. Given that he was playing for the eventual Stanley Cup champion and will be starting for an expansion team this season, Fleury's fantasy value will take a hit.

Mason, who hasn't been a fantasy asset the past few seasons, could benefit from the move to Winnipeg, depending on how much playing time he gets. Mason has started at least 53 games in three of the past four seasons, but his GAA has increased and his save percentage has decreased each of the past three. The 29-year-old may end up getting his fair share of starts as a mentor to Connor Hellebuyck, 24, who started 53 games last season sharing the Jets net with Michael Hutchinson and Ondrej Pavelec.

Miller, who spent the past three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, likely won't make the 50-plus starts he has each of the past two seasons, but he is a veteran who can play when needed. Ducks starter John Gibson had injury issues last season, and backup Jonathan Bernier went 11-0-2 with a 1.97 GAA and .932 SV% over the final five weeks.

Miller and Niemi, who will back up Matt Murray for the Penguins, are worth handcuffing, or at least keeping an eye on the first few weeks of the season.

Here is an updated look at the top 25 goalies for the 2017-18 season:

1. Carey Price, MTL
2. Matt Murray, PIT
3. Braden Holtby, WSH
4. Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ
5. Jake Allen, STL
6. Cam Talbot, EDM
7. Pekka Rinne, NSH
8. John Gibson, ANA
9. Devan Dubnyk, MIN
10. Martin Jones, SJS
11. Tuukka Rask, BOS
12. Jonathan Quick, LAK
13. Ben Bishop, DAL
14. Corey Crawford, CHI
15. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
16. Brian Elliott, PHI
17. Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL
18. Frederik Andersen, TOR
19. Mike Smith, CGY
20. Cory Schneider, NJD
21. Craig Anderson, OTT
22. Jaroslav Halak, NYI
23. Scott Darling, CAR
24. Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK
25. Robin Lehner, BUF

 

Just missed: Connor Hellebuyck (WPG), Roberto Luongo (FLA - INJ.), Steve Mason (WPG), Jimmy Howard (DET), James Reimer (FLA)

 

READ: April's Top 25 goalie rankings

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