Five-Hole Friday: Goalie Talk and Rankings for Week 3
It appears as if goalies are going to be just fine with smaller pads. Very few of the NHL’s stud goalies are struggling in a way that would hurt your fantasy team in the short and long term. Two pleasant surprises, Semyon Varlamov and Ben Bishop, continue to climb are rankings. Both could easily be in the ‘Risers’ section of our weekly look, but that would be unfair to other netminders climbing the rankings. If both continue to move in the coming weeks, then there will be talk about if one or both can supplant goalies in the top two tiers of fantasy hockey.
There is a minor shuffling within the top ten goalies, but nothing to raise eyebrows. The New York Rangers are nearing the end of a brutal nine game season-opening road trip. Henrik Lundqvist has taken on a lot of rubber, but is still in line to stay in the top five of our rankings. Tuukka Rask is making a lot of noise in regards to the top spot on our list, and deservedly so.
Josh Harding- Minnesota Wild (Owned in 80% of leagues): Usual Wild starter Niklas Backstrom is already missing time to injuries. Josh Harding has been considered one of the best back-up goalies in the NHL, and is good as a starter in a limited amount of games. If you are a Backstrom owner, Harding is a must-handcuff if your league is lenient on the amount of goaltenders you can have on your roster.
Evgeni Nabokov- New York Islanders (100%): Nabokov is no spring chicken, but he is on a team that will be in the playoff hunt all season. His 2.25 goals against average 92.5 save percentage rank in the top 20, and the wins will pile up as long as the injury bug stays away.
Jonathan Bernier- Toronto Maple Leafs (100%): James Reimer is expected to miss time after a collision with his teammate Thursday night, but Bernier was expected to get more starts prior to the mishap. If Reimer’s injury is head-related, Bernier could be in line for a good chunk of starts. He is batting 1.000 in starts and wins in those starts, and his GAA and save percentage are in the top ten of the NHL. Toronto is playing great hockey, which can only keep Bernier’s stock on the rise.
Kari Lehtonen- Dallas Stars (93%): Kari Lehtonen is hurt, surprise surprise. Dallas needs him healthy to be a playoff contender, so any/this injury have to be minor. It appears as if Lehtonen will be back this weekend, but hold off on playing him until he survives one or two starts after his return. When healthy, Kari is an automatic top 20 netminder. He already has two wins in three starts, and a sexy 1.57 GAA.
Martin Brodeur- New Jersey Devils (24%): Brodeur’s swan song season went into the dumps much quicker than even I thought it would. A goals against over three and an 88 save percentage only paint part of the picture. His reaction time is slower than molasses and rebounds are there for the taking. Brodeur is not a player to touch, especially with Corey Schneider around and New Jersey stuck in neutral offensively.