Fantasy hockey rankings – The “set it and forget it” all stars


Life can get in the way of fantasy sometimes. You don’t necessarily have the focus and time to stay on top of your fantasy roster week in and week out. It happens. And it’s OK.

When it comes to the skaters on your roster, they can do OK for prolonged periods of time without constant attention. Aside from making changes to your injured reserve, you can compete in fantasy with a standing roster of skaters.

Goaltenders, on the other hand, require a little more attention.

Through a combination of scheduling, crease timeshares and on-ice success, it’s not quite as easy to set and forget your keepers.

But there are some attributes that make certain goaltenders more appealing to those who may go a week between roster check-ins. Let’s whittle down the list.

First, let’s eliminate goaltenders that start fewer than 70 percent of their team’s games. This gets us down to the true workhorses of the league. You need that to account for some weeks with lighter schedules and to get the counting stats you need from playing time.

So our initial list of goaltenders for the less-attentive fantasy manager includes Darcy Kuemper, Tristan Jarry, Juuse Saros, Andrei Vasilevskiy, John Gibson, Philipp Grubauer, Jordan Binnington, Cam Talbot, Robin Lehner, Thatcher Demko, Ilya Sorokin, Jack Campbell, Frederik Andersen, Jacob Markstrom, Igor Shesterkin and Connor Hellebuyck. I’m inclined to give Carter Hart a small bump here, as he has played 69.1 percent of the Philadelphia Flyers minutes in the crease this season, so let’s also include him.

Next, we want to do a quick run through the list to decide if there are any injuries that could impact how this share of the crease continues. Kuemper, Sorokin and Campbell get flagged here, as Pavel Francouz, Semyon Varlamov and Petr Mrazek have spent the bulk of the season injured. Among them, Sorokin appears to be back to a 50-50 crease share with Varlamov of late, and his stats have plummeted since Varlamov returned to the club. It’s something we’ve seen before, as neither goaltender tends to thrive when there is internal pressure for playing time. So Sorokin isn’t a good choice for the set-it-and-forget-it fantasy manager.

The rubber hits the road now, as playing time has to be converted into fantasy points. So we’ll take any goaltender scoring below 3.00 fantasy points per 60 minutes (FPP60) and consider removing them from this list.

Flagged for low production are: Kuemper (2.59 FPP60), Vasilevskiy (2.97), Grubauer (-0.07), Binnington (2.70), Talbot (2.30), Lehner (2.45), Demko (1.42), and Hellebuyck (2.93).

Vasilevskiy and Hellebuyck are close and their teams have been below expectations, so we can give them a pass. Lehner’s team has been dealing with a painful amount of key injuries, so I’m tempted to give him a pass, too — especially with Mark Stone back and Max Pacioretty close.

We can cut Grubauer and Demko easily, as their production is just not good enough.

Binnington’s production is close and, digging a bit deeper, we can see he’s suffered two shorthanded goals against already, which are rarely the goaltenders fault but still count against them. He can move on. Talbot doesn’t have any shorties counting against him this season and his even-strength save percentage of .908 is 43rd among 54 goaltenders with at least 200 minutes. Talbot gets cut.

And this was Kuemper’s second flag. Pavel Francouz is facing pucks and potentially edging closer to a return (it’s been a while; his last regular season game was prior to the pandemic). And Kuemper’s even-strength save percentage isn’t much better than Talbot’s (39th out of 54). We’ll cut him, too.

That ultimately leaves us with 12 goaltenders that survived the culling to earn the label as “safe” plays to leave in your lineup all the time: Jarry, Saros, Vasilevskiy, Gibson, Binnington, Lehner, Campbell, Andersen, Markstrom, Shesterkin, Hellebuyck and Hart. And remember, we gave Binnington, Lehner and Hart excuses to let them make this list.

It’s interesting to see the list in hindsight, as Gibson might have been the only one not taken in most fantasy drafts at the start of the season. This will change, surely, as the ebbs and flows of the season continue. But if you think you are going to be busy in the weeks ahead and maybe won’t be on top of your lineup, focus on a trade for one of these goaltenders to secure your roster.

Forwards on the move

Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (down eight spots to No. 43): We’ve had six games of Crosby back with the Pens now. The past five have been with his familiar line mates of Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel. The 1.1 fantasy points per game (FPPG) is just not going to cut it from Crosby. Perhaps they just need to shake some, ahem, rust off after a start to the campaign that included injuries to Crosby and Rust, but the clock is ticking. It’s definitely the power play that is the source of woe, as the Pens advantage ranks dead last in the NHL with just 11.1 percent conversion. We are still likely a month away from a potential return of Evgeni Malkin to help there, too.

Mark Stone, W, Vegas Golden Knights (up 23 spots to No. 58): Just returning to action himself wasn’t quite enough to get Stone back to where he belongs in the rankings. But word that Max Pacioretty is skating and eyeing a return soon is. The duo only got two games in at the start of the season before injuries struck. They should be back in business as top-end fantasy wingers on either side of Chandler Stephenson in the next week or so. And just imagine what there potential could be if Jack Eichel can squeeze in a month at the end of the season as their pivot.

Matt Duchene, C/W, Nashville Predators (up 39 spots to No. 72): You might see 12 goals in 18 games and think Duchene is due for a cold streak. Certainly his 21.4 percent shooting is high, but it’s not without precedent. In his 2018-19 stint with the Ottawa Senators, Duchene matched that shooting percentage to the decimal point over 50 games. The Predators power play is due to get back one of its best weapons in Filip Forsberg soon, too.

Defensemen on the move

Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche (up 18 spots to No. 36): While Makar gets the boost in the rankings befitting of a three-game run with 17.8 fantasy points, don’t get consumed by it. The games came against the Vancouver Canucks, Seattle Kraken and Ottawa Senators, arguably three of the more pliable defenses in the NHL. And the fact remains that Bowen Byram showed signs of stealing some of Makar’s fantasy thunder when he was healthy. At 2.7 FPPG at the moment, this might be Makar’s value peak.

Zach Werenski, D, Columbus Blue Jackets (up 15 spots to No. 63): The Blue Jackets offense is finding some rhythm, even with Patrik Laine sidelined. One of the best things to see with the groove is that Werenski is being set loose offensively. He is second in the NHL for shots by a defenseman. Max Domi is back with the club now and if Laine can return to further bolster the power play in early December, Werenski still has room to grow.

play

0:46

Zach Werenski scores late in the third period to give the Blue Jackets the lead.

Goaltenders on the move

Mikko Koskinen, G, Edmonton Oilers (up 17 spots to No. 104): This bump comes with an asterisk that says, “Ride the hot hand.” Whether that be Koskinen or Stuart Skinner, the Oilers crease is open season for a while longer. Setbacks and long-term injured reserve have been the main news from Mike Smith‘s current injury — not good tidbits for a player already defying odds for health at 39. Skinner is the current hot hand, but Koskinen has done more overall this season.

New to rankings

William Karlsson (still a few weeks before he’s healthy), Jared McCann, Ryan Suter, Justin Braun (another defensman quietly racking up points from hits and blocked shots), Vladislav Gavrikov, Pavel Zacha, Valeri Nichushkin (can the hot streak continue once Nathan MacKinnon is back?), Tage Thompson.

Just missed

Phillip Danault, Bowen Byram, Stuart Skinner, Jason Zucker, Kevin Fiala, Yanni Gourde, Trevor Zegras, Brett Pesce, Scott Mayfield, Jaccob Slavin, Ryan Hartman, Damon Severson, P.K. Subban, Zach Whitecloud.

Dropped out

Philipp Grubauer, Keith Yandle (power play or not, he’s doing nothing), Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Jeff Petry (maybe he can come back if the Habs fix offense), Adin Hill, Evgenii Dadonov (others getting healthy will reduce his role), Anthony Beauvillier, Craig Anderson.

Top-250 rankings

1. Connor McDavid, F, EDM (F1)
2. Leon Draisaitl, F, EDM (F2)
3. Alex Ovechkin, F, WSH (F3)
4. Auston Matthews, F, TOR (F4)
5. Roman Josi, D, NSH (D1)
6. Mikko Rantanen, F, COL (F5)
7. David Pastrnak, F, BOS (F6)
8. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB (G1)
9. Mika Zibanejad, F, NYR (F7)
10. Brad Marchand, F, BOS (F8)
11. Nathan MacKinnon, F, COL (F9)
12. Frederik Andersen, G, CAR (G2)
13. Anze Kopitar, F, LA (F10)
14. Dougie Hamilton, D, NJ (D2)
15. Andrei Svechnikov, F, CAR (F11)
16. Adam Fox, D, NYR (D3)
17. Sebastian Aho, F, CAR (F12)
18. Aleksander Barkov, F, FLA (F13)
19. Vladimir Tarasenko, F, STL (F14)
20. Juuse Saros, G, NSH (G3)
21. Igor Shesterkin, G, NYR (G4)
22. Mitch Marner, F, TOR (F15)
23. Kyle Connor, F, WPG (F16)
24. Timo Meier, F, SJ (F17)
25. Gabriel Landeskog, F, COL (F18)
26. Jack Campbell, G, TOR (G5)
27. Elias Lindholm, F, CGY (F19)
28. John Carlson, D, WSH (D4)
29. Charlie McAvoy, D, BOS (D5)
30. Artemi Panarin, F, NYR (F20)
31. Steven Stamkos, F, TB (F21)
32. Victor Hedman, D, TB (D6)
33. Kirill Kaprizov, F, MIN (F22)
34. Ilya Sorokin, G, NYI (G6)
35. Jacob Markstrom, G, CGY (G7)
36. Cale Makar, D, COL (D7)
37. Aaron Ekblad, D, FLA (D8)
38. Seth Jones, D, CHI (D9)
39. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, F, EDM (F23)
40. Mark Scheifele, F, WPG (F24)
41. Robin Lehner, G, VGS (G8)
42. Brady Tkachuk, F, OTT (F25)
43. Sidney Crosby, F, PIT (F26)
44. Jake Guentzel, F, PIT (F27)
45. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, FLA (G9)
46. Kris Letang, D, PIT (D10)
47. Darnell Nurse, D, EDM (D11)
48. Patrick Kane, F, CHI (F28)
49. Tyler Bertuzzi, F, DET (F29)
50. Miro Heiskanen, D, DAL (D12)
51. Brent Burns, D, SJ (D13)
52. Tristan Jarry, G, PIT (G10)
53. Evgeny Kuznetsov, F, WSH (F30)
54. J.T. Miller, F, VAN (F31)
55. Jonathan Huberdeau, F, FLA (F32)
56. Chris Kreider, F, NYR (F33)
57. Alex DeBrincat, F, CHI (F34)
58. Mark Stone, F, VGS (F35)
59. Zach Hyman, F, EDM (F36)
60. Jordan Binnington, G, STL (G11)
61. Patrice Bergeron, F, BOS (F37)
62. Drake Batherson, F, OTT (F38)
63. Zach Werenski, D, CLS (D14)
64. Connor Hellebuyck, G, WPG (G12)
65. Carter Hart, G, PHI (G13)
66. Elvis Merzlikins, G, CLS (G14)
67. Tyler Seguin, F, DAL (F39)
68. Logan Couture, F, SJ (F40)
69. Neal Pionk, D, WPG (D15)
70. John Gibson, G, ANA (G15)
71. Darcy Kuemper, G, COL (G16)
72. Matt Duchene, F, NSH (F41)
73. Bryan Rust, F, PIT (F42)
74. Alex Pietrangelo, D, VGS (D16)
75. Pierre-Luc Dubois, F, WPG (F43)
76. Max Pacioretty, F, VGS (F44)
77. Adam Henrique, F, ANA (F45)
78. John Tavares, F, TOR (F46)
79. Sean Couturier, F, PHI (F47)
80. Tony DeAngelo, D, CAR (D17)
81. Matthew Tkachuk, F, CGY (F48)
82. Troy Terry, F, ANA (F49)
83. Dylan Larkin, F, DET (F50)
84. Elias Pettersson, F, VAN (F51)
85. Mathew Dumba, D, MIN (D18)
86. Ivan Provorov, D, PHI (D19)
87. Patrik Laine, F, CLS (F52)
88. Jordan Eberle, F, SEA (F53)
89. David Perron, F, STL (F54)
90. Victor Olofsson, F, BUF (F55)
91. Sam Bennett, F, FLA (F56)
92. Moritz Seider, D, DET (D20)
93. Oliver Bjorkstrand, F, CLS (F57)
94. Brock Nelson, F, NYI (F58)
95. Claude Giroux, F, PHI (F59)
96. Josh Norris, F, OTT (F60)
97. Vincent Trocheck, F, CAR (F61)
98. Anthony Duclair, F, FLA (F62)
99. Teuvo Teravainen, F, CAR (F63)
100. Filip Forsberg, F, NSH (F64)
101. Boone Jenner, F, CLS (F65)
102. Taylor Hall, F, BOS (F66)
103. Cam Talbot, G, MIN (G17)
104. Mikko Koskinen, G, EDM (G18)
105. Joel Eriksson Ek, F, MIN (F67)
106. Devon Toews, D, COL (D21)
107. Ondrej Palat, F, TB (F68)
108. William Nylander, F, TOR (F69)
109. Erik Karlsson, D, SJ (D22)
110. Tom Wilson, F, WSH (F70)
111. Nicklas Backstrom, F, WSH (F71)
112. Mats Zuccarello, F, MIN (F72)
113. Ryan O’Reilly, F, STL (F73)
114. Alec Martinez, D, VGS (D23)
115. Mario Ferraro, D, SJ (D24)
116. Brayden Point, F, TB (F74)
117. Johnny Gaudreau, F, CGY (F75)
118. MacKenzie Weegar, D, FLA (D25)
119. Viktor Arvidsson, F, LA (F76)
120. Thomas Chabot, D, OTT (D26)
121. Lucas Raymond, F, DET (F77)
122. Artem Zub, D, OTT (D27)
123. Nick Suzuki, F, MON (F78)
124. Tyson Barrie, D, EDM (D28)
125. Quinn Hughes, D, VAN (D29)
126. Ilya Samsonov, G, WSH (G19)
127. Jesse Puljujarvi, F, EDM (F79)
128. Jacob Trouba, D, NYR (D30)
129. Rickard Rakell, F, ANA (F80)
130. Andrew Copp, F, WPG (F81)
131. Jack Hughes, F, NJ (F82)
132. Ryan Getzlaf, F, ANA (F83)
133. Alex Killorn, F, TB (F84)
134. Jordan Kyrou, F, STL (F85)
135. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, ANA (D31)
136. Brock Boeser, F, VAN (F86)
137. Ryan Graves, D, NJ (D32)
138. Tomas Hertl, F, SJ (F87)
139. Andrew Mangiapane, F, CGY (F88)
140. Jaden Schwartz, F, SEA (F89)
141. Ryan Strome, F, NYR (F90)
142. Blake Wheeler, F, WPG (F91)
143. Alex Iafallo, F, LA (F92)
144. Evan Bouchard, D, EDM (D33)
145. Colton Parayko, D, STL (D34)
146. Nikolaj Ehlers, F, WPG (F93)
147. Drew Doughty, D, LA (D35)
148. T.J. Oshie, F, WSH (F94)
149. Brayden Schenn, F, STL (F95)
150. Nazem Kadri, F, COL (F96)
151. Shea Theodore, D, VGS (D36)
152. Jonathan Marchessault, F, VGS (F97)
153. Jared Spurgeon, D, MIN (D37)
154. Roope Hintz, F, DAL (F98)
155. Cam Atkinson, F, PHI (F99)
156. Mike Smith, G, EDM (G20)
157. Brayden McNabb, D, VGS (D38)
158. Anton Lundell, F, FLA (F100)
159. Travis Konecny, F, PHI (F101)
160. Andre Burakovsky, F, COL (F102)
161. Adam Larsson, D, SEA (D39)
162. Bo Horvat, F, VAN (F103)
163. Mark Giordano, D, SEA (D40)
164. Jeff Carter, F, PIT (F104)
165. Sam Reinhart, F, FLA (F105)
166. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, ARI (D41)
167. Nikita Kucherov, F, TB (F106)
168. Max Domi, F, CLS (F107)
169. Chandler Stephenson, F, VGS (F108)
170. Mathew Barzal, F, NYI (F109)
171. Nate Schmidt, D, WPG (D42)
172. Jakob Chychrun, D, ARI (D43)
173. Jason Robertson, F, DAL (F110)
174. Nico Hischier, F, NJ (F111)
175. Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB (D44)
176. Jakub Voracek, F, CLS (F112)
177. Joshua Morrissey, D, WPG (D45)
178. Torey Krug, D, STL (D46)
179. Cam Fowler, D, ANA (D47)
180. Brandon Tanev, F, SEA (F113)
181. Ryan Pulock, D, NYI (D48)
182. Joel Farabee, F, PHI (F114)
183. Mike Hoffman, F, MON (F115)
184. Anthony Mantha, F, WSH (F116)
185. Pavel Buchnevich, F, STL (F117)
186. Brandon Saad, F, STL (F118)
187. Samuel Girard, D, COL (D49)
188. Esa Lindell, D, DAL (D50)
189. Jonathan Quick, G, LA (G21)
190. Morgan Rielly, D, TOR (D51)
191. Conor Garland, F, VAN (F119)
192. Anthony Cirelli, F, TB (F120)
193. Martin Necas, F, CAR (F121)
194. Oliver Wahlstrom, F, NYI (F122)
195. Ben Chiarot, D, MON (D52)
196. Mikael Granlund, F, NSH (F123)
197. Blake Coleman, F, CGY (F124)
198. Joe Pavelski, F, DAL (F125)
199. Anders Lee, F, NYI (F126)
200. Jonas Brodin, D, MIN (D53)
201. J.T. Compher, F, COL (F127)
202. Ryan Johansen, F, NSH (F128)
203. Thatcher Demko, G, VAN (G22)
204. Mackenzie Blackwood, G, NJ (G23)
205. James Reimer, G, SJ (G24)
206. Alexander Radulov, F, DAL (F129)
207. Ryan Ellis, D, PHI (D54)
208. Rasmus Dahlin, D, BUF (D55)
209. Andreas Athanasiou, F, LA (F130)
210. Braden Holtby, G, DAL (G25)
211. Charlie Coyle, F, BOS (F131)
212. Carter Verhaeghe, F, FLA (F132)
213. Jonathan Dahlen, F, SJ (F133)
214. Danton Heinen, F, PIT (F134)
215. Vince Dunn, D, SEA (D56)
216. Lawson Crouse, F, ARI (F135)
217. Filip Hronek, D, DET (D57)
218. Ivan Barbashev, F, STL (F136)
219. Tyler Toffoli, F, MON (F137)
220. Robert Hagg, D, PHI (D58)
221. Jamie Benn, F, DAL (F138)
222. Rasmus Andersson, D, CGY (D59)
223. Paul Stastny, F, WPG (F139)
224. Connor Murphy, D, CHI (D60)
225. Clayton Keller, F, ARI (F140)
226. Alexander Wennberg, F, SEA (F141)
227. William Karlsson, F, VGS (F142)
228. Radko Gudas, D, FLA (D61)
229. Justin Faulk, D, STL (D62)
230. Semyon Varlamov, G, NYI (G26)
231. Jared McCann, F, SEA (F143)
232. Linus Ullmark, G, BOS (G27)
233. Robert Thomas, F, STL (F144)
234. Dominik Kubalik, F, CHI (F145)
235. Jeremy Swayman, G, BOS (G28)
236. Spencer Knight, G, FLA (G29)
237. John Klingberg, D, DAL (D63)
238. Evan Rodrigues, F, PIT (F146)
239. Kirby Dach, F, CHI (F147)
240. Ryan Suter, D, DAL (D64)
241. Jordan Staal, F, CAR (F148)
242. Jake Muzzin, D, TOR (D65)
243. Pavel Francouz, G, COL (G30)
244. Noah Dobson, D, NYI (D66)
245. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, PHI (D67)
246. Justin Braun, D, PHI (D68)
247. Vladislav Gavrikov, D, CLS (D69)
248. Pavel Zacha, F, NJ (F149)
249. Valeri Nichushkin, F, COL (F150)
250. Tage Thompson, F, BUF (F151)



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