Originally written September 24, 2013 on Fantasy Sports Locker Room:
Columbus-blue-jackets
Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues Jaroslav Halak is a goalie that’s definitely on my fantasy radar this upcoming season. He has all the tools to be a solid number one goalie, but draft him as number two with the potential to be a number one. He has great value for where he’s getting drafted which will typically be between the 12-15 goalie range. Owners who had Halak last year may not bother this year because of his recent trend of injuries and because of the split starts he shares with Brian Elliot. Halak is the goalie to own in St. Louis though, and he was solid to start last season before injuries derailed his season. According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun though, the timeshare is over. Halak will head into the season as the club’s No.1. Having said that, Elliot will still appear in more games than say, Nikolai Khabibulin who is back in Chiacgo. Halak came to camp having trimmed his body fat from 14 to eight percent. This a very important year for him as he is on the final year of a three-year deal. The Blues are close to making some noise and they need him to show just a glimpse of the magic he was possessed with during Montreal’s playoff run before he signed with St. Louis. One thing Halak has going for him is how defensively sound the Blues are. They are a great defensive team that doesn’t give up much. Over the past two seasons St. Louis has been in the top five in almost every defensive category including shots allowed. I would rather that, than someone like Cam Ward – who will play plenty in Carolina, but he’ll be apart of plenty 6-5 games that I don’t want anything to do with. Halak is a solid source of shut-outs as well, wins, save percentage and goals against. Players tend to come up big when they need a new contract.   Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals Braden Holtby won the starting job in Washington last year after a slow start to his season. He reeled off eight wins over his last nine starts while showing a ton of confidence between the pipes. (Getty Images) Braden Holtby still doesn’t have a ton of NHL experience, but he’s put up some very solid numbers in his first full (48 games) season. He boasts a career .923 save percentage and a 2.39 goals against average. He should see plenty of wins this season in an improved Capitals squad that saw their MVP – Alex Ovechkin – come back into form last season. Holtby’s 23 wins were the second highest last season and his four shutouts were one off the league lead. Holtby is in line for a break-out season he has the potential to crack the top 10 fantasy goalie rankings at season’s end.   Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota Wild Niklas Backstrom didn’t have the strongest numbers last season including his .909 save percentage, but he did finish in a tie for the league lead with 24 wins in last year’s NHL shortened season. He should win around 33 games with an improving Minnesota Wild team. He’s typically a solid fantasy goalie with a low GAA and save percentage and he’ll finish inside the top 10 in the league in wins. Something I wouldn’t mind having on my roster.   Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche A lot of changes in Colorado this upcoming season and nowhere to go but up for the last place in the West  Avalanche. No. 1 pick Nathan Mackinnon is now on board. Also, on board is new Head Coach and one the best goalies this game as ever seen in Patrick Roy. That’s got to help Varlamov a tad, don’t you think!? His save percentage won’t blow you away but he’ll get a ton of starts and has the potential to be solid late pick to help you get some wins. The Avs should be an improved team this year. Let’s remember they were missing Ryan O’Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog for much of the season.   Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars Kari Lehtonen owns a .917 save percentage over the last three seasons which ranks 12th among goalies with at least 100 games played. He’s the number one goalie in Dallas and he should be in line for a solid campaign and a decent #2 goalie on your team. Another solid note on Lehtonen is he’s a fan of the new rule change making goalie pads shorter. Lehtonen thinks it will make him more flexible.   Evgeni Nabokov, New York Islanders Evgeni Nabokov sure doesn’t get a lot of credit, but the Islanders would not have made the playoffs for the first time since 2007 without him. Nabokov was vital to the Islanders playoff push and his 23 victories last year were ranked tied for 2nd in the league. The Islanders are a team on the rise and Nabby is the clear cut starter for the Isles. He should be right up there amongst the top in wins once again which makes him a viable fantasy option.   Ray Emery, Philadelphia Flyers The goaltending situation in Philadelphia is again a question mark going into the season, but I like Emery’s chances. After going 17-1 as a backup last season, many appointed it to his supporting cast in Chicago. I don’t care who your supporting cast is… a 17-1 record to go along with a 1.94 GAA and 92.2 save percentage is unbelievable. Yes, Steve Mason came in last season and played admirably for the Flyers, but Emery’s brilliance last season I think will give him first crack at the #1 job. Flyers will be an improved team as well this season. They weren’t as bad as their record last season, but keep an eye on who takes the net and runs with it in Philly. The post Fantasy Hockey Goalies: Outside the top 10 appeared first on Fantasy Sports Locker Room.
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