Quality goaltending is crucial to success in fantasy hockey, and choosing the wrong goalie can torpedo your season. So avoid these three netminders in your upcoming drafts:
Corey Crawford was brilliant when healthy during the 2017-18 season, posting a .929 save percentage and a 2.27 goals-against average in 28 games. However, he didn't play beyond Dec. 23 with what the team classified as an upper-body injury, but vertigo-like symptoms was reportedly the issue. Those symptoms also sidelined him for a month during the 2015-16 season.
Crawford is apparently expected to be ready for training camp, but there's no guarantee his vertigo-like symptoms won't return. Even if they don't, can he once again shoulder the load with a team in front of him that's filled with question marks?
Here's Chicago's projected 2018-19 lineup, according to Daily Faceoff:
|Brandon Saad||Jonathan Toews||Alex DeBrincat|
|Nick Schmaltz||Artem Anisimov||Patrick Kane|
|Victor Ejdsell||David Kampf||Dylan Sikura|
|Chris Kunitz||Marcus Kruger||John Hayden|
|Duncan Keith||Brent Seabrook|
|Erik Gustafsson||Connor Murphy|
|Brandon Manning||Jan Rutta|
There's a lot of holes in the team's bottom-six forward group and on the back end. If Crawford isn't as sharp after such a long absence, his goals-against average could balloon, and his save percentage could plummet.
Anyone expecting a bounce-back season from Carey Price should think again. The Hart Memorial Trophy winner in 2014-15 is on the wrong side of 30, has a long history of lower-body injuries, and the dreadful team in front of him hasn't done anything to improve.
While it's clear the Canadiens' roster does impact his play, those who point to that as the sole reason for Price's decline are simply in denial. In the 2017-18 season, Price ranked second last in the NHL among qualified goalies with a -17.77 goals saved above average at five-on-five. GSAA measures goals allowed below the expectation based on shot danger faced, according to Corsica.
Price will likely still be an early fantasy draft pick because of his name value. Even if he falls, you're better off letting someone else deal with the headache of owning him all season.
There's something suspicious about a goalie having a career-year at age 33. In his 14th NHL season, Marc-Andre Fleury posted career bests in save percentage (.927) and goals-against average (2.24), and it's highly unlikely he matches those marks again.
Fleury was sensational during his first 20 games in 2017-18, riding the Golden Knights' early momentum to a .942 save percentage. In his final 26 games, however, he posted a .916 save percentage, which was much more in line with the veteran's career mark of .913.
Fleury doesn't come with as many red flags as the other two goalies. Even though Vegas could deal with some regression, the Golden Knights are still likely a playoff team.
However, in the first five rounds - where you'll likely have to draft Fleury to obtain his services - there will be skaters and goalies available with higher floors and ceilings.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)