Fantasy Hockey Rewind — Goalie Madness

Our Fantasy Best Goaltenders

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Tuukka Rask

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season brought about some very unexpected results. We will delve back and forth between offensive and goaltending categories and numbers. Hopefully later next week, there will also be a focus on fantasy hockey impacts as almost all of the consequential signings should be done.

What did we do? It is simple. Just take three simple categories and do a simple ranking structure to come up with the best fantasy hockey goalie of the regular season. That is the key — the regular season!

The introductory post will just list our best three with our results and a brief snippet. After that, subsequent efforts will go deeper into the categories and more. Maybe we will even kind of handicap what could happen for the 2014-15 season. After all, we do have a schedule to work with.

What were the categories chosen? For simplicity’s sake, wins, goals against average, and save percentage were used while shutouts slightly factored into the decision making process as an intangible of sorts. Fantasy hockey fans, bottom lines for rewinds are key to start and then we can go deeper later. Our minimum criteria was 40 games.

Wins-Goals Against-Save Percentage

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People are going to wonder why we included Carey Price and that was because of his Olympic performance but also to illustrate how many shots a game Semyon Varlamov faced which drove up his goals against average. Considering how porous the Colorado Avalanche defense was, could Price produce the same numbers as Varlamov? Okay, we can settle that another time. When it comes down to it, these were the four best goalies in the league, no question, but Varlamov got our nod because of the wins total and save percentage under fire. Believe us when I say it was razor thin close.

So let us sum this up. Our three best goalies were Semyon Varlamov, Ben Bishop, and Tuukka Rask. Rask not surprisingly won the Vezina Trophy by the way. Needless to say he did not win it because of his performance in the playoffs against Montreal, which is a team he has had trouble with. All four of the goalies we did numbers on made the playoffs, by the way.

Our points system placed Carey Price into our top three by two points at 15. He was so close but yet so far.

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Third Place — Semyon Varlamov — Colorado Avalanche 

Varlamov had the most trying season of the three netminders with a suspect defense and some off the ice issues (domestic abuse charges which were later dropped). His .927 save percentage was more impressive again given his team was considered one of the “PDO Kings” all year. He narrowly edged Carey Price. Call it a little West bias if you will.

Second Place — Ben Bishop — Tampa Bay Lightning

The reason why Ben Bishop did not place first was his inability to stay healthy. Injuries did hinder some of his numbers. However, the only goalie more fantasy hockey consistent than he was ultimately Tuukka Rask. In fantasy circles, consistency proves to be best, especially in rotisserie categories. If you had Bishop as your starting goaltender from the start, kudos to you as he provided an incredible surprise for his owners who took a considerable gamble.

First Place — Tuukka Rask — Boston Bruins

Yes, Tuukka Rask came down to Earth during the playoffs but in the regular season, nobody did it better. Rask was the only goalie to be in the top two in at least two of the three major categories. His point score of eight was by far and away the tops of all goalies. The reality is all the other netminders could not stack up fantasy hockey wise.

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The fun is only just beginning. When we look at wins, there will be the inevitable can some of these guys do it again? That is when the debates really begin. Thanks for reading.

Chris Wassel writes for XN Sports, The Hockey Writers, Dobberhockey, and many others. He is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has never turned a question away in 10+ years of writing so ask away @ChrisWasselTHW.
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