2016 Outlook: Individually underrated, Crawford plays for one the best puck-possession clubs in the league. His career regular-season numbers -- 147-79-34, .917 save percentage, 2.34 goals against average -- are admirable. His playoff stats are better. Look forward to 55-60 appearances from a netminder geared to serve as an excellent No. 2 in most fantasy leagues (No. 1 in larger groups).
2016 Outlook: Like peas and carrots, Roberto Luongo and South Florida just go together. Bobby Lou quickly returned to the elite statistical level that put his rather pedestrian last couple campaigns with the Vancouver Canucks squarely in the rearview mirror. Whether it's the environment or a mental game for Luongo, he just works in a Florida Panthers uniform. The team in front of him is growing up and, slowly but surely, becoming a contender. He's a workhorse goaltender on the verge of the No. 1 fantasy goaltender tier, but remember that you are buying him for his consistency, not his upside anymore. He may just be the best of the No. 2 fantasy goaltenders -- and that's just fine.
2016 Outlook: Entering the twilight of his career, Miller remains one of the more reliable NHL netminders and a solid fantasy option. Earning the lion's share of starts with the Canucks, the 35-year-old veteran would function nicely as a No. 2 goalie in most conventional fantasy leagues.
2016 Outlook: After serving two years in Jonathan Quick's dense shadow, Jones has been handed the ball upstate in San Jose and told to run, run, run. Exciting stuff for the 25-year-old, who has demonstrated great promise. His career .923 save percentage and 1.99 goals against average over 34 games are impressive, but it is certainly a small sample size. He's never played 20 games in a season, let alone 60. Jones is wading into unchartered waters here and he's bringing his fantasy owners -- and Sharks fans -- along for the ride.
2016 Outlook: Pledging to "play it by ear," GM Jim Nill and head coach Lindy Ruff reportedly intend to take the tandem approach with Niemi and fellow Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen. Which is, in equal parts, a rational strategy that has proven effective for other clubs in recent seasons, as well as an infuriatingly murky scenario for fantasy owners to manage -- at least until the season gets well underway. Both Niemi and Lehtonen have the goods to run with the everyday gig, if a hot streak develops. We advise staying away from either until later draft rounds. If you insist on taking an early flier on one of them, go with the guy management pursued, and signed, this summer (Niemi).
2016 Outlook: Established as the starting goaltender by the time the playoffs rolled around, Petr Mrazek was stellar in the Detroit Red Wings first round loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. While Jimmy Howard will be given a fighting chance to win back his job in the preseason, Mrazek won't cede the spot without a battle. At the very least, this could be a timeshare to open the season. But with two nearly identical sub-par seasons on the books, the safer bet is the up-and-coming Mrazek. At only 23 years old, Mrazek still has some developing to do, which only means he is getting better. He's dominated at every stop in his development, including stellar seasons for the Ottawa 67s in the OHL and the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL. Given that Howard will still see a share of the workload, Mrazek doesn't have upside to be a top-10 fantasy goaltender. But he'll give you better ratios than most other No. 2 netminders.
2016 Outlook: There are two track records that are pulling Craig Anderson's value in different direction. His statistics tell us that he can be among the league leaders for ratios when things are going well for the Ottawa Senators. His injury history suggests he won't have the chance to settle into any kind of a groove to make that happen. Anderson has missed time as much as any goaltender during the past three seasons. Given the inexperience of Andrew Hammond, we have to think Anderson will get first crack at starting if he is healthy. But Hammond defied all logic with his run to the playoffs last season, so it doesn't mean much to say he won't be able to do that again -- Hammond shouldn't have been able to perform like that the first time. With such an illogical question mark looming behind him and the track record for missed time, it's impossible to consider Anderson a No. 1 fantasy goaltender. But if you are careful in your selections and have a backup plan, he could be a high upside No. 2 fantasy goalie. If you do take Anderson, you need to handcuff him with Hammond.
2016 Outlook: It's not like they brought Anton Khudobin over to start 60 games. And young John Gibson's contract still allows for regular competition in the minors. Unless the Ducks have another move in mind, the No. 1 gig is Anderson's to squander. While the 25-year-old has been steady in his still new-ish NHL career, the pressure of expectation is now augmented by several psi.
2016 Outlook: We like Talbot's chances of wrestling the bulk of starts away from Ben Scrivens, based on how well the former New York backup competed in place of Henrik Lundqvist last winter. He was super. That being said, a warning should accompany all fantasy goalies based in Edmonton: the team out front has a distance to go in improving defensively.
2016 Outlook: Robin Lehner has long been viewed as having the talent and makeup to be a starting goaltender in the NHL. While he was the future between the pipes for the Ottawa Senators for a long time, Andrew Hammond "Hamburgled" away that future last season. To be fair, Lehner had his chance to shine several times in the wake of Craig Anderson's injuries and ineffectiveness, but he fell short of hopes and expectations. Lehner was shipped out and landed in the perfect situation for a goaltender on the cusp of earning that starting job. Nothing is standing in Lehner's way to become the Buffalo Sabres permanent starter as they begin to return to being a competitive franchise. It will be a sink or swim trial for Lehner, with Chad Johnson as the only option held in reserve (for now). The team looks a lot more competitive than the franchise that allowed an Eastern Conference worst 274 goals last season and the defense, while not exactly a puck moving crew, can be considered beyond stalwart in their own end. Lehner has a real chance to emerge this season. The key will be to make sure he doesn't do that in a role on your fantasy team where you "need" him to. He makes an excellent No. 3 fantasy goaltender, but don't lean on him for your success until we see how things will progress.
2016 Outlook: One half of another recognized tandem operation, Elliott is stuck battling Jake Allen for starts behind a quality Blues squad. While the two St. Louis netminders banked similar numbers in 2014-15, Allen was enlisted to run with the ball through the postseason, earning the youngster the perceived edge this autumn. That being said, we'll keep watch on who emerges as temporary top dog out of training camp.
2016 Outlook: As already discussed, the Stars are reportedly intend to utilize Lehtonen and Antti Niemi in tandem this season, allowing either the so-called equal opportunity to seize the starting gig on merit. Fine. Again, while this strategy could work well in Dallas' favor, it's a real bugaboo for fantasy owners to figure out. Unless your league is monstrous, look for your No. 1 and 2 netminder elsewhere. If pushed, we like Niemi over Lehtonen as the guy GM Jim Nill and Co. chased this summer.
2016 Outlook: There is a chance that the Toronto Maple Leafs tighten up their defensive play under the sharp eye of new coach Mike Babcock. And if that happens, Jonathan Bernier has more than adequate skill to turn in respectable goaltending ratios. But those stellar ratios, which remember are theoretical, would still only come with a handful of wins. For fantasy purposes, Bernier might not have much use this season. His best chance at value might lie as a late season addition when the Leafs are fully settled into a better defensive game and have a good run at the end of the season. In deep leagues, you may be forced into using Bernier, but make sure he is paired with a stellar No. 1 goaltender if you have to. Averaging his stats with Carey Price might be the only way to make the sum total palatable. Give the team another season to rebuild and Bernier could be the superstar netminder his pedigree has suggested all along.
2016 Outlook: Unless Frederik Anderson falls to pieces, Gibson -- and his two-way contract -- is destined to spend a good portion of 2015-16 in the minors. Especially with the serviceable Anton Khudobin around as backup. We expect great stuff from the 22-year-old in the NHL ... eventually. Give it at least one more year.
2016 Outlook: Capable is a good word to describe Eddie Lack. That's not among the typical words used to describe a goalie we are excited about potentially seizing a starting job in the NHL. While that may be exactly what happens with Lack taking the reins from Cam Ward for the Carolina Hurricanes, it is not something to be all that excited about. The Hurricanes were very bad on defense last season and only added a defenseman known more for his offense (James Wisniewski) to the mix during the offseason. Lack could very well thrive in his chance to become a starting goaltender -- certainly he was capable (there's that word again) when filling in for the Vancouver Canucks for injuries. But thriving for this team would still mean goaltending ratios that are borderline worthy for fantasy purposes and win totals that are less than ideal.