2014 Outlook: Not much else can be said that hasn't already been said about "King" Henrik; he's established himself as one of the league's truly elite netminders, capable of carrying this Rangers team on his back for long stretches of time. Both the scouting and stats communities agree on Lundqvist's place amongst current goaltending royalty, and to expect anything different than another big season for the Swede is a fool's errand. While he may not again reach the summit of 2011-12 -- when he posted a 1.97/.930 ratios split -- the folks that will be drafting him in the first two rounds will certainly take something along the lines of the 2.05/.926 he posted this past season. The coaching change from John Tortorella to Alain Vigneault may mean more shots get to Lundqvist, but they won't necessarily be good ones, and Vigneault's offensive system should bring about more offense and more chances for wins for Lundqvist.
2014 Outlook: One thing sticks out when peering at Rask's career stats: he's had a remarkable run of final save percentages by season over the past four campaigns: .931, .918, and a pair of .929 marks. This is certainly impressive, though there is some durability concern as we look ahead to 2013-14; it's an inconvenient truth that Rask has never started more than 39 games in any one season, although he did have 56 starts in the regular season and playoffs combined in 2013. However, this is about all the negatives one can find on Rask, and he sits positioned as one of the truly elite No. 1 goalies in fantasy.
2014 Outlook: Despite playing in just 24 games this past season due to injury, Anderson finished the 2013 campaign as the No. 1 goalie (and No. 2 overall player) on ESPN's fantasy hockey Player Rater. The reason? He posted an eye-popping ratios split of 1.69 in goals-against average (you read that correctly), and .941 in save percentage. Save percentage is not a stat that is officially kept by the league -- so the record for it is unofficial as well -- but that mark by Anderson would have set a new bar if it qualified (Brian Elliott is the current all-time seasonal leader with a .940 mark in 2011-12). Ottawa underwent a big psychological change this offseason with the departure of Daniel Alfredsson, but they brought in Bobby Ryan, and are getting Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson back fully healthy. Expect nothing short of another elite fantasy campaign out of Anderson.
2014 Outlook: If Jonathan Quick was the most disappointing fantasy goalie in 2013, Rinne wasn't too far behind: also thought of as an elite option heading into the season, the Predators' franchise netminder finished No. 24 among goalies on the Player Rater, with ratios that fell off considerably (2.43 and .910) from recent seasons, and only 15 wins in 42 starts (a .357 winning percentage, compared to .597 and .516 the two seasons prior). The good news for Rinne (and Nashville) is that the top defenseman prospect in the draft -- Seth Jones -- fell to them at No. 4, and he should bring help to the unit right away, hopefully helping to put 2013 out of mind for Rinne. He may be downgraded a bit based off of last season, but another elite campaign is certainly right around the corner.
2014 Outlook: Despite all the positive comments that have percolated through the media over the past few months, it would seem to be an awkward situation in Vancouver. Luongo appeared to be on his way out of town for months, and just as it looked like we were on the cusp of a trade, it was his crease-mate, Cory Schneider -- the team's starter, mind you -- that was traded instead. In any event, Luongo is back, and there's a new coach behind the bench in Vancouver in John Tortorella. If Torts' system with the Canucks is anything like what he did in New York, this is very good news for Luongo (as Henrik Lundqvist will attest), since defensive responsibility is a key part of that package. And let's face it: this Canucks team still has one of the best defensive groups in the league, along with a lot of offensive firepower up front. There's a distinct possibility that Luongo will finish the season ahead of Schneider in the fantasy ranks, and he's worthy of being selected as a No. 1 in drafts.
2014 Outlook: Unceremoniously dumped by the Flyers in the offseason preceding the 2013 campaign, Bobrovsky only went on to post a Vezina Trophy season in Columbus, and almost single-handedly bring the Blue Jackets back to the postseason. While his work was a sore subject for Flyers fans, it came as little surprise to those who paid attention to Bobrovsky's play in 2010-11 -- when he was a Calder Trophy candidate for much of the season -- as well as his dominant play in the KHL during the lockout -- when he posted a 1.94 goals-against average, 932 save percentage and an 18-3-2 record. Some regression from his 2.00/.932 numbers is expected, but given that he only turns 25 years old this fall, the consensus is that many standout seasons (both in real life, and for fantasy purposes) are on the horizon. And remember, Columbus has a collection of young talent around him that will only get better as time marches on. A true No. 1 in fantasy, he's worth that pick in the first few rounds that it'll take to snag him.
2014 Outlook: Quick may have been the biggest disappointment of the 2013 fantasy season. A consensus elite option prior to the season -- and a first- or second-rounder in every league -- he wound up in the not-so-coveted No. 30 spot on the Player Rater by season's end. A 2.45 goals-against average and .902 save percentage (after a 1.95/.929 split the season prior) will do that. The good news is that Quick recovered quite nicely in the postseason, to the tune of a 1.86/.934 ratios split, and there will no longer be the distraction of Jonathan Bernier as his backup, as the latter was shipped to Toronto this offseason. Expect something in the range of 70 starts, along with ratios between his marks from 2010-11 (2.24/.918) and 2011-12 (1.95/.929). So yes, he's worth that high pick that will be required to snap him up.
2014 Outlook: The Canadiens finished the shortened 2013 season as the Eastern Conference's No. 2 team, but they did so in large part despite an off season by Price. To wit, Price's 2.55 goals-against average was his worst since 2009-10, and his save percentage of .905 was his worst since 2008-09. He's a nice candidate for a bounce-back campaign this season, as the Canadiens' collection of young NHL talent will only get better, and he himself just turned 26 this offseason. He can be drafted as a low-end No. 1, with high-end No. 1 upside.
2014 Outlook: Crawford was a 30-win goalie in both 2010-11 and 2011-12, but his ratio stats were sorely lacking in that latter season (2.72 in goals-against average and .903 in save percentage). He picked a good time to get hot, though, as his regular season work (including 19 wins in 28 starts, 1.94 goals-against average and .926 save percentage) and postseason dominance led to a lucrative, six-year extension this offseason. With much of the Blackhawk core group returning in 2013-14, there's no reason to think that the elite production won't continue, and the fact that the capable Ray Emery has been replaced as the backup by living fossil Nikolai Khabibulin means that we can expect an even greater starting load for Crawford. You'll have to pick him early, but he's worth it.
2014 Outlook: Every recent offseason, it seems, folks are calling for the end of the Red Wings' era of dominance in the NHL. The period before the 2013 campaign was another such time, and yet, Detroit found itself on the doorstep of the Stanley Cup finals yet again. Howard was as big a reason as anyone, finishing seventh among goalies on the Player Rater, with 21 wins, a 2.13 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. Those are a bit better than his career marks, but not significantly so. Furthermore, Howard has proved quite durable, and should start another 60 games or more this season. An elite option.
2014 Outlook: The Penguins' postseason ended early again in 2013, and it was due in part to the fact that Fleury has not performed well recently in the playoffs. For our purposes, however, Fleury's regular season work has been quite superb, and he finished the 2013 campaign as the No. 12 goalie on the Player Rater, with 23 wins (one behind the league lead), a 2.39 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. If we somehow block the recent playoff debacles out of memory, he'd be a fine choice as a low-end No. 1. However, we don't live in that sort of vacuum, and there's every reason to believe that the Pens will operate out of somewhat of a timeshare in net, with reliable veteran Tomas Vokoun certainly capable of handling his end of the bargain. As such, Fleury should be drafted as a No. 2 option, with the hope that he can right the ship.
2014 Outlook: After over a year of trade rumors encircling Roberto Luongo, it was Schneider who was traded this offseason, landing in New Jersey as the heir apparent to the legendary Martin Brodeur. The Devils haven't announced a specific plan on how they'll dole out the starts between the two men -- they aren't required by law to do so, after all -- but one imagines that Schneider will get the favorable side of this timeshare. Long renowned as a shutdown defensive team, the Devils have also had some spark offensively under the guidance of Pete DeBoer, though the loss of Ilya Kovalchuk is devastating. Nevertheless, given Schneider's talent, he can be the guy to pick up a lot of one-goal victories. He's worthy of serving as a No. 1 in fantasy.
2014 Outlook: Consistency is an important trait in life and fantasy sports, and consistency was assuredly not the theme of Hiller's 2013 campaign. He carried a sub-.900 save percentage through January and February -- leading to the rise of Viktor Fasth -- before getting back on track and posting a .928 for March and April combined. This season, he and Fasth will be one of the league's timeshares, though Hiller's name has already been mentioned in trade rumors, as the club also has Team USA orientation camp invitee John Gibson in the pipeline. Though Hiller can be one of the league's elite fantasy netminders when he's on top of his game, he's a risk as a No. 1, and should be used as a No. 2, given all the uncertainty.
2014 Outlook: Somewhat quietly, Niemi put together a great season in 2013, notching 24 wins (tied for the league-high), a 2.16 goals-against average and .924 save percentage; based on the strength of those numbers, he was the No. 5 goalie on ESPN's Player Rater for 2013. Can he repeat that feat? The Sharks maintained their core group heading into 2013-14 for the most part, but the ratios posted by Niemi in 2013 were career-bests by a significant margin. Nevertheless, he's a safe pick as a fantasy team's No. 2, and has No. 1 upside.
2014 Outlook: Like Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne, Smith was projected to be one of the elite fantasy options in goal for 2013, but had a significant drop from his production the season prior: his goals-against average dropped from 2.21 to 2.58, while his save percentage fell from .930 to .910. However, there's a lot of reason to think that he's due for a bounce-back campaign this season: the Coyotes have a new group of owners, and they've kept the team's coaching and management in place. Moreover, the club avoided dealing any significant defensive assets ahead of the trading deadline last season, and this offseason they added Mike Ribeiro, who will bring a significant boost offensively. It's silly to act with certainty like Smith will be back amongst the Top 5 fantasy goalies this season, but drafting him as a No. 2 (and believing that he'll finish as a No. 1) makes perfect sense.