2017 Outlook: Varlamov is one of the more reliable goaltenders in fantasy after appearing in 55-plus games for the third consecutive season. The Avalanche failed to qualify for the playoffs, but the Russian netminder did his part, posting a 27-25-3 record with a .914 save percentage. The 32-year-old is the clear-cut starter on a young Colorado team that boasts several weapons including Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Barrie. The sudden offseason resignation of head coach Patrick Roy raises some questions about the stability of the team, but Varlamov will continue to see loads of action in 2016-17 and should post quality rate stats. Colorado has the potential to be a strong team, but Varlamov has failed to reach 30 wins in back-to-back seasons, so although he sees a ton of playing time, the Avalanche will need to improve their overall play if Varlamov hopes to significantly increase his win total in 2016-17 -- especially in a very tough Central Division.
2017 Outlook: In most fantasy formats, including redraft leagues, look for Murray to be a big reach at the goaltender position based on his success during the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. His run was phenomenal: a 15-6 record, 2.08 GAA and .923 save percentage en route to a Stanley Cup win. Yet, it's important to note that the 21-year-old has just 13 regular-season appearances under his belt, and is not accustomed to the night-in, night-out grind of an 82-game season. Murray broke his hand while playing in the World Cup of Hockey, so he'll get off to a late start to the 2016-17 season. General manager Jim Rutherford insists that veteran backstop Marc-Andre Fleury is not for sale, which means the two Canadian backstops will likely split starts evenly once Murray returns, resulting in a dip in their respective fantasy values. Murray has shown poise and potential, but only time will tell if he is an everyday No. 1 netminder. As a result, he'll be a high-risk/high-reward fantasy option heading into 2016-17.
2017 Outlook: First, the bad news: Dubnyk's incredible down-the-stretch performance after being traded to the Wild two years ago -- a .936 save mark and 1.78 GAA in 39 games -- didn't persist into last season, as he failed to repeat those otherworldly stats. But the good news is that aside from a lack of wins, there wasn't much separating Dubnyk from better-regarded goalies like the Kings' Jonathan Quick, for example. The netminders had the exact same save percentage (.918), similar GAAs (2.33 for Dubs, 2.22 for Quick) and the same number of shutouts (five). The 30-year-old has established himself as a workhorse in Minnesota, and he should be expected to once again handle a hefty workload after starting 66 games last year. His team didn't do a lot of offseason upgrading, but the ongoing development of the Wild's youthful blue line should ensure that Dubnyk remains a top-10 fantasy option between the pipes.
2017 Outlook: Lehner suffered a high-ankle sprain 27 minutes into his Sabres debut, forcing him out of action until January, only to have him reaggravate the injury in March, which limited him to just 21 appearances on the season. The sample size is small, but upon Lehner's return from his first injury, he had five straight games with save percentages over .943, allowing no more than two goals in each contest even though the Sabres surrendered 37.6 shots per game during that span. His .924 save percentage ranked fourth in the league among goalies with at least 20 appearances, and his 2.47 GAA was ahead of both Henrik Lundqvist and Pekka Rinne. His performances so far have been very impressive and with the Sabres deciding not to add an experienced veteran backup netminder, all signs point towards a heavy workload for Lehner. With his ankle still not fully healed in time for the World Cup of Hockey, reaching the 60-game mark may be unattainable, but if he can, it would make Lehner more of an attractive option in net than most realize on an improving Sabres squad. He will be someone to keep an eye on once all the top goalies are off the board in drafts this fall.
2017 Outlook: At this point, it seems like a lifetime ago that Bobrovsky won the Vezina Trophy in 2012-13 as the league's best goalie. Since then, injuries, inconsistency and a Blue Jackets team that has failed to live up to recent expectations amounted to a very disappointing 2.75 GAA, .908 save percentage and 15-19-1 record in just 37 appearances last season. Over the course of his six-year career, Bob has posted marks of 2.54 and .917, so it's probably a safe bet that the 27-year-old will see an uptick in his numbers once the Jackets figure it out – as long as he can stay healthy. Also, Columbus has more than $7 million per season tied up in Bobrovsky for the next three campaigns, so they're going to afford him plenty of rope as their undisputed starting netminder. Pair that with the Russian's past elite play and the fact that career backup Curtis McElhinney doesn't pose much of a threat (if any) to supplant Bob as the No. 1 in Columbus, and it becomes clear that Bobrovksy is one of the biggest fantasy bounce-back candidates between the pipes heading into 2016-17.
2017 Outlook: The Stars have enough offense to make any Dallas netminder valuable in fantasy, but Niemi struggled at times in 2015-16, posting a 25-13-7 record with a .905 save percentage. While the victories piled up for the former Shark, Niemi was exploited in the playoffs, posting a .865 save percentage in five appearances as Dallas bowed out in the second round. The 32-year-old split the crease with Kari Lehtonen last season and will likely continue to do so with the fellow inconsistent Finnish netminder in 2016-17. Niemi is capable of winning games, but his declining save percentage, in addition to a lackluster Dallas defense, makes him a less than impressive choice if you're searching for a fantasy goalie who offers more than just victories.
2017 Outlook: While Halak started only 36 games in 2015-16 due to injury, he managed to string together some decent numbers, posting an 18-13-4 record with a .914 save percentage and three shutouts. Thomas Greiss turned heads in Halak's absence, however, including an impressive postseason in which he posted a .924 save percentage to help the Islanders defeat the Panthers in the opening round. Although Greiss had a fantastic playoff run, Halak should still be the team's starting goaltender come opening night. Halak is a proven No.1 goaltender who is consistent and gives his team a chance to win every game. The 31-year-old will need to stay healthy, but he's strung together nine shutouts over the past two seasons and delivers quality rate stats, so whenever he's getting the call for the Islanders, Halak is never a bad fantasy option.
2017 Outlook: Miller was much better in his second season with Vancouver, even though the stats may suggest otherwise. Appearing in 51 games, Miller's save percentage improved to .916 from .911, though his 2.70 GAA was one of the worst marks of his career. The problem is that the Canucks' blue line isn't particularly reliable or good, and at 36 years old Miller can't be expected to carry the team, especially one that doesn't provide a lot of goal support. The team will be improved with a healthy roster and with new additions Erik Gudbranson and Loui Eriksson, but will still find it difficult to make the playoffs.
2017 Outlook: The demise of Fleury as a starter has been vastly overstated. In 2015-16, the 31-year-old put together a 35-17-6 record with five shutouts on his way to his eighth 30-win season in the past 10. He also posted the lowest GAA of his career, at 2.29. The biggest long-term question for fantasy owners and fans alike is whether or not the Quebec native will have to share starts for the first time as a pro, and what kind of impact not starting every night might have on his game. Based on his postseason run, head coach Mike Sullivan could opt to roll with the 21-year-old Matt Murray once he returns from a broken hand injury, and may even go the route of saving the organization over $5 million in cap space by trading Fleury. However, with Murray on the shelf for the start of the season, the crease will belong to Fleury.
2017 Outlook: Leafs fans were happy on June 20, when general manager Lou Lamoriello swiped right on Andersen and brought the hulking netminder to the center of the hockey universe. And rightfully so, as Andersen is an athletic 6-foot-4, 225-pound established starter who gives the Leafs their first real shot at goalie glory since the Ed Belfour days. He delivered a respectable 22-9-7 record with a .917 save percentage in 43 regular-season games (37 starts) with the Ducks in 2015-16. Also, Anderson's .947 save percentage in five playoff starts was exceptional. The Dane, who recently signed a five-year, $25 million contract with Toronto, will need a bit of time to adjust to the bright lights and intense media scrutiny in his new home, but it shouldn't take long for Andersen to get into a groove once the puck drops. A heavy workload awaits, which is a bit of a concern with his history of injuries -- he was even knocked out of an Olympic qualifying event with an upper-body injury threatening his readiness for the start of the upcoming campaign -- but 30 wins are definitely possible. Just don't expect miracles with his ratios behind such a young team.
2017 Outlook: Steve Mason may be the starting netminder in Philadelphia, but Neuvirth is one of the better backups in the game. The 28-year-old had a fantastic regular season in 2015-16, posting an 18-8-4 record with a .924 save percentage. Neuvirth’s success continued into the postseason, where he helped the Flyers take the Capitals to six games by posting a .981 save percentage in three appearances. While Mason is a talented starting goaltender, he goes through the odd rough patch, so Neuvirth should see some quality playing time in 2016-17. The former Capital is capable of stealing games, as demonstrated by his three shutouts last season, so the Flyers likely won't hesitate to turn to him if he’s outplaying Mason. Look for the Czech netminder to play around the same amount of games he did last season, with the possibility of playing more if he catches fire or Mason struggles.
2017 Outlook: Signed to a two-year deal in the offseason, Ward continues to see his fair share of action in the Carolina crease. The 32-year-old started 51 games in 2015-16, posting a 23-17-10 record with a .909 save percentage. Eddie Lack has failed to impress since arriving in Carolina, so Ward should enter the 2016-17 campaign as the Canes’ starting goaltender. While the veteran has never put up spectacular rate stats, he’s strung together 35-plus wins twice in his career and should benefit from the rise of a young and upcoming Carolina blue line that includes Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin, Noah Hanifin and Haydn Fleury. Ward won't necessarily steal many games, as exemplified by his lackluster total of two shutouts in the past four seasons, but he plays well enough to give his team a chance to win.
2017 Outlook: Talbot arrived in Edmonton last season on the heels of two solid campaigns as Henrik Lundqvist's backup in New York. Acquired to be their No. 1 netminder, Talbot posted a 2.55 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in 56 appearances with the Oilers. Those ratios lagged behind the 2.21 and .926 marks he put up in 2014-15 in an impressive 21-9-4 season on Broadway, which is to be expected given the reduction in quality on the blue line in Edmonton. It was encouraging, however, to see Talbot get close to 60 additional contests under his belt, which essentially doubled his NHL experience to 113 games. Now 29 years old, the Ontario native took the long road to the NHL, spending three seasons in college before spending nearly five seasons in the minors in advance of getting brought up to the NHL, where he has proven to be a useful fantasy commodity. Heading into 2016-17, Talbot will provide value as an above-average, undisputed starting netminder, albeit on a defensively porous Oilers squad.