2018 Fantasy Hockey Sleepers

None of these goalies should be your first goaltender pick, but based on your league settings and your draft preferences, goaltenders such as these are capable of 25+ wins, and with the exception of Schneider will be on fringe playoff teams. Keep in mind, these goalies aren’t going to win the Vezina unless something wild happens. But with changing circumstances on their teams and growing potential in some of the younger goaltenders, there is upside. Ideally with a fantasy goaltender you’d like to see 50-60+ starts per season, and winning 60% of those starts. The mean wins of the top 25 goaltenders in the league is 30.36 Wins. If these goalies start and win the projected rate they will be in the top 50% of the starting goalies. The significance of these goaltenders is to bolster the depth at this position on your fantasy team, as these players are due to have rebound years due to differing circumstances, whether it be a change of scenery, improved rosters, or the elimination of crease competition. The VALUE is what makes these goalies effective as they will be available in later rounds as people will scramble to fill empty goalie spots early. This list will give you options in earlier rounds in order for you to stack your team early with perennial scorers and depth D men. Knowing that a goaltender will be available in later rounds doesn’t pigeonhole you into losing points just to fill a goaltender. Based on the breakdown of your league having 3 goalies is a strong move. With larger leagues there will be fewer options for third goalies as there only truly is 20 definitive starters in the league.

Andrei Vasilevskiy – Tampa missed the playoffs by a single point and are pretty much guaranteed to make at least a wild card spot. If Stamkos can remain healthy, and Kucherov continues his development, the Bolts are an incredibly stacked team in the front. After making the cup final and losing to the Blackhawks, the Bolts missed the playoffs this season by a single point. The Bolts are due for a rebound season, potentially topping 100 points. Vassy hasn’t really been truly tested as he had to battle Bishop for the starting role, and has yet to top 40 starts. If Tampa re-signs Budaj they will have the veteran presence and a reliable backup, but little to no competition will be had for the starting job. Because Tampa missed the playoffs, and Vassy didn’t get the starts he would be allotted for this year, you bet he slips in drafts. With a rebound season due, keep this guy marked off on your fantasy lists.

Scott Darling – Darling finds himself on a young developing team that made a strong push towards the playoffs at the end of the year. Carolina is a growing and young team that missed the playoffs by 8 points. Young standouts in Jeff Skinner, Sebastian Aho, Jaccob Slavin and Teuvo Teravainen demonstrate that the Canes could genuinely make a push for a wild card spot if they could maintain consistent goaltending and stable scoring core. Darling deserved a starting spot, but had little chance to advance behind Corey Crawford. His GAA and Save percentage as noted below is pretty astounding, with both stats being the best on this list. While he had the Blackhawks playing in front of him this shouldn’t take away from his depth value, and likely the first season he would be drafted in any fantasy league.

Cory Schneider – After grabbing the first overall pick following a pretty poor season, New Jersey is due for a rebound season. If Hall can remain healthy, and Schneider to remain fairly consistent as he has done for several years. Still managing 20 wins, Schneider faced tonnes of shots this season, and played with a struggling scoring core. With the first overall pick and ideally a healthy Taylor Hall watch the Devils make a comeback in the standings last season. Schneider also has no competition in the crease, making him eligible for most of the wins the Devils. ALSO the value that Kovalchuk could bring to the table in terms of scoring  or whatever his trade value is set at is yet to be determined. But he is a huge wild card for the Devils along with projected first overall Nolan Patrick.

Thomas Greiss – after wrestling the starting job from Jaroslav Halak, Greiss went on a torrid pace at the end of the season. Under new coach Doug Weight, the Islanders just missed the playoffs in the Eastern Conference but showed flashes of brilliance. Similar to Tampa, the Isles decided to turn it on in the end of the season. Greiss is the pick I am least optimistic about, as he may still battle Halak for the starting job. If he can squeak in 55+ starts this season, he can definitely finish 30+ wins this season.

Robin Lehner – The guy faced so many shots this year, no wonder the Sabres did so poorly. With Jack Eichel being the coach, GM and hopefully remaining healthy, the young American is poised for a strong season, potentially topping 70 points by early projections. The Sabres should improve on last season, with several Atlantic Teams likely slipping in the offseason, being a fringe playoff team. Lehner was unfortunately below .500 in his starts, the improving D core, along with developing scoring make Buffalo a strong bet for an improved season.

Last Season Stats.

Player Wins Losses OT Save Percentage GAA
Vasilevskiy 23 17 7 .917 2.61
Darling 18 5 5 .924 2.38
Lehner 23 26 8 .920 2.68
Schneider 20 27 11 .908 2.82
Greiss 26 18 5 .913 2.69

Projected Wins

Player Projected wins
Vasilevskiy 35
Darling 32
Lehner 31
Schneider 29
Greiss 32



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