Fantasy hockey rankings: Which goalies are trending up?

Cal Petersen of the Los Angeles Kings has won his last three starts. Rob Curtis/Icon Sportswire

It's been a strange month, but we are almost out of the woods (at least, the part of the woods we can see at the moment). After Tuesday night, only one game (the Islanders at the Leafs on Jan. 22) remains postponed. More could come, certainly, but it will be refreshing to be back to an expected schedule again.

During this rough month of COVID-hampered play, we had some disparity in ice time, to be sure. Some teams played as many as 11 times, while the Ottawa Senators, for example, had only four games. With such a range, it's difficult to pin down the fantasy landscape. But perhaps having a closer look at that month (stats back to Dec. 17) will allow us to spot something.

Looking at goaltenders, specifically, we can see how much they've been playing, how much success they've been having and try to spot any trends masked by the bumpy schedule.

Is it finally Calvin Petersen time? I singled out Jonathan Quick as an all-star-worthy goaltender based on fantasy returns last week, but that's based on the bigger picture. If we drill down to the past month's worth of fantasy stats, Petersen stands out. His 7.57 fantasy points per 60 minutes (FPP60) is tops among all goaltenders with any minutes in the crease since Dec. 17, and he's posted that over 180 minutes. Now, Detroit and Seattle being among two of his three opponents certainly takes some of the bite out of that stat, but you can balance it with how rough of a time Quick has been having of late; in 386 minutes since Dec. 17, Quick has posted -1.46 FPP60. I'm not advocating for a changing of the guard, but Petersen could (and should) start to get a bigger piece of the pie than his current 35.6 percent crease share. Having him on your bench and spot starting him if your league allows for it is a good option.

Same situation, but different. I could simply repeat all the things I've said about the Los Angeles Kings netminders and substitute the names Ville Husso for Petersen and Jordan Binnington for Quick. It's eerily similar to the Kings when you look at the performances by these Blues goalies over the past month. If Petersen is not an option in your league, I'd make room for Husso on the bench.

"I don't want a bench goalie, I need a starter!" Fine. Semyon Varlamov finely looks to be in better form and, given his tenure with the club, I think he could get a 50-50 crease share despite his rough start. At least, rotating goaltenders is what the team has done since regular action resumed for the Islanders on Jan. 13. Sorokin remains a top-tier option for fantasy, but so long as Varlamov is also stopping pucks, they should see equal access to starts. This is a defense-first team and Varlamov can put together a half-season as good as any goaltender. The formula is right for second-half success off the waiver wire.

And yet another situation like the previous one. Don't look now, but Pavel Francouz is doing a better job in the Avs crease than Darcy Kuemper since he finally returned to the club. Now, going back a month happens to conveniently leave out Francouz's rough debut against Nashville on Dec. 16, so we'll include it here for posterity. But even with that game in the mix, they've both won four contests since then and Kuemper even got the hook in a pivotal game against the Leafs that Francouz stepped in and won. Since Dec. 16, Francouz has posted a 3.12 FPP60 in 207 minutes, while Kuemper has 3.61 FPP60 in 349 minutes. I think both goaltenders will have fantasy value with a closely split share of the crease going forward -- assuming, of course, that Kuemper's head injury from Monday is minor.

Picking Flower. Only Juuse Saros has been busier in the crease than Marc-Andre Fleury since Dec. 17. And in those 489 minutes, Fleury has posted a perfectly respectable (and very fantasy-friendly) 3.68 FPP60. His season total FPP60 of 2.93 makes him look like he's just on the fantasy bubble, but that 3.68 over the past month is the kind of fantasy production you get from a top-10 goaltender. Even while losing on Monday night, Fleury managed to post 4.0 fantasy points. You could make a case that, despite his team's prospects for sustained success, Fleury might be the better choice over all the aforementioned goaltenders just thanks to expected workload. Now imagine that the Oilers can figure out how to trade for him ... If only.


Fleury lays out to make impressive save

Ryan Poehling and Cole Caufield scramble to tap the puck into the net, but Marc-Andre Fleury completely lays out to swat the puck away.

There are also a few options in net kicking around that didn't put up a lot of stats over the past month. Cam Talbot and Braden Holtby could both be back in their respective creases before the week is out. Talbot has been dropped in decent percentage of leagues thanks to being lit up in two games before his injury, while Holtby remains widely available.

Forwards on the move

Evander Kane, W, free agent (enters ranks at No. 164): If the team interested wasn't in a complete tailspin; if the possible windfall of linemates didn't include some of the best players on the planet; if the fantasy prowess wasn't just so high for the player; if he didn't actually show so well in his very limited AHL ice time this season ... If any of those factors weren't in play, maybe we wouldn't bother ranking Kane due to all the off-ice situations. But this is just the perfect storm to create a fantasy star out of nothing if the Oilers manage to get something done. It's absolutely worth stashing him now in anticipation of a possible return to the ice. You can always cut him later.

Anton Lundell, C, Florida Panthers (up 27 spots to No. 214): I've been a Lundell advocate this season, but I thought that he wouldn't be a factor when everyone on the Panthers was healthy. He's proving me wrong. Despite being on the third line and only getting the faintest whiffs of power-play time, Lundell continues to find ways to score. Keeper leagues need to have him locked down by now, while even redraft could do worse at the back end of the bench. Especially because Lundell has injury replacement upside should any top-six Panthers miss time.

Defensemen on the move

Thomas Chabot, D, Ottawa Senators (up 10 spots to No. 89): We'll let Chabot be the poster boy for schedule disparity's impact on the rankings. These rankings are go-forward rankings, so if a particular team has 51 games remaining when some others have only 41, that's going to have an impact on where they rank. Chabot and the Sens have the most games left, so they have a bigger opportunity to collect counting stats than others around them.

Cam York, D, Philadelphia Flyers (not ranked ... yet): Coach Mike Yeo needs some positives and he is looking in unconventional places. On a team that boasts Ivan Provorov, power-play specialist Keith Yandle and even the experienced Rasmus Ristolainen, it was 21-year-old Cam York running the advantage on Monday in his sixth NHL game. Desperate times (which being 0-6-2 since Dec. 30, and barely a month into switching coaches qualifies as) call for desperate measures. York is a skilled, future fantasy star who already looks at home in the NHL with comfortable minutes. Who knows what Yeo will do going forward, but I've got York on my watch lists for fantasy just in case something sticks. The team is already barely playing Yandle away from the power play, so York might carve out a permanent roster spot here.

New to rankings

Evander Kane, Semyon Varlamov, David Savard, Alex Nedeljkovic, Kevin Fiala (Matthew Boldy is the linemate he's been waiting for), Jeff Skinner, Ryan Lindgren (Adam Fox's defense partner is getting those fantasy stats through osmosis), Tyler Toffoli (almost back to health), Calvin Petersen.

Just missed

Mike Hoffman, Adam Boqvist, Jake Bean, Jakub Vrana, Spencer Knight, Brett Pesce, Paul Stastny, Jason Zucker (getting time with Evgeni Malkin), Nathan Bastian (unexpected, but welcome power-play role), Connor Brown, Ville Husso, Matthew Boldy, Cam York.

Dropped out

Ryan Ellis, Bowen Byram, Nino Niederreiter, Damon Severson (Ty Smith now filling in as PP QB), Victor Olofsson, Max Domi (so quiet this season), Travis Konecny, Jeremy Swayman, Charlie Coyle (out of the top six for now), Vince Dunn.

Top-250 rankings

1. Connor McDavid, F, EDM (F1)
2. Nathan MacKinnon, F, COL (F2)
3. Leon Draisaitl, F, EDM (F3)
4. Auston Matthews, F, TOR (F4)
5. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB (G1)
6. Nikita Kucherov, F, TB (F5)
7. Jack Campbell, G, TOR (G2)
8. Mikko Rantanen, F, COL (F6)
9. Brad Marchand, F, BOS (F7)
10. Alex Ovechkin, F, WSH (F8)
11. Roman Josi, D, NSH (D1)
12. Igor Shesterkin, G, NYR (G3)
13. Cale Makar, D, COL (D2)
14. Adam Fox, D, NYR (D3)
15. Frederik Andersen, G, CAR (G4)
16. Timo Meier, F, SJ (F9)
17. Gabriel Landeskog, F, COL (F10)
18. David Pastrnak, F, BOS (F11)
19. Jake Guentzel, F, PIT (F12)
20. Juuse Saros, G, NSH (G5)
21. Tristan Jarry, G, PIT (G6)
22. Sebastian Aho, F, CAR (F13)
23. Mika Zibanejad, F, NYR (F14)
24. Kyle Connor, F, WPG (F15)
25. Aleksander Barkov, F, FLA (F16)
26. Drake Batherson, F, OTT (F17)
27. Steven Stamkos, F, TB (F18)
28. Charlie McAvoy, D, BOS (D4)
29. Anze Kopitar, F, LA (F19)
30. Elias Lindholm, F, CGY (F20)
31. Kirill Kaprizov, F, MIN (F21)
32. Filip Forsberg, F, NSH (F22)
33. Victor Hedman, D, TB (D5)
34. Jacob Markstrom, G, CGY (G7)
35. Nazem Kadri, F, COL (F23)
36. Brady Tkachuk, F, OTT (F24)
37. Alex Pietrangelo, D, VGS (D6)
38. Patrice Bergeron, F, BOS (F25)
39. Vladimir Tarasenko, F, STL (F26)
40. Aaron Ekblad, D, FLA (D7)
41. Sidney Crosby, F, PIT (F27)
42. Drew Doughty, D, LA (D8)
43. Kris Letang, D, PIT (D9)
44. Artemi Panarin, F, NYR (F28)
45. John Carlson, D, WSH (D10)
46. Seth Jones, D, CHI (D11)
47. John Tavares, F, TOR (F29)
48. Ilya Sorokin, G, NYI (G8)
49. Brayden Point, F, TB (F30)
50. Devon Toews, D, COL (D12)
51. Josh Norris, F, OTT (F31)
52. Jonathan Huberdeau, F, FLA (F32)
53. Bryan Rust, F, PIT (F33)
54. Matthew Tkachuk, F, CGY (F34)
55. J.T. Miller, F, VAN (F35)
56. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, FLA (G9)
57. Chris Kreider, F, NYR (F36)
58. Darnell Nurse, D, EDM (D13)
59. MacKenzie Weegar, D, FLA (D14)
60. Mark Scheifele, F, WPG (F37)
61. Roope Hintz, F, DAL (F38)
62. Tyler Bertuzzi, F, DET (F39)
63. Jack Hughes, F, NJ (F40)
64. Mark Stone, F, VGS (F41)
65. Mitch Marner, F, TOR (F42)
66. Patrik Laine, F, CLS (F43)
67. Zach Werenski, D, CLS (D15)
68. William Nylander, F, TOR (F44)
69. Andrei Svechnikov, F, CAR (F45)
70. Noah Dobson, D, NYI (D16)
71. Mario Ferraro, D, SJ (D17)
72. Joe Pavelski, F, DAL (F46)
73. Johnny Gaudreau, F, CGY (F47)
74. Connor Hellebuyck, G, WPG (G10)
75. Ryan Hartman, F, MIN (F48)
76. Jason Robertson, F, DAL (F49)
77. Brock Nelson, F, NYI (F50)
78. Pierre-Luc Dubois, F, WPG (F51)
79. Alex DeBrincat, F, CHI (F52)
80. Jacob Trouba, D, NYR (D18)
81. Mats Zuccarello, F, MIN (F53)
82. Dougie Hamilton, D, NJ (D19)
83. Jordan Kyrou, F, STL (F54)
84. Thatcher Demko, G, VAN (G11)
85. Morgan Rielly, D, TOR (D20)
86. Dylan Larkin, F, DET (F55)
87. Patrick Kane, F, CHI (F56)
88. Cam Talbot, G, MIN (G12)
89. Thomas Chabot, D, OTT (D21)
90. Miro Heiskanen, D, DAL (D22)
91. Evgeny Kuznetsov, F, WSH (F57)
92. Logan Couture, F, SJ (F58)
93. Matt Duchene, F, NSH (F59)
94. Evgeni Malkin, F, PIT (F60)
95. Boone Jenner, F, CLS (F61)
96. Tony DeAngelo, D, CAR (D23)
97. Brent Burns, D, SJ (D24)
98. Neal Pionk, D, WPG (D25)
99. Joel Eriksson Ek, F, MIN (F62)
100. Zach Hyman, F, EDM (F63)
101. Darcy Kuemper, G, COL (G13)
102. Sean Couturier, F, PHI (F64)
103. Moritz Seider, D, DET (D26)
104. Tom Wilson, F, WSH (F65)
105. Ivan Provorov, D, PHI (D27)
106. Anthony Duclair, F, FLA (F66)
107. Pavel Buchnevich, F, STL (F67)
108. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, F, EDM (F68)
109. Sam Bennett, F, FLA (F69)
110. Troy Terry, F, ANA (F70)
111. Nicklas Backstrom, F, WSH (F71)
112. Erik Karlsson, D, SJ (D28)
113. Alec Martinez, D, VGS (D29)
114. Teuvo Teravainen, F, CAR (F72)
115. Nikolaj Ehlers, F, WPG (F73)
116. Tuukka Rask, G, BOS (G14)
117. Robin Lehner, G, VGS (G15)
118. Elias Pettersson, F, VAN (F74)
119. T.J. Oshie, F, WSH (F75)
120. Elvis Merzlikins, G, CLS (G16)
121. Ondrej Palat, F, TB (F76)
122. Colton Parayko, D, STL (D30)
123. Tomas Hertl, F, SJ (F77)
124. Jordan Eberle, F, SEA (F78)
125. Andre Burakovsky, F, COL (F79)
126. Mathew Dumba, D, MIN (D31)
127. Vincent Trocheck, F, CAR (F80)
128. Oliver Bjorkstrand, F, CLS (F81)
129. Evan Bouchard, D, EDM (D32)
130. Taylor Hall, F, BOS (F82)
131. Andrew Copp, F, WPG (F83)
132. John Gibson, G, ANA (G17)
133. Ryan Pulock, D, NYI (D33)
134. Claude Giroux, F, PHI (F84)
135. Cam Atkinson, F, PHI (F85)
136. Jordan Binnington, G, STL (G18)
137. Jonathan Marchessault, F, VGS (F86)
138. Artem Zub, D, OTT (D34)
139. Samuel Girard, D, COL (D35)
140. Viktor Arvidsson, F, LA (F87)
141. Erik Johnson, D, COL (D36)
142. Zach Whitecloud, D, VGS (D37)
143. Lucas Raymond, F, DET (F88)
144. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, ARI (D38)
145. J.T. Compher, F, COL (F89)
146. Andrew Mangiapane, F, CGY (F90)
147. Quinn Hughes, D, VAN (D39)
148. Alex Iafallo, F, LA (F91)
149. Max Pacioretty, F, VGS (F92)
150. Brock Boeser, F, VAN (F93)
151. Rickard Rakell, F, ANA (F94)
152. Ilya Samsonov, G, WSH (G19)
153. Adam Larsson, D, SEA (D40)
154. Esa Lindell, D, DAL (D41)
155. Mathew Barzal, F, NYI (F95)
156. Valeri Nichushkin, F, COL (F96)
157. Chandler Stephenson, F, VGS (F97)
158. Alex Tuch, F, BUF (F98)
159. Ryan Johansen, F, NSH (F99)
160. Clayton Keller, F, ARI (F100)
161. Ryan Getzlaf, F, ANA (F101)
162. Ivan Barbashev, F, STL (F102)
163. Sam Reinhart, F, FLA (F103)
164. Evander Kane, F, SJ (F104)
165. Jeff Carter, F, PIT (F105)
166. Jonathan Quick, G, LA (G20)
167. Shea Theodore, D, VGS (D42)
168. Pavel Francouz, G, COL (G21)
169. Jesse Puljujarvi, F, EDM (F106)
170. Oliver Wahlstrom, F, NYI (F107)
171. Anthony Cirelli, F, TB (F108)
172. David Perron, F, STL (F109)
173. Tyson Barrie, D, EDM (D43)
174. Carter Hart, G, PHI (G22)
175. Alex Killorn, F, TB (F110)
176. Jared McCann, F, SEA (F111)
177. Mikael Granlund, F, NSH (F112)
178. Ryan Graves, D, NJ (D44)
179. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, ANA (D45)
180. Brayden McNabb, D, VGS (D46)
181. Rasmus Dahlin, D, BUF (D47)
182. Mark Giordano, D, SEA (D48)
183. Connor Murphy, D, CHI (D49)
184. Jakob Chychrun, D, ARI (D50)
185. Bo Horvat, F, VAN (F113)
186. Adam Henrique, F, ANA (F114)
187. Rasmus Andersson, D, CGY (D51)
188. Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB (D52)
189. Ryan O'Reilly, F, STL (F115)
190. Blake Wheeler, F, WPG (F116)
191. James Reimer, G, SJ (G23)
192. Ryan Strome, F, NYR (F117)
193. Cam Fowler, D, ANA (D53)
194. Nico Hischier, F, NJ (F118)
195. Jamie Benn, F, DAL (F119)
196. Jared Spurgeon, D, MIN (D54)
197. Yanni Gourde, F, SEA (F120)
198. Anders Lee, F, NYI (F121)
199. Trevor Zegras, F, ANA (F122)
200. Semyon Varlamov, G, NYI (G24)
201. John Klingberg, D, DAL (D55)
202. Nate Schmidt, D, WPG (D56)
203. Joshua Morrissey, D, WPG (D57)
204. Mikko Koskinen, G, EDM (G25)
205. Brayden Schenn, F, STL (F123)
206. Vladislav Gavrikov, D, CLS (D58)
207. Adrian Kempe, F, LA (F124)
208. Tyler Seguin, F, DAL (F125)
209. Justin Faulk, D, STL (D59)
210. Marcus Foligno, F, MIN (F126)
211. Jaccob Slavin, D, CAR (D60)
212. Conor Garland, F, VAN (F127)
213. Mike Smith, G, EDM (G26)
214. Anton Lundell, F, FLA (F128)
215. Jack Eichel, F, BUF (F129)
216. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, CHI (G27)
217. Jonas Brodin, D, MIN (D61)
218. Tage Thompson, F, BUF (F130)
219. Matt Roy, D, LA (D62)
220. Evan Rodrigues, F, PIT (F131)
221. Jake Oettinger, G, DAL (G28)
222. Jesper Bratt, F, NJ (F132)
223. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, PHI (D63)
224. Jaden Schwartz, F, SEA (F133)
225. Filip Hronek, D, DET (D64)
226. Nick Suzuki, F, MON (F134)
227. Braden Holtby, G, DAL (G29)
228. Lawson Crouse, F, ARI (F135)
229. Torey Krug, D, STL (D65)
230. Reilly Smith, F, VGS (F136)
231. Ben Chiarot, D, MON (D66)
232. Robert Thomas, F, STL (F137)
233. Radko Gudas, D, FLA (D67)
234. Tyler Myers, D, VAN (D68)
235. Tim Stutzle, F, OTT (F138)
236. Alex Goligoski, D, MIN (D69)
237. Carter Verhaeghe, F, FLA (F139)
238. Sean Durzi, D, LA (D70)
239. Anthony Mantha, F, WSH (F140)
240. David Savard, D, MON (D71)
241. Alex Nedeljkovic, G, DET (G30)
242. Justin Braun, D, PHI (D72)
243. Kevin Fiala, F, MIN (F141)
244. Linus Ullmark, G, BOS (G31)
245. Jeff Skinner, F, BUF (F142)
246. Ryan Lindgren, D, NYR (D73)
247. Tyler Toffoli, F, MON (F143)
248. William Karlsson, F, VGS (F144)
249. Calvin Petersen, G, LA (G32)
250. Joel Farabee, F, PHI (F145)