The key to fantasy hockey goaltending as far as categories is that good old stat called save percentage. That fact can be up for debate later but for our purposes, it is a pretty significant category. Usually a very good save percentage indicates a good goals against average which typically equals more wins. There are exceptions to these rules always, however. Today, we are taking a look at the best five-on-five save percentages for a different perspective.
People always ask me to predict even strength save percentage for the next season and I will say it is quite a challenge. There are so many factors that go into it. However, the three goalies on our list truly were among the fantasy elite last season. They showed it all year long. So, let’s get down to the bare facts. Again, our minimum is 40 games played. Advanced statistics are provided thanks to ExtraSkater.com.
Fantasy Hockey Rewind: 5-on-5 Save Percentage
Tuukka Rask — Boston Bruins
So Tuukka Rask led the league in save percentage (minimum 40 GP) and not surprisingly led the NHL in 5-on-5 save percentage at a whopping .942. Boston was probably the best team at even strength all year. They have an amazing 1 GF/60 margin per contest. No other goalie really comes close to that differential. Boston has some of the best even strength players in the league and had a first line that led the league in goals. All those numbers add up to Rask having a very high 5-on-5 save percentage. People should expect Rask in the top five in this category next year even with the Jarome Iginla departure.
Semyon Varlamov — Colorado Avalanche
One of the reasons why Colorado made the playoffs was an incredibly high PDO (measure of luck — shooting percentage plus save percentage) but more importantly his name was Semyon Varlamov. The Russian goalie wound up with a stellar .935 save percentage at even strength. Colorado had a pretty nice shooting percentage while giving up quite a few shots (32.3 shots per 60 at 5 on 5 — top 5). This was not the Toronto model at work here but the shot load had to feel like it at times for Varlamov. Next season will likely be more of the same if not even tougher for the goalie.
Carey Price — Montreal Canadiens
The Olympic gold medal winner had another very good season for the Montreal Canadiens. There are definitely problems with Montreal where they just flat out hang Price to dry. However, his .934 5-on-5 save percentage kept Montreal in a lot of games given Montreal’s lack of scoring prowess at times. While Semyon Varlamov may not be on this list next season, Price would be a more likely candidate. Fantasy hockey owners know Price will get his wins but his save percentage usually helps bring home the bacon as they say.
Honorable Mention — Sergei Bobrovsky — Columbus Blue Jackets
Maybe the 2013 season was not necessarily a fluke after all. Granted, there were some uneven moments but Sergei Bobrovsky wound up with a .933 5-on-5 save percentage for the 2013-14 campaign. Columbus has its cornerstone goalie. They are also a team on the cusp so those wins and even goals against average numbers should improve. It is a pretty good time to be a Columbus fan and a Bobrovsky owner in your fantasy hockey league.
Thanks for reading everyone and more fantasy hockey rewind will be coming very soon.