Hot goalies for the final weeks

Anderson, Montoya, Ramo among netminders playing well as of late

Updated: March 25, 2014, 2:45 PM ET
By Sean Allen | Special to ESPN.com

BlackhawksBill Smith/NHLI/Getty ImagesAl Montoya is getting the bulk of the starts for Winnipeg and producing strong ratio numbers.

It was a pretty crazy goaltender landscape earlier this season. At one point, more than half of the top 10 goaltenders coming into the season were underperforming or injured. Much of that has calmed down and we have a pretty steady crew at the top of the rankings, but it doesn't mean your ship is sunk during the final few weeks of the season if you need help.

Taking a quick look at some possibly available goaltenders works both for rotisserie owners trying to make that last-ditch push for points in the standings and for head-to-head owners looking to shore up their goaltending categories heading into the fantasy playoffs. Here are some options that could be available in your league and have the capacity to positively influence your results down the stretch:

The Top 200


Note: Sean Allen's top 200 players are ranked for their expected performance in ESPN standard leagues from this point on, not on the statistics that have already been accrued. ESPN standard stats include goals, assists, power-play points, shots on goal, plus/minus, penalty minutes and average time on ice for skaters, and wins, goals-against average and save percentage for goalies. Last week's ranking is indicated in parentheses.

1. Sidney Crosby, F, Pit (1)
2. Corey Perry, F, Ana (4)
3. Alex Ovechkin, F, Was (2)
4. Ryan Getzlaf, F, Ana (6)
5. Patrick Sharp, F, Chi (5)
6. P.K. Subban, D, Mon (7)
7. Chris Kunitz, F, Pit (8)
8. Steven Stamkos, F, TB (12)
9. Jonathan Toews, F, Chi (10)
10. Erik Karlsson, D, Ott (13)
11. Phil Kessel, F, Tor (11)
12. Claude Giroux, F, Phi (20)
13. Ryan Miller, G, StL (14)
14. Tuukka Rask, G, Bos (15)
15. Joe Pavelski, F, SJ (16)
16. Duncan Keith, D, Chi (17)
17. Jonathan Quick, G, LA (18)
18. Zach Parise, F, Min (21)
19. Carey Price, G, Mon (22)
20. Ben Bishop, G, TB (23)
21. Anze Kopitar, F, LA (24)
22. David Backes, F, StL (25)
23. Logan Couture, F, SJ (26)
24. Martin St. Louis, F, NYR (27)
25. Patrick Marleau, F, SJ (28)
26. Antti Niemi, G, SJ (29)
27. Shea Weber, D, Nsh (33)
28. Dustin Byfuglien, D, Wpg (30)
29. Semyon Varlamov, G, Col (31)
30. Tyler Seguin, F, Dal (32)
31. Nicklas Backstrom, F, Was (35)
32. Marian Hossa, F, Chi (36)
33. Alexander Steen, F, StL (37)
34. Jamie Benn, F, Dal (38)
35. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Cls (39)
36. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Pit (34)
37. Eric Staal, F, Car (41)
38. Jarome Iginla, F, Bos (43)
39. Drew Doughty, D, LA (44)
40. Johan Franzen, F, Det (49)
41. Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR (50)
42. David Krejci, F, Bos (45)
43. Matt Duchene, F, Col (46)
44. Pekka Rinne, G, Nsh (42)
45. James Neal, F, Pit (19)
46. Nathan MacKinnon, F, Col (47)
47. Joe Thornton, F, SJ (48)
48. Corey Crawford, G, Chi (51)
49. James van Riemsdyk, F, Tor (52)
50. Darcy Kuemper, G, Min (40)
51. Jonas Hiller, G, Ana (53)
52. Jeff Carter, F, LA (59)
53. Rick Nash, F, NYR (54)
54. Roberto Luongo, G, Fla (55)
55. Thomas Vanek, F, Mon (56)
56. Matt Niskanen, D, Pit (57)
57. Alex Pietrangelo, D, StL (58)
58. Alexander Semin, F, Car (60)
59. Jaromir Jagr, F, NJ (61)
60. Mikko Koivu, F, Min (62)
61. Zdeno Chara, D, Bos (63)
62. Henrik Sedin, F, Van (64)
63. Daniel Sedin, F, Van (103)
64. Gabriel Landeskog, F, Col (65)
65. Milan Lucic, F, Bos (66)
66. Kyle Okposo, F, NYI (67)
67. Taylor Hall, F, Edm (68)
68. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, StL (69)
69. Ryan Suter, D, Min (70)
70. Ryan Kesler, F, Van (199)
71. Jakub Voracek, F, Phi (80)
72. Keith Yandle, D, Pho (72)
73. Ryan O'Reilly, F, Col (73)
74. Scott Hartnell, F, Phi (74)
75. Dion Phaneuf, D, Tor (76)
76. Cory Schneider, G, NJ (71)
77. Gustav Nyquist, F, Det (75)
78. Jason Spezza, F, Ott (77)
79. Niklas Kronwall, D, Det (78)
80. Blake Wheeler, F, Wpg (79)
81. Mark Giordano, D, Cgy (100)
82. Jimmy Howard, G, Det (92)
83. Brent Seabrook, D, Chi (81)
84. Nazem Kadri, F, Tor (82)
85. Patrice Bergeron, F, Bos (83)
86. Marian Gaborik, F, LA (84)
87. Kyle Turris, F, Ott (85)
88. Radim Vrbata, F, Pho (86)
89. Andrei Markov, D, Mon (87)
90. Lee Stempniak, F, Pit (89)
91. Kari Lehtonen, G, Dal (90)
92. O. Ekman-Larsson, D, Pho (110)
93. Ryan McDonagh, D, NYR (104)
94. Max Pacioretty, F, Mon (91)
95. Bryan Little, F, Wpg (93)
96. Matt Moulson, F, Min (128)
97. Jordan Eberle, F, Edm (94)
98. Jaden Schwartz, F, StL (95)
99. Victor Hedman, D, TB (96)
100. Clarke MacArthur, F, Ott (97)
101. Patrik Elias, F, NJ (98)
102. Jay Bouwmeester, D, StL (99)
103. David Legwand, F, Det (113)
104. Derek Stepan, F, NYR (108)
105. Bobby Ryan, F, Ott (88)
106. Jonathan Bernier, G, Tor (116)
107. T.J. Oshie, F, StL (101)
108. Andrew Ladd, F, Wpg (102)
109. Justin Williams, F, LA (105)
110. Jaroslav Halak, G, Was (127)
111. Brent Burns, F, SJ (106)
112. James Wisniewski, D, Cls (107)
113. Steve Mason, G, Phi (109)
114. Craig Anderson, G, Ott (126)
115. Jeff Skinner, F, Car (111)
116. Brad Marchand, F, Bos (112)
117. Anton Khudobin, G, Car (114)
118. Martin Hanzal, F, Pho (115)
119. Ryan Johansen, F, Cls (117)
120. Jason Pominville, F, Min (118)
121. Christian Ehrhoff, D, Buf (119)
122. Ondrej Palat, F, TB (164)
123. David Perron, F, Edm (120)
124. Alex Goligoski, D, Dal (152)
125. Mike Cammalleri, F, Cgy (191)
126. Jack Johnson, D, Cls (122)
127. Adam Henrique, F, NJ (123)
128. Ales Hemsky, F, Ott (125)
129. Tomas Plekanec, F, Mon (155)
130. Tyler Bozak, F, Tor (129)
131. Alex Burrows, F, Van (158)
132. Evander Kane, F, Wpg (130)
133. Mikael Granlund, F, Min (140)
134. Valtteri Filppula, F, TB (146)
135. Torey Krug, D, Bos (131)
136. Paul Stastny, F, Col (132)
137. Erik Johnson, D, Col (133)
138. Troy Brouwer, F, Was (134)
139. Shane Doan, F, Pho (136)
140. Mike Green, D, Was (137)
141. Brandon Dubinsky, F, Cls (138)
142. Brad Richards, F, NYR (139)
143. Mike Smith, G, Pho (135)
144. Wayne Simmonds, F, Phi (153)
145. Marek Zidlicky, D, NJ (141)
146. Chris Kreider, F, NYR (142)
147. Pavel Datsyuk, F, Det (163)
148. Kimmo Timonen, D, Phi (144)
149. Karri Ramo, G, Cgy (220)
150. Joffrey Lupul, F, Tor (145)
151. Alex Killorn, F, TB (165)
152. Olli Maatta, D, Pit (147)
153. Joni Ortio, G, Cgy (121)
154. Andrej Sekera, D, Car (149)
155. Evgeni Nabokov, G, NYI (150)
156. Cam Ward, G, Car (176)
157. John Carlson, D, Was (151)
158. Tyson Barrie, D, Col (154)
159. Ben Scrivens, G, Edm (143)
160. Teemu Selanne, F, Ana (NR)
161. Radko Gudas, D, TB (156)
162. Daniel Alfredsson, F, Det (171)
163. Jason Garrison, D, Van (157)
164. Loui Eriksson, F, Bos (159)
165. Jussi Jokinen, F, Pit (160)
166. Ondrej Pavelec, G, Wpg (148)
167. Tobias Enstrom, D, Wpg (162)
168. Martin Brodeur, G, NJ (184)
169. Mikael Backlund, F, Cgy (181)
170. R. Nugent-Hopkins, F, Edm (167)
171. Dougie Hamilton, D, Bos (NR)
172. Carl Hagelin, F, NYR (169)
173. Dan Boyle, D, SJ (170)
174. David Desharnais, F, Mon (194)
175. Mike Richards, F, LA (172)
176. Tyler Ennis, F, Buf (NR)
177. Kevin Bieksa, D, Van (174)
178. Mike Fisher, F, Nsh (175)
179. Kris Russell, D, Cgy (NR)
180. Drew Stafford, F, Buf (NR)
181. Al Montoya, G, Wpg (NR)
182. Alexander Edler, D, Van (NR)
183. Jake Gardiner, D, Tor (NR)
184. Milan Michalek, F, Ott (177)
185. Brendan Gallagher, F, Mon (178)
186. Shawn Matthias, F, Van (NR)
187. Nino Niederreiter, F, Min (179)
188. Brandon Saad, F, Chi (180)
189. Cam Fowler, D, Ana (161)
190. Tyler Johnson, F, TB (198)
191. Frans Nielsen, F, NYI (182)
192. Brian Campbell, D, Fla (186)
193. Jordan Staal, F, Car (187)
194. Roman Josi, D, Nsh (188)
195. Andrew Shaw, F, Chi (189)
196. Frederik Andersen, G, Ana (190)
197. Hampus Lindholm, D, Ana (192)
198. Mats Zuccarello, F, NYR (193)
199. Cory Conacher, F, Buf (NR)
200. James Reimer, G, Tor (196)

Craig Anderson, G, Ottawa Senators (available in 26 percent of ESPN leagues): Anderson should be your first stop on the search for goaltending help from here on out. His recent undisclosed injury has kept him off the fantasy radar to the point that he has been dropped in one-fourth of ESPN leagues. Anderson was practicing Monday and is rumored to be getting close to a return. Robin Lehner has produced a string of unimpressive performances in the crease and, unlike earlier this season, will quickly be brushed aside when Anderson is healthy. As we've hinted at before, the performance of the Senators' penalty kill will largely determine Anderson's fantasy value. While the penalty kill has been floundering lately, it has been solidified by the coaching staff for stretches this season. Anderson has top-10 fantasy goaltender upside if the penalty kill is working but is a top 25 goaltender even if it is not. He has value heading down the stretch, and if you are in one of the leagues where he is available, he should not remain that way for long.

Al Montoya, G, Winnipeg Jets (available in 88 percent of ESPN leagues): With his recent string of starts, Montoya is now "qualified" among the goaltending leaders. The result is that he sits tied for 10th in both goals-against average and save percentage this season. The wins aren't piling up, but Montoya has used an injury to Ondrej Pavelec to put together six starts in a row without any that can be considered a disaster. That's more than we can say for Pavelec most of the time. It seems Pavelec isn't being rushed back into duty and that Montoya will get some time to show what he can do. While he is past any kind of prospect status at the age of 29, Montoya was once considered a future No. 1 goaltender. He hasn't had many chances to break out in his career, but the talent is still there. That may be over-the-top thinking, but at the very least, he remains a fantasy-relevant starter for the Jets as long as Pavelec is out. Fantasy owners not interested in wins but in protecting or improving ratios should actively seek out Montoya.

Karri Ramo, G, Calgary Flames (available in 93 percent of ESPN leagues): It seems that the Flames just needed to be completely out of the playoff picture and throw caution to the wind to become a dangerous team. The past few weeks have included wins against the Western Conference powerhouse Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks, plus a close loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Overall, the Flames have won five of their past seven. More importantly for the purposes of this paragraph, they have won two in a row with Ramo tending the crease, allowing only two goals in that time. Joni Ortio stumbled at the wrong time with a stinker last week against the Nashville Predators. It allowed Ramo to return from injury and seize the crease for the red-hot Flames. Because the offense is steamrolling the way it is, Ramo has a chance to build on his success and earn fantasy owners some value. It may seem counterintuitive to suggest, but fantasy owners interested in wins should look to add Ramo to their roster.

Thomas Greiss, G, Phoenix Coyotes (available in 97 percent of ESPN leagues): We are throwing Greiss' name out without too much information to back it up. That's because not much has been reported as of Tuesday morning regarding Mike Smith's lower-body injury from Monday night. What we do know is that Greiss is more than adequate as a backup goaltender. Should Smith need to miss an extended period of time, Greiss could prove to be an exceptional fantasy goaltender. Greiss hasn't had a lot of action lately, but he pushed Smith for starts earlier this season with a strong run. Overall, it's a much smaller sample, but Greiss' ratios and win percentage are better than Smith's. If Smith is down for the count for a while, Greiss should be quickly added to your fantasy roster.

Forwards Rising and Falling

James Neal, F, Pittsburgh Penguins (down 26 spots to No. 45): There remains the off chance that Neal will get shifts on a "super line" with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, but for the most part, coach Dan Bylsma will use Neal to try to cobble together the best second line he can in the wake of Evgeni Malkin's injury. With Malkin gone for the remainder of the regular season, Neal will likely be playing with Brandon Sutter and Jussi Jokinen on a line that suddenly doesn't look so appealing to fantasy owners. Neal will still get power-play time with Crosby, so he isn't devoid of value going forward. But he loses a lot of shine with the loss of Malkin. Fantasy owners of Malkin should give Lee Stempniak a look as he will be the likely addition to the Pens' power play. That power play still looks pretty good, with Crosby, Kunitz and Neal as anchors.

Teemu Selanne, F, Anaheim Ducks (enters ranks at No. 160): Perhaps Selanne was saving himself for a final push for fantasy owners all along. Whether it was an intentional rope-a-dope by the Ducks in saving Selanne's 43-year-old legs or happenstance that he is getting a first-line opportunity, the final few weeks of the season have a bright prognosis for the future Hall of Famer. Though Selanne has never really connected with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf in the past, he sure seemed to do so this week when he was pressed into service on the top line. The trio was responsible for three goals on the ice together, with Selanne producing his fifth multipoint game of the season (the first since mid-January). Selanne showed he can still fly at the Olympics, scoring six points in six games as the Finnish team earned the bronze medal. If this line assignment sticks -- which it absolutely should based on a lack of other options emerging since Dustin Penner was dealt by the Ducks -- Selanne has enormous fantasy upside for the remainder of the season. Perry and Getzlaf are both top-10 players, and Selanne will be dragged along for the ride.

David Legwand, F, Detroit Red Wings (up 10 spots to No. 103): In a positive sign for Legwand's value for the remainder of the season, a shift in the Red Wings' depth chart to spark scoring still left Legwand on the top trio. That arrangement has Legwand playing with Johan Franzen while Daniel Alfredsson replaces Gustav Nyquist on the other flank. It means that whatever happens going forward, Legwand appears to be coach Mike Babcock's No. 1 center (whether he likes it or not). As long as nothing changes with Pavel Datsyuk's ongoing ailment, Legwand appears set to rack up points for the Red Wings and fantasy owners alike.

Tyler Ennis, F, Buffalo Sabres (enter ranks at No. 176): Ennis gets the billing, but he is representing the Sabres' de facto top line that also includes Drew Stafford and Cory Conacher. Somebody has to pick up the goals the Sabres will inevitably score, and so far it has been this trio. Ennis and Stafford are easily doing enough to be started in every fantasy league down the stretch but remain available in 40 percent and 70 percent of ESPN leagues, respectively. Conacher, though he has had the most success with Ennis and Stafford, has been shifted out on occasion for Marcus Foligno and should be ignored in anything but the deepest leagues.

Defensemen Rising and Falling

Dougie Hamilton, D, Boston Bruins (enters ranks at No. 171): For a few games, it looked like Andrej Meszaros was coming to town to sap Hamilton's fantasy potential, but Hamilton has recovered and is partnered back up with Zdeno Chara. In fact, Hamilton seems rejuvenated by the threat to his prime playing time. He has potted four points in three games and, perhaps more importantly, is plus-7 in seven games since a brief layoff that coincided with Meszaros' arrival.

Jake Gardiner, D, Toronto Maple Leafs (enters ranks at No. 183): In games where Gardiner has played more than 19:15 since the beginning of March, he has six points in six games. In games where Gardiner has played less than 19:15 since March 1, he has zero points in six games. The good news is that Gardiner has played more than 20 minutes for four consecutive games, as his production with increased playing time seems to be getting noticed. Pay special attention to the fact that this playing time includes some power-play work. Gardiner has definite upside down the stretch as the Leafs are pressed for scoring.

Goaltenders Rising and Falling

Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Pittsburgh Penguins (down two spots to No. 36): Fleury can't buy a win these past couple of weeks. Though he did enough to get a win against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, he was outdueled by Brian Elliott in a 1-0 loss. Before that, Fleury had laid three consecutive absolute eggs in the crease. It definitely hurts Fleury's prognosis that backup Jeff Zatkoff has been saving his best goaltending for the current stretch of games. Zatkoff is by no means a threat to Fleury's starter's mantle, but he is angling for an increase in playing time at a key time of year for fantasy owners. Worse still, Tomas Vokoun is reportedly edging close to a surprise return from his blood clot issues that have sidelined him all season.

The bottom line is that Fleury's situation should serve as a warning to owners of goaltenders who play for NHL teams that are busy clinching playoff spots. Fleury, Tuukka Rask, Antti Niemi, Ryan Miller and Jonas Hiller are all at risk of getting some extra rest down the stretch as their clubs settle into postseason positioning. We've already seen it with the Bruins, as Rask nearly splits time with Chad Johnson now. We will refer you back to the top of this article for seeking out some goaltending help on the waiver wire. But also note that the backups on some of those playoff-bound teams -- including Johnson, Elliott, Alex Stalock and Frederik Andersen -- may have some extra value in the final weeks too.

Quick Hits

Curtis Glencross has been a leader for those red-hot Flames since returning from an ankle sprain. He has seven points in seven games and posted a hat trick Saturday.

Alexander Edler is making good on the targets put on him since a return from injury. The minus rating isn't going away, but he is scoring on the power play and taking a lot of shots. It's enough to earn fantasy value in any league.

• Speaking of the Vancouver Canucks, the forward ranks are in flux with the return of Daniel Sedin, loss of Henrik Sedin, return of Ryan Kesler and loss of Alex Burrows. There is fantasy value to be had here, but consider leaving your Canucks benched if you have another option or are running close to your games-played limits.

• Some youngsters to watch: Calle Jarnkrok, who has two assists in two games with the Predators, and Mark Stone, who has replaced the injured Bobby Ryan on the Senators' second line.

Sean Allen is a fantasy analyst for ESPN.com. He was the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hockey Writer of the Year. You can tweet him @seanard.

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