Goaltending is a very important spot in fantasy hockey. The number of goalies in the NHL is limited already, and the number of fantasy relevant ones is shorter still. If you’re like me and have been rolling with Jonathan Quick and Stuart Skinner this season because you didn’t prioritize goaltending in your deep draft, there are finally options to bolster that position. Thanks to the recent debut of some young, up-and-coming goalies, the waiver wire has some solid options in the crease.
1. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen – Buffalo Sabres
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been one of the best goalies outside the NHL for quite some time. He was drafted by the Sabres in the second round of the 2017 draft, 54th overall. He stands at 6’4″ and 196 lbs, a big goalie who moves well and has the pedigree to stay in the NHL for the long haul.
He played four games for the Sabres last season and did not do very well, but this season is a completely different story. He currently has a 1.96 GAA, .939 SV%, and has a 2-2-0 record. Not bad considering the Buffalo Sabres are playing in front of him.
Over the past seven days, Luukkonen is the 49th overall ranked player in Yahoo! leagues and 89th over the past 14 days. He’s started five of the past six games for the Sabres, and with the way he’s playing, he could legitimately be fantasy relevant for the rest of the season. He might not get wins at the same rate as the next two goalies, but he will definitely be a great option for your second or third or fourth goalie.
2. Jake Oettinger – Dallas Stars
Like the Calgary Flames foolishly did in the 2015-16 season, the Dallas Stars have struggled this season due to having three to four goalies in the NHL. Anton Khudobin was waived after a rough start to the season, Ben Bishop retired from the NHL, and they are now left with senior citizen Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger.
Oettinger was also drafted in 2017, but 26th overall in the first round. Holtby has played well this season to the surprise of many, but Oettinger is clearly the goalie of the future in Dallas. In seven starts this season, Oettinger has a 1.88 GAA, .938 SV%, and a 5-2-0 record. He’s been stellar in the crease but has not yet grabbed the starting role from Holtby.
Right now, it looks like the Stars are letting Holtby and Oettinger alternate starts, but if Oettinger keeps up this level of play the Stars will undoubtedly want him to play more. I have Oettinger on my team and outside of his game this week, he hasn’t disappointed as a third goalie.
3. Charlie Lindgren – St. Louis Blues
Charlie Lindgren is a bit older than the other two goalies on this list, but he has been sensational for the Blues this season. With Jordan Binnington on the injured reserve for much of the last month, Lindgren has started five of the last six games for the Blues and won them all.
Lindgren has played parts of six seasons in the NHL, but has never played more than 14 games. In five games so far this season, he has an incredible 1.22 GAA, .958 SV%, and a 5-0-0 record. Take this record with a grain of salt though – four of those wins came against the Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars (x2), and Montreal Canadiens. The fourth was a relief win against the Florida Panthers where he had to make just three saves.
Binnington is the starter of this team and Lindgren isn’t going to change that. However, he could be the permanent backup for the rest of the season and with his results so far, the Blues might feel comfortable playing him a bit more than normal. With numbers like this, he will deliver in a backup role and put forth a good effort likely once a week.