We are now over a month into the 2023–24 NHL season with a few weeks of fantasy matchups under our belts already. Typically a few weeks is when we start to see some trends form and certain players shift from hot starts to legit fantasy options.
In particular, goaltenders are the most fickle fantasy position with results seemingly impossible to predict for 90% of the league. If you’re in need of some help between the pipes, below are some under-the-radar goaltenders who are off to surprising starts that could give your team the boost it needs.
- 28% ownership
- Preseason rank: 459
- Current rank: 134
Connor Ingram has had a tremendous start to the 2023–24 season, as have the surprise Arizona Coyotes. After finishing 27th in the league last year the Coyotes find themselves in a playoff spot as we get closer to American Thanksgiving in large part to Ingram’s strong play. The 2022 waiver claim has firmly locked in a 1A/1B role between the pipes in Arizona and has currently played in eight of the team’s 16 games.
Across his eight appearances, he’s suffered just one loss and currently sits with a 6–1–0 record along with a .918 save percentage and 2.75 GAA. In comparison, his fellow starter in Arizona sits with a 2–5–2 record and a .906 save percentage. In other words, Ingram has by far been the Coyotes’ best goalie this year and could begin to see more starts as the year goes on. Even if he doesn’t, he’s locked in a split starting role and as long as he keeps putting up results like this he’s well worth an add as a goalie who’s going to get into at least a couple games a week.
- 28% ownership
- Preseason rank: 611
- Current rank: 170
Never did I expect to see a Chicago Blackhawks goalie as ownable in fantasy but here we are. The Blackhawks have kicked off the season with a poor 5–9–0 start, but that’s not because of Petr Mrazek. The veteran has dialled back the clock this year and currently sits with a solid .919 save percentage and 2.86 GAA across nine appearances, regularly giving Chicago a chance to win every night he plays. He’s currently responsible for four of the team’s five wins.
So far this season Mrazek has given up more than three goals just once, allowing four back on October 19th in a game that still saw him make 41 saves. He’s posted over 40 saves on four separate occasions already this season and has finished with a save percentage below .900 in only one game. The fact is the Blackhawks are horrendous defensively and give up a ton of shots against, but as long as Mrazek continues to stand on his head he provides some real fantasy value even if his record remains around the .500 mark.
- 25% ownership
- Preseason rank: 477
- Current rank: 220
Not much was expected of 37-year-old Jonathan Quick coming into the season. However due to an injury to superstar Igor Shesterkin as well as a strong start to the season, Quick has quickly shot up fantasy rankings, pun intended. Through six appearances so far this season Quick has posted a 4–0–1 record along with a sparkling .928 save percentage and 1.98 GAA. He’s also added on one shutout.
His save percentage may be boosted by a couple of early season games, but the fact is since Shesterkin has gone down, he’s started three games and has won twice and is yet to lose in regulation. Behind a loaded Rangers roster, Quick gives you a chance for a win every time he starts.
Even with Shesterkin nearing a return, Quick could still present some solid value playing behind one of the league’s top teams. Over the last three seasons, Shesterkin’s backups have played 25, 33, and 19 (out of a shortened 56-game schedule) meaning there’s a good chance Quick still gets another 20-plus starts this season.
Grab a goalie
Getting goaltending is crucial in fantasy and sometimes all it takes is one extra win or a few extra saves. With how this season is going for the league so far, jumping on the opportunity to pick up goalies with surprise performances can pay dividends in both the short and long term.