Fantasy Goalies: Who to sit, who to start?

Mike Babcock knows how important it is to keep an eye on Steven Stamkos when he's on the ice. He also has faith in the officials making the right calls, despite the optics.

Many of you will have one week for your fantasy hockey league finals which could correspond with the final week of the NHL season. You might also have your finals week as the second-to-last week of the actual NHL schedule (similar to many fantasy football leagues). A third option is having the last two weeks of the season combined into one head-to-head matchup.

With that in mind, the final goalie start and sit article of the season will focus on all three of these scenarios. Here’s three goalies to start and three goalies to sit, but note the time periods that each goalie is recommended for.

Thanks for checking out our goalie start and sit article this season, and we hope you have found it of use. Be sure to check back for our playoff pool articles from Dobber Hockey here on Sportsnet.ca.

Start
One-week final (March 28 – April 3)
Jonathan Bernier, TOR (@TB, @FLA, @BUF, vs. DET)
Given his numbers over the entire season, Bernier might seem like a risky play here. But if you focus on his recent numbers, you may feel more inclined to add or start him. Bernier has allowed no more than two goals in each of his last five starts. Over that same stretch, his save percentage has not been lower than .920 in any game. (For more numbers like this one, be sure to check out the Frozen Pool Player Profiles.) The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t had anything to play for in a while, but these starts matter for Bernier because he may be playing for his job right now.

One-week final (April 4 – April 10)
Thomas Greiss, NYI (vs. TB, @WSH, @NYR, vs. BUF, vs. PHI)
With Jaroslav Halak not expected to return until sometime during the playoffs, Greiss should see a lot of work between now and the start of the post-season. The New York Islanders play more games over the week of April 4-10 (5) than the Oilers play over the final two weeks of the season (4). With two sets of back-to-backs over this span, it’s possible that we also see Jean-Francois Berube not once, but twice during this week. Berube could be a sneaky stash for this week, considering how few leagues he’s owned in.

Two-week final
Steve Mason, PHI (vs. WPG, vs. WSH, vs. OTT, @PIT, @DET, vs. TOR, vs. PIT, @NYI)
The Philadelphia Flyers are one of five teams to play eight games over the next two weeks. What makes Mason particularly appealing during this stretch is the fact that he could start just about every one of these games. Not only are the Flyers in the midst of a battle for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but Flyers backup Michal Neuvirth is sidelined for the rest of the regular season. Philadelphia allows a high number of shots (an average of over 31 per game), so Mason should be particularly valuable in leagues that counts saves.

Sit
One-week final (March 28 – April 3)
Henrik Lundqvist (@CAR, vs. BUF)
Normally we’d suggest leaning on blue-chip stock such as Lundqvist during a crucial championship week. However, Lundqvist has stumbled a bit during March with a 3.28 goals-against average and .911 save percentage over the month. Being limited to two starts won’t help, although both games are against non-playoff teams. Just be sure to temper your expectations for Lundqvist by perhaps adding another goalie for a spot start or two.

One-week final (April 4 – April 10)
Kari Lehtonen, DAL (vs. COL, vs. NSH)
The Dallas Stars have been a division leader for much of the season in spite of some painful goaltending (2.84 GAA as a team). Lehtonen has been taking over in net lately playing in nine of the Stars’ 12 games in March. Two games in a week isn’t ideal, and the fact that the opponents are both teams battling for playoff positions won’t make things easy. With that in mind, Lehtonen’s goaltending partner Antti Niemi would be even more so a goalie to stay away from during this particular week.

Two-week final
Cam Talbot, EDM (vs. ANA, vs. CGY, vs. VAN, @VAN)
The Edmonton Oilers would probably rather that March and April finish quickly so they can get on with draft lottery preparations. Since the Oilers play only four games when all other NHL teams play at least six over the final two weeks, Talbot is not an ideal start for your championship week. Not that Talbot has been that bad (2.26 GAA and .927 SV% since December 21). He just won’t help you a great deal with your win total over the final two weeks.

Be sure you know which goalies are starting during your championship week with the resources at Goalie Post.