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Intermediate NHL DFS: Goalie Selection

We continue our breakdown of intermediate NHL DFS. In this section, we look at goalie selection, with definitions and some strategy.

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner is congratulated by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury after shutting out the New Jersey Devils 3-0 game at T-Mobile Arena.  Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

In daily fantasy hockey, like in most things, getting the fundamentals down is integral toward laying a foundation of knowledge to build from as you progress as a player. We go over goaltender selection with a definition and how to approach using them in everyday strategy.

Goalie Selection

Definition

This isn’t so much of a definition as it is a reminder that choosing the right goalie for your lineup or contest is very important. In a lot of instances DFS players can misunderstanding goalie selection and think it’s simply chasing the goalie who has the best chances of winning. This isn’t the case, especially now after DraftKings changed the scoring system for hockey. So remember, goalie selection is perhaps the most important aspect of constructing a winning lineup.

Strategy

So here’s a quick overview of goaltender scoring since it was updated prior to the start of this regular season.

Win: +6 Pts
Save: +0.7 Pts
Goal Against: -3.5 Pts
Shutout Bonus: +4 Pts
Overtime Loss: +2 Pts
35+ Saves: +3 Pts

Cash games

The big changes are in the saves department. Now, goalies can accumulate way more points racking up saves than before. This puts less emphasis on a goalie getting a win. So really, we’re looking for 1) Goalies who see a lot of shots and 2) goalies who see a lot of shots but don’t allow a ton of goals. If a goalie can limit the amount of goals while hitting that +35 save bonus of 3.0 fantasy points, most of the time said goalie can reach an adequate point total for your lineup.

This is more of a strategy for cash games than for big GPPs. It’s all preference though. If you’re stacking your lineup with high variance plays, risky tournament options who will have low ownership, then it’s not necessarily a bad thing to go safe at goaltender. It also depends on what the slate looks like. If there’s a matchup for a particular team that you think could produce a big goalie performance, fading that could help or hurt you, let’s get into that a bit.

GPPs

So as was stated above, in order to choose the right goaltender for your lineup, we need to look at all the matchups. If it’s a slate with say, three games, and each matchup looks to be a low-scoring affair, we can safely assume each goaltender won’t allow more than 1-2 goals. That means, it will come down to who will see the most amount of saves. It’s easy to look up how many shot attempts a goaltender sees per game and how many shot attempts the opposing team has per game. We can weight these to find out which has the best chance of hitting that 35+ save bonus. After that, obviously we can look at matchup, win equity and shutout potential to figure out which goaltender has the best ceiling according to his price.

Again, like I said above, you can riddle your lineup with save forwards and defensemen and take a risk at goalie or vice versa, it’s really up to you and how you want to craft your lineup. Generally, more risky goaltender plays are going to be cheaper, freeing you up to spend at forward — which is usually a good rule of thumb. Goaltenders are capable of scoring more than forwards, but it’s not as likely after the scoring change. Unless projected ownership says otherwise, paying down at goalie in GPPs is the way to go.