How should we be judging goaltenders?

By ESH · Dec 31, 2017 · Updated Jan 2, 2018
  1. ESH

    ESH Registered User

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    Basically, whenever I see any argument about goaltenders on here it always comes down to save percentage. Whenever I see someone talking about a goalie, save percentage is the most important stat. I rarely, if ever, see an argument about a goaltender that uses a stat other than save percentage. There has to be more to goaltending than that though, right?

    I've seen the argument that wins is the most important statistic for goaltenders, and I'm almost inclined to agree. There's nothing more important in hockey than winning! At the same time though, it could easily be argued that having a better save% and GAA would lead to more wins.

    This partially stems from a recent thread I saw in the Polls section about whether or not Robin Lehner was a #1 goaltender. The only argument I saw for Lehner from anyone in the entire thread was that his Sv% was good. I saw a couple Buffalo posters talk about how his Sv% numbers might be a bit misleading. Sure he absorbs a lot of shots, but does he make the key saves when he needs to? I'm really not trying to make this into a thread about Robin Lehner or any specific goaltender, this is purely an example.

    I've seen posts on this site before talking about the relationship between a higher # of shots and a higher Sv%. I also feel as though lots of people would expect goalies on worse teams that allow more shots to have a lower Sv%. I think what it comes down to more than anything is the quality of shots that a goalie faces.

    I think that Jonathan Quick is a good example for the point I'm trying to convey here. Often times his Sv% isn't at the top of the league, but his GAA is. I feel like he gets a bit overlooked on here because so many people focus purely on Sv%. I think his Sv% is lower because he faces less shots than a lot of goalies on worse teams, but he also lets in a lot less goals than most goalies. Is it his fault that his team has been generally very good at limiting shots against him? Again, I'm not trying to make this about any specific players.

    My main question is, how should we be judging goalies? I personally believe that there's no better way to judge a player than to watch them play, but I'm a lot worse at judging a goalies abilities than a skaters. Surely there's more we can look at than just a goalie's Sv% though am I right?
     
  2. BillDerlago

    BillDerlago They did it Naylor

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  3. zeke

    zeke #freeVladdyJr

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    save percentage.

    with extra credit to goalies the more games they play.
     
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  4. tny760

    tny760 Registered User

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    S Y S T E M G O A L I E
    Y
    S
    T
    E
    M
    G
    O
    A
    L
    I
    E
     
  5. Deathstroke

    Deathstroke NJD vs Everybody! Now we Rise!

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    SV% is not a good way to evaluate goalies who play on strong defensive teams.
     
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  6. MartinMcc

    MartinMcc beautvillier

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    watching them
     
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  7. Deathstroke

    Deathstroke NJD vs Everybody! Now we Rise!

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    Jonathan Quick is an elite goalie in this league, and anybody who tries to use his "mediocre" SV% against him is simply ignoring the fact that under Sutter the Kings were the best shot suppression team.

    Every goalie has a lower cumulative SV% in their lower shot volume games than they do in their higher shot volume games. That's even so after omitting games where a goalie either comes in for relief or gets pulled by the coach due to poor play. So when Quick was playing in so many games facing fewer shots than everybody else, his SV% became deflated as a result.
     
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  8. Tom Hanks

    Tom Hanks Mistakes brought to you by my iPhone.

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    High danger SV% probably separates the good from the bad.
     
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  9. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    I think we should be looking at how many saves the goalie equipment saves vs the athleticism of each goalie.
    Sv% is skewed on certain goalies by abusing the allowed size of pads. Not the goalies fault the NHL gives them stipulations they can go by and goalies exploits the largest equipment they can legally use. If more goalies used proper sized pads we should see an up tick in scoring and the age of robots could pass by.

    Who would you rather see play: a Prime Hasek doing all his crazy acrobatic saves or Prime Bishop calmly slide a few inches to have the puck shot directly at his chest? I know I enjoyed watching Flower make that diving save vs the Redwings for the cup in 09 vs watching Murray just have good positioning. But to each their own.
     
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  10. ijuka

    ijuka Registered User

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    SV% isn't very accurate. When you're losing by 5 goals with 5 minutes left, is allowing 5 more goals on 5 shots going to affect anything even though it will sink your save%? No. Goals allowed aren't all of the same value.

    I actually really dislike that it's the go-to stat. Even wins/losses are better than save%.


    The best stat would be importance-adjusted save % but I'm not sure if that even exists.

    Another thing to track would be "amount of stolen games" or "amount of games kept close when shouldn't have", etc.

    It depends on so many things.
     
  11. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    How is W / L the stat we should watch? Remember when Hotlby won 48 games yet Price took home all the awards the year prior with a .10 higher sv% and won less games..?

    No hate on the Islanders but Halak and Greiss have a bunch of wins but hold one of the leagues worst SV%... That would mean the rest of the team is scoring to make up for the lack of rubber stoppage.

    Save percentage is indicative of how a goalie plays, but there are more outlying variables we as fans don't really take into account.
    What defenders and forwards are injured or traded year to year from any given team. Those can fluctuate a goalies stats. Schneider going from Vancity to Newark was a big change in sv% in the initial year and many people were calling Schneider bad, but since then he's solidified himself as a top ten goalie due to his stellar play with a poor team defending in front of him for the first couple of seasons. Even now the Devils don't have a "great" defense but the pieces are working together and Schneider has once again a great save percentage.

    Look at Price when he was "allegedly" trying to get Therrien fired last season. He played poorly and let his save percentage fall well below the .900 mark. When he decided to care again he boosted it to what a .923 by season end, and the back half nabbing upwards of .937(didn't do the math).

    To help support you, look at the cup run the pens made and MAF save percentage in the two red wings series. The series they lost he had .933 vs .908 the following season which the pens won. Adjusted save percentage isn't even really what happened so its a completely useless statistic to help people create a story line for their objective argument.

    If i make 90k a year but adjust it to 95k a year its either a bonus or stealing, either way its not whats been earned. So why would you try to do the same for a goalie?
     
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  12. JoVel

    JoVel Registered User

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    Save percentage is the most accurate. Wins and GAA are team stats. But the best way however is to watch the games.
     
  13. Maukkis

    Maukkis Probably swept in 4

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    Stats don't tell the whole picture in any case, for the team and its system always has a chance of affecting the goaltender's stats, but if you want to consult them, HDSV% is a good shout.

    It is very important to watch the games, though. You'll get a better idea of a goalie's game that way.
     
  14. Vali Maki Sushi

    Vali Maki Sushi Mina-san <3

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    Don't get me wrong some goalies are like that like Crawford. However I believe Ward and Pavelec both had a pretty decent HDSv% for the past few years but god awful LDSv% and MDSv%, if your goalie is making big saves but giving up a lot of extremely bad goals that still makes him bad lol.
     
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  15. Vali Maki Sushi

    Vali Maki Sushi Mina-san <3

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    What people don't realize goalies CAN influence GAA. Rebound control, puck handling, positioning, etc. can affect it. Rinne for example has good everything and thus always has a high expected save percentage, so if he does allow a goal it looks a lot worse on him. Like wise PAvelec sucks in just about everything and if he allows a goal it doens't look as bad on him because everyone knows and expects that he's basically asking to get scored on. Like wise if Rinne makes a great save it's not as highlighted, whereas Pavelec always makes highlight reel saves while allowing terrible goals.
     
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  16. boredmale

    boredmale Registered User

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    To me the 2 most important things you can judge a goalie on is saves on first shots and rebound control. Any other stat can be inflated by how good or bad the team infront of you is(ie even something like save percentage if every goal scored on you is on the rebound then that is partially on the team infront of you for not clearing that)
     
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  17. zeke

    zeke #freeVladdyJr

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    yes it is.
     
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  18. zeke

    zeke #freeVladdyJr

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    there is nothing that has failed more in judging goalies than the eye test. and that includes the eye test of trained professionals.
     
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  19. zeke

    zeke #freeVladdyJr

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    so then why did Quick's save percentage skyrocket come playoff time? did the kings play worse defense in the playoffs?
     
  20. MartinMcc

    MartinMcc beautvillier

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    so we should just look at stats that say somebody is good instead of watching a player and seeing that he’s good?
     
  21. maacoshark

    maacoshark Registered User

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    Save percentage can also be a team stat. If the team keeps everything to the outside and limits the high scoring chances. I've seen goalies get a shut out facing over 40 shots but didnt need to play lights out.
     
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  22. maacoshark

    maacoshark Registered User

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    That is the best way to judge a goalie.
     
  23. BuckyDornster

    BuckyDornster Speed kills, Del.

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    Good high danger save percentage.
    Above average even strength save percentage.
    Passable short-handed save percentage.
    Go from there.
     
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  24. JoVel

    JoVel Registered User

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    That's true for sure. There's no such thing as a stat that perfectly describes a player. No matter how advanced the stats will go the best way will always be to just watch the players.
     
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  25. Deathstroke

    Deathstroke NJD vs Everybody! Now we Rise!

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    In his career he faced on average 29.2 shots per game in the playoffs as opposed to 26.4 during the regular season.
     
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