Discussion in 'National Hockey League Talk' started by jghockey, Sep 30, 2018.
Why do goalies take longer to develop than centers and wingers do?
There are only 31 starting goalie positions and 62 total goaltending positions in the NHL.
Compare that to 12 forwards and 6 defense on each team and its obvious why younger skaters get in before goalies.
Also a lot of goaltending is mental and that comes with experience, growth and maturity.
Goaltending has a lot more of a mental side to it than the other positions.
Yup. NHL talent has to be paired with NHL brains. There's a lot of talented goalies out there, but not all of them can hold up to the league's pressure.
It's all about risk. Think of distance from the goal.
Forwards develop quicker than defensemen who develop quicker than goalies.
A goalie not quite ready for the league can singlehandledly cost you a game
It's an interesting topic.
I was having this discussion with a friend a couple of weeks back.
We were discussing how there seems to be a developmemt pipeline issue with goalies.
I say this because starting goalies over the last 25 years have been playing a LOT more regular season games than the generation before.
It has dropped a little bit from about a decade ago when you had some starters playing in the mid-high 70 games a season but it is still "normal" to see a starter play in the high 60 games a season.
This is likely due to better equipment preventing injuries goalies were more prone to suffer a generation ago. However, another side effect of having better equipment has also been the limiting of opportunities for younger goalies.
In the late 70s-early 90s you would see back-ups playing more games and even some teams dressing 3rd stringers for a handful of games. It meant that you had a steady flow of development and likely a shorter overall career span for goalies. And, probably more goals being scored as those goalies developed.
Now-a-days, your starters are playing close to 90% of the games in a year. They are staying in the league longer and back-ups rarely get action. 3rd stringers get games next to never.
Coaches are weary to put backups in as they are less skilled so they go with the "surer bet." As was posted above, an inexperienced goalie can cost you a game. Problem is that it has now become the norm with no real thought towards the long-term consequences.
Goaltending prospects that would have gotten call-ups a generation before now seem to be stuck in a never-ending development hell. Many of those prospects who never get a shot in the NHL will eventually move into other leagues in Europe.
So some might say, "Well those guys aren't talented enough to make it to the big leagues." Some probably aren't but if you never give your prospects a fighting chance, how will you ever really know?
If there was more risk taken by coaches and GMs to allow more of the younger goalies to get call-ups, they would get the necessary seasoning in reasonable doses.
You would have a structured replacement cycle: once an older starting goalie began to decline, they would retire, their backup fills their shoes and 3rd stringers fill the backup's shoes and so on.
Instead you currently have older starters peaking and then declining to become backups and then retiring - giving no room for younger goalies to gradually move up the ranks. It's a knee-jerk reaction when a veteran goalie finally retires.
The structured cycle would probably result in more goals being scored with less experienced goalies getting more games. Though, maybe that is the "magic bullet" the NHL has been looking for to increase scoring.
With the current culture of overplaying an aging corps of goalies, you are bound to hit a breaking point. I think we might see that soon as we have a lot of guys in their 15-20th seasons who may all end up retiring in a short span of time. Probably results in an uptick in goals for a few seasons but nothing long-term.
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