Post-Lockout "Average" Goaltending

Chemmy
December 29 2010 07:48AM

Looking at save percentages I wanted to get a feeling for what an average goaltender can do post lockout. A lot of people think anything above .900 is fine for a goaltender but Craig Anderson's .900 puts him in 37th place among goaltenders that NHL.com lists. Their list is for goaltenders who have made or on pace to make enough starts to qualify for the Vezina among other things, for the most part it weeds out guys who have played only one game.

So if there are 36 other goaltenders stopping more pucks than he is that implies that six teams have better backups than Craig Anderson. If we wanted "average" (but really median) goaltending we'd look at 15th place which is currently held by Semyon Varlamov and his .919 SV%.

Just as .900 seems low for today's NHL .919 seems pretty high to ask for average. One of my readers at Pension Plan Puppets asked a great question last night; what if we ignore single seasons and look at data for multiple years? What's the average then?

Varlamov is a great example; he's got a .919 this season but had a .909 last year and his career average is a .913. It seems to me like every year a goalie gets "hot" over a season but can't repeat those numbers. Craig Anderson was lights out last year but seems to have come back down to earth. In all likelihood it's a sample size issue and one season of starts for a goaltender doesn't show their true talent.

With that in mind I ran the numbers with Hockey-Reference's excellent Player Season Finder tool to see among goaltenders with more than 100 games played post lockout what their numbers were:

Rk Player From To Tm Lg Pos GP W L T/O GA SA SV SV% GAA SO PIM MIN
1 Tomas Vokoun 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 324 156 123 36 804 10270 9466 .922 2.56 30 38 18808
2 Tim Thomas 2006 2011 BOS NHL G 284 141 94 38 689 8695 8006 .921 2.52 22 30 16407
3 Jonas Hiller 2008 2011 ANA NHL G 162 80 58 9 377 4737 4360 .920 2.52 8 0 8986
4 Niklas Backstrom 2007 2011 MIN NHL G 254 131 77 33 583 7114 6531 .918 2.39 20 16 14653
5 Jaroslav Halak 2007 2011 TOT NHL G 129 70 44 11 316 3856 3540 .918 2.55 13 4 7425
6 Henrik Lundqvist 2006 2011 NYR NHL G 367 192 122 46 840 10191 9351 .918 2.34 29 6 21568
7 Roberto Luongo 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 374 207 124 38 911 10938 10027 .917 2.51 30 20 21754
8 Martin Brodeur 2006 2011 NJD NHL G 361 204 124 30 836 9846 9010 .915 2.35 38 34 21354
9 Ilya Bryzgalov 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 283 131 103 31 686 8030 7344 .915 2.55 18 16 16127
10 Ryan Miller 2006 2011 BUF NHL G 343 194 105 36 856 10110 9254 .915 2.55 18 18 20165
11 Pekka Rinne 2006 2011 NSH NHL G 135 70 42 13 310 3631 3321 .915 2.45 17 14 7601
12 Craig Anderson 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 172 78 57 20 446 5187 4741 .914 2.78 13 38 9643
13 Dominik Hasek 2006 2008 TOT NHL G 140 93 31 13 288 3366 3078 .914 2.09 18 48 8275
14 Cristobal Huet 2006 2010 TOT NHL G 219 115 70 21 515 6014 5499 .914 2.47 20 6 12520
15 Carey Price 2008 2011 MTL NHL G 168 79 61 20 432 5039 4607 .914 2.63 8 12 9846
16 Miikka Kiprusoff 2006 2011 CGY NHL G 404 215 138 46 984 11309 10325 .913 2.49 30 26 23713
17 Jonathan Quick 2008 2011 LAK NHL G 145 79 51 10 341 3905 3564 .913 2.41 12 2 8474
18 Manny Fernandez 2006 2009 TOT NHL G 134 70 44 11 320 3656 3336 .912 2.49 5 20 7721
19 Kari Lehtonen 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 239 111 95 21 652 7439 6787 .912 2.85 13 22 13722
20 Chris Mason 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 248 118 87 28 605 6874 6269 .912 2.62 19 6 13849
21 J-S Giguere 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 273 138 82 40 660 7449 6789 .911 2.56 15 32 15445
22 Martin Biron 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 226 113 75 24 604 6711 6107 .910 2.82 9 45 12829
23 Evgeni Nabokov 2006 2010 SJS NHL G 305 172 84 37 722 8020 7298 .910 2.43 24 54 17794
24 Ty Conklin 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 142 69 41 13 341 3735 3394 .909 2.65 14 20 7720
25 Jason LaBarbera 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 129 48 52 12 317 3472 3155 .909 2.82 5 4 6739
26 Dwayne Roloson 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 286 112 130 33 775 8525 7750 .909 2.83 8 48 16432
27 Dan Ellis 2008 2011 TOT NHL G 135 60 48 13 328 3553 3225 .908 2.71 12 6 7258
28 Marc-Andre Fleury 2006 2011 PIT NHL G 309 161 100 31 800 8713 7913 .908 2.73 16 30 17602
29 Steve Mason 2009 2011 CBJ NHL G 141 63 55 17 365 3946 3581 .908 2.73 16 4 8016
30 Cam Ward 2006 2011 CAR NHL G 302 153 111 26 791 8558 7767 .908 2.77 13 14 17125
31 Brian Elliott 2008 2011 OTT NHL G 113 58 36 10 277 2992 2715 .907 2.68 9 0 6193
32 Ray Emery 2006 2010 TOT NHL G 157 84 51 15 402 4319 3917 .907 2.71 11 40 8892
33 Martin Gerber 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 174 95 55 14 462 4981 4519 .907 2.78 7 26 9954
34 Manny Legace 2006 2010 TOT NHL G 219 110 64 23 508 5483 4975 .907 2.54 18 6 12017
35 Rick DiPietro 2006 2011 NYI NHL G 215 95 85 25 597 6268 5671 .905 2.87 11 80 12471
36 Mike Smith 2007 2011 TOT NHL G 157 64 65 18 402 4217 3815 .905 2.74 10 53 8802
37 Marty Turco 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 346 175 120 39 851 8957 8106 .905 2.56 20 96 19972
38 Brent Johnson 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 131 52 50 14 355 3702 3347 .904 3.03 2 22 7028
39 Pascal Leclaire 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 171 61 74 15 446 4629 4183 .904 2.88 10 8 9287
40 Alex Auld 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 196 78 79 26 519 5346 4827 .903 2.84 5 10 10980
41 Peter Budaj 2006 2011 COL NHL G 216 95 76 26 553 5674 5121 .903 2.77 9 8 11977
42 Mathieu Garon 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 215 98 78 18 558 5767 5209 .903 2.86 15 26 11708
43 Nikolai Khabibulin 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 244 105 103 28 675 6987 6312 .903 2.88 8 34 14061
44 Antero Niittymaki 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 226 92 82 31 622 6398 5776 .903 2.95 5 6 12664
45 Curtis Sanford 2006 2009 TOT NHL G 100 32 36 11 234 2353 2119 .901 2.82 4 4 4974
46 Brian Boucher 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 106 37 48 12 266 2648 2382 .900 2.80 5 6 5698
47 Olaf Kolzig 2006 2009 TOT NHL G 175 69 77 24 543 5426 4883 .900 3.18 2 32 10254
48 Jose Theodore 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 245 125 83 24 664 6669 6005 .900 2.90 6 16 13745
49 Johan Hedberg 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 171 73 57 16 458 4547 4089 .899 3.03 5 38 9057
50 Fredrik Norrena 2007 2009 CBJ NHL G 100 35 45 11 243 2409 2166 .899 2.79 5 6 5235
51 Chris Osgood 2006 2011 DET NHL G 174 95 39 29 441 4337 3896 .898 2.68 9 24 9881
52 Vesa Toskala 2006 2010 TOT NHL G 226 113 71 25 605 5908 5303 .898 2.86 11 14 12679
53 Ed Belfour 2006 2007 TOT NHL G 107 49 39 14 311 3026 2715 .897 3.02 1 22 6186
54 Curtis Joseph 2006 2009 TOT NHL G 145 58 63 6 392 3735 3343 .895 3.07 8 30 7658
55 Patrick Lalime 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 121 33 61 16 345 3266 2921 .894 3.12 2 10 6640
56 Andrew Raycroft 2006 2011 TOT NHL G 184 75 77 17 521 4869 4348 .893 3.13 5 14 10000
57 Marc Denis 2006 2009 TOT NHL G 104 39 48 3 305 2779 2474 .890 3.28 2 6 5574
58 John Grahame 2006 2008 TOT NHL G 102 44 42 4 286 2576 2290 .889 3.11 5 20 5515

The 15th best goaltender since the lockout is Carey Price and his .914. My gut feeling was that 0.915 is a good "average" goaltender save percentage. The median on this list is 29th place which is Steve Mason's 0.908 SV%. I think 0.910 is a reasonable number to expect year on year for a "good" goalie, not great, not terrible.

In the bottom seven spots there are four Toronto Maple Leafs goaltenders: Curtis Joseph, Ed Belfour, Andrew Raycroft and Vesa Toskala. Jonas Gustavsson's only played 62 games but would be in 47th place on this list at his current pace. Years of terrible goaltending are a big reason why the Leafs are as bad as they've been.

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Like many people Chemmy was born. He lives with his wife and a dog named Wendel Bark.
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#2 Ian
December 29 2010, 10:38AM
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@Chemmy

I don't like the crummy table.

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#3 Pension Plan Puppets
December 29 2010, 07:14PM
Trash it!
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I thought the table was the strongest part.

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#4 CoryNewb
December 31 2010, 02:42PM
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Pension Plan Puppets wrote:

I thought the table was the strongest part.

Was thinking the same thing.

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