A goaltender. Article over see you guys in a few days for more bad jokes. Today in the Globe and Mail James Mirtle talked with The Goalie Guild‘s Justin Goldman about James Reimer. I’d like to preface this by saying that James and Justin are two great dudes and I understand that on James’ end it’s not always easy to discuss statistical concepts in a daily newspaper read by the kinds of people who subscribe to newspapers.
As fans our tendency is to apply confirmation bias to anything we see; James Reimer is playing awesome because he’s a great goalie. I watched him play a bunch of games and he was great. It’s very likely that James Reimer is not a .929 SV% true talent goaltender and there are a bunch of factors. The first is that he’s only played 1,000 minutes in the NHL and shooters will learn his tendencies and begin to prepare for him. On the positive side the biggest weakness in Reimer’s game might be his glove hand and since other teams are fancy they’re probably shooting there anyhow.
"Reimer also needs to work on rebound control, especially on plays that develop quickly or in tight to his crease. That would include one-timers, stuff attempts from below the goal line and shots on odd-man rushes. The last area of improvement for Reimer would be tracking pucks through traffic and screens. This is clearly seen when on the penalty kill, as he only has a .867 save percentage (11 goals on 83 shots) in that situation."
15th place in the NHL in shorthanded SV% is about an .890. James Reimer has faced 83 shots on the PK, and to have an .890 he’d need to have only allowed 9 goals. Two goals seems like a pretty easy swing to imagine so I’m not sure if James Reimer’s PK SV% is particularly illustrative at this stage in his career.
One thing that I thought was interesting was the following; I saw what goalies finished a season with more than 1,000 minutes in net and over a .920 SV%. That query returned five names: James Reimer, Jonas Hiller, Nicklas Backstrom, Henrik Lundqvist and Dan Ellis. The query I’d like to run would be to see which goalies started their career at a .920 after 1,000 minutes and where they ended up after a larger sample. For a quick start though, that’s a good list of goalies to be on.