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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

How do the Leafs incumbents measure up to the goaltending market

The Leafs are going to be aggressively dipping their toes into the waters of the goaltending market this summer, but should they? The answer definitely seems to be yes. Taking a look at five goaltending measures from last season it’s clear there are some options out there that the Leafs might want to explore.

The numbers used are from Moneypuck and goaltenders needed to play in at least 16 games to be on the list. There are 67 goaltenders in the league who met that criteria and are ranked.

Goals Saved Above expected/60
Eric Comrie 0.603 2nd
Darcy Kuemper 0.387 7th
Ville Husso 0.346 8th
Matt Murray 0.163 18th
Scott Wedgewood 0.046 27th
Braden Holtby 0.032 29th
Jack Campbell -0.049 36th
Alexandar Georgiev -0.234 49th
John Gibson -0.265 50th
Marc-Andre Fleury -0.321 54th
Petr Mrazek -0.668 64th
Kevin Lankinen 0.945 66th

Consider this first table your introduction to three truths.

  1. Jack Campbell is decidedly middle of the pack.
  2. Petr Mrazek is consistently at the bottom.
  3. Eric Comrie is worth the look in the 1B position.
Save % Above Expected
Eric Comrie 0.012 2nd
Darcy Kuemper 0.007 7th
Ville Husso 0.006 8th
Matt Murray 0.003 20th
Scott Wedgewood 0.001 26th
Braden Holtby 0.001 28th
Jack Campbell -0.001 37th
John Gibson -0.004 47th
Alexandar Georgiev -0.004 50th
Marc-Andre Fleury -0.005 52nd
Petr Mrazek -0.013 65th
Kevin Lankinen -0.018 66th

These numbers are very much a mirror of what is seen above. Interestingly, they might be making a case for Matt Murray, a goaltender speculated on recently, and showing that John Gibson doesn’t represent any improvement over Jack Campbell. This might change in later graphs, but Alexandar Georgiev is beginning to look like a reclamation project rather than a potential starter. Is a reclamation project the way the Leafs will want to start off working with a new goaltending coach?

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Wins Above Replacement
Darcy Kuemper 3.49 5th
Ville Husso 2.26 9th
Eric Comrie 1.72 14th
Matt Murray 0.53 24th
Scott Wedgewood 0.27 27th
Braden Holtby 0.11 30th
Jack Campbell -0.39 39th
Alexandar Georgiev -1.14 47th
Petr Mrazek -1.94 56th
John Gibson -2.38 61th
Marc-Andre Fleury -2.94 64th
Kevin Lankinen -4.77 66th

If you are wondering why Mrazek took the jump here, it’s because this isn’t a rate stat. This is based on time played, which makes Comrie’s results even more impressive. I don’t know how much of Fleury and Lankinen’s numbers on being in Chicago, but at this point I’d hope that even with Fleury being a recent Vezina winner, he’s probably established himself as too much of a risk for the cost that will be associated with him.

High Danger Unblocked Shot Attempt Save %
John Gibson 0.830 2nd
Ville Husso 0.742 12th
Eric Comrie 0.727 19th
Darcy Kuemper 0.713 24th
Matt Murray 0.712 26th
Braden Holtby 0.707 27th
Jack Campbell 0.676 40th
Alexandar Georgiev 0.671 43rd
Kevin Lankinen 0.650 50th
Scott Wedgewood 0.648 51st
Marc-Andre Fleury 0.630 58th
Petr Mrazek 0.595 63rd

Here’s where you really get at the heart of the Leafs struggles last season, and where John Gibson does establish himself as an upgrade. If you believe that a lot of the other numbers are influenced by a bad Anaheim team, this shows there is still an elite goaltender in there somewhere. As for Mrazek, those numbers are straight-up unacceptable, and even if he was fitting with injuries he shouldn’t be a risk the Leafs want to take again.

High Danger Unblocked Shot Attempt Save % Above Expected
John Gibson 0.133 1st
Darcy Kuemper 0.052 16th
Ville Husso 0.052 17th
Eric Comrie 0.046 18th
Matt Murray 0.023 28th
Braden Holtby 0.009 36th
Jack Campbell -0.01 44th
Kevin Lankinen -0.026 49th
Alexandar Georgiev -0.034 53rd
Scott Wedgewood -0.036 55th
Marc-Andre Fleury -0.04 59th
Petr Mrazek -0.094 66th

This is a lot more of the same and looking at the gap in the rankings, especially you can see where Gibson is still up there with the best in the league stopping high danger chances and that’s an area you can always build off of.

Conclusions

There are enough options of either higher quality or potential low cost that make returning to Jack Campbell a bad idea.

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Petr Mrazek was straight up bad, and bringing him back simply because they know he can be better is hoping for a dead cat bounce on a goaltender that has struggled with injury issues over the past few seasons. It’s easy to find a way to move on.

John Gibson certainly addresses the biggest area of need for the Leafs but is still likely to be regarded as a goaltender that will cost a lot to acquire. It doesn’t seem unrealistic that he can rediscover his elite results, so contract be damned, assets will need to be given up.

Every effort should be made to bring in Eric Comrie as the 1B. He’s consistently at the top with a small sample but was considered to have a lot of upside when drafted. He could be coming into his own and might be the best long term stability option at a good price.

Kuemper and Husso are both good, but to some extent are products of good teams. They’ll cost a fair bit, but Husso might cost a little less because he’s less established. That younger, less established aspect might also make him a longer term solution, which intrigues me a bit more.

Braden Holtby is a safety school. Someone to consider if the first choices don’t pan out because he still has some hockey left in him, even if his numbers might also be aided by a strong Dallas blue line.

Goaltenders like Georgiev and Lankinen were interesting to me before this exercise, but the only way they make sense is if you wind up with a goaltending coach who is adamant he can change them, or in Lankinen’s situation he might be willing to accept a 3rd string position and replace Michael Hutchinson.

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By the numbers it is clear the Leafs can get better and have some decent options to do so, especially considering this is by no means the full list of goaltenders that will be on the move.

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