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?
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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.
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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.