Looking out for the little guy
Perhaps fittingly given the announcement that Mike Vernon's jersey is headed to the Saddledome rafters came out yesterday, I've got small goalies on the brain today.
As in: Where are they?
There's my handy chart, one of three that can be found at Globe on Hockey along with some more detailed data, and it's examining just the past five seasons. And, as the downward trend indicates, Vernon and his shorter comrades are headed for endangered species status.
It's something that has to be a byproduct of how the position has changed the past decade or so, when netminders like Olaf Kolzig and Roberto Luongo have flourished playing the butterfly style. It's hard not to think that this happens somewhere along the development line, however, and you wonder if junior hockey teams are shying away from shorter netminders. The bizarre thing is, I always remember growing up the smaller guys would always gravitate to the crease, while bigger kids were played on defence. Now, a shorter player is much more likely to be a forward than a goaltender, and that might be something we see increase as teams adapt to the NHL's rule changes.
Given the comment section is rather barren over at GoH, maybe we can get some sort of a discussion going there for the first time. (It might please the dead-tree medium overlords, if nothing else.)