Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sharing the load
Goalies who play the big minutes

It seems to me that Calgary and San Jose forgot they have more than one goaltender this season.

Even Roberto Luongo's been out of the net for 8 per cent of the minutes this year, but Evgeni Nabokov and Miikka Kiprusoff? Talk about workhorses.

Nabokov's on pace to play 80.5 games this season.

Name Team GP MIN %mins /82
1 Evgeni Nabokov SAN 21 1249 98.1% 80.5
2 Miikka Kiprusoff CGY 21 1237 97.4% 79.9
3 Henrik Lundqvist NYR 20 1208 95.0% 77.9
4 Roberto Luongo VAN 19 1109 91.8% 75.3
5 Ryan Miller BUF 16 965 88.7% 72.7
6 Rick DiPietro NYI 16 901 88.4% 72.5
7 Johan Holmqvist TAM 18 1039 86.6% 71.0
8 Tomas Vokoun FLA 19 1140 86.4% 70.9
9 Martin Biron PHI 17 966 84.6% 69.4
10 Martin Brodeur NJD 17 1001 83.3% 68.3
11 Manny Legace STL 15 866 80.3% 65.9
12 Martin Gerber OTT 15 907 79.1% 64.8
13 Chris Mason NAS 16 896 74.3% 60.9
14 Tim Thomas BOS 14 848 73.6% 60.4
15 Cam Ward CAR 16 924 73.2% 60.0
16 Olaf Kolzig WAS 14 812 68.4% 56.0
17 Nikolai Khabibulin CHI 14 799 66.9% 54.9
18 Marty Turco DAL 14 805 66.4% 54.4
19 Cristobal Huet MON 13 786 64.7% 53.0
20 Pascal Leclaire COB 14 781 64.4% 52.8


At 12:48 a.m., November 22, 2007, Blogger garnet said...

You know what this needs? Historical perspective and analysis. There are coaches who'll spell their No. 1 netminder and there are those who will ride him into the ground, but I've never seen a Bill James-like study which might suggest which approach yields the best results.

At 2:16 a.m., November 22, 2007, Blogger Pleasure Motors said...

Henrik Lundqvist is incredible. He's easily the best of the top eight goalies on this list.

I'd also be really curious to see the historical numbers for something like this.

At 4:22 a.m., November 22, 2007, Blogger Vik said...

In fairness to Calgary, their backup has been injured and they've been letting Matt Keetley watch the games from the bench.

At 11:14 a.m., November 22, 2007, Anonymous Dennis Prouse said...

Garnet makes an excellent point. How will anyone know which approach is the best? Hockey could use a good dose of "Moneyball", especially in the era of the salary cap. My gut instinct tells me you are better off riding your number one goalie, and paying a minimum salary to the guy in the baseball cap on the bench, but of course I have nothing to back that up.

At 12:04 p.m., November 22, 2007, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

My gut instinct tells me you are better off riding your number one goalie, and paying a minimum salary to the guy in the baseball cap on the bench, but of course I have nothing to back that up.

It probably depends on what sort of success metric you want to put on that. Regular season success or playoff success?

I'd probably back up your gut feel for regular season success, but we shouldn't understate the role of the #2 come postseason. The last two cups, at least, have gone to goalies with less than 16 wins.

At 12:17 p.m., November 22, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

In 2004, I remember that all 4 teams in the conference finals had goalies that had played, at maximum only 55 games that year. The same situation arose the next season ('06). And last season, similar results came from the final 4 teams, although it was a little less pronounced.

Obviously, when guys backstopped by Brodeur, Roy, and Belfour reached the finals through most of the 90's, it seemed that riding your #1 was the best option. Recently, there's been a trend to have two good goalies on your team to get you to the final.

For reference:

San Jose - Nabokov/Toskala
Calgary - Kiprsuoff/Turek/Maclennan
Philadelphia - Esche/Hackett/Burke
Tampa Bay - Khabibulin/Grahame

Anaheim - Bryzgalov/Giguere
Edmonton - Roloson/Markkanen/Conklin/Morrison
Buffalo - Miller/Biron
Carolina - Ward/Gerber (Gerber actually played 60 or so games, but was the backup in the playoffs)

Detroit - Hasek/Osgood
Anaheim - Giguere/Bryzgalov
Buffalo - Miller/Biron/Conklin
Ottawa - Emery/Gerber

At 1:53 p.m., November 22, 2007, Blogger Hawerchuk said...

There is a very slight correlation (R^2 = 0.04) between regular season team winning percentage and games played by the starter.

I'm not really sure how else you would quantify this effect - look at winning percentage in back-to-back seasons where the starter's load changed?

Incidentally, the percentage of games played by the starter has increased from 60% in 1980 to over 70% now.

At 2:10 p.m., November 22, 2007, Blogger Adam C said...

I don't think you can take a good goalie and make him a great goalie just by playing him for 78 games (heck, the Leafs tried that last year...). I think the decision to ride one guy has to depend on who that guy is - whether he's good enough, and whether he can handle the work.

Heavy regular season workloads have yet to translate into playoff success for Kiprusoff. We'll see how Nabokov (who's had injuries in his past) holds up this year.


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