September 6, 2007

Southeastern Division Goaltending

The Falconer from Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?. Requested I do a little summary on the goaltenders from the Southeast division. I figured I would post it here for all to see.

Atlanta - Lehtonen

Save %: 0.912, Career Save %: 0.911
Shot Quality Neutral Save %: 0.915
Wins: 34, Wins excluding SOW: 27
Career Wins: 58, Career Games: 110

#2 Pick overall in 2002. Lehtonen has had a great start to what should be a long career. He's young and has a lot of time to improve. Bob Hartley destroyed Lehtonen's confidence by replacing him with Hedberg in game #2 after he allowed 4 goals on almost 40 shots. He was put back into the fire for game #3 allowing 7 goals on 35 shots. I expect him to rebound in the coming season, but I never understood what Hartley was thinking.

Carolina - Ward
Save %: 0.897, Career Save %: 0.892
Shot Quality Neutral Save %: 0.906
Wins: 30, Wins excluding SOW: 30
Career Wins: 44, Career Games: 88

#25 overall in 2002. The only reason Ward become Carolina's starting goaltender was his amazing playoff run. However he has never really impressed me as an outstanding goalie. Ward was able to squeak in a 30 win season, but was limited to only 60 games.

Florida - Vokoun
Save %: 0.920, Career Save %: 0.913
Shot Quality Neutral Save %: 0.921
Wins: 27, Wins excluding SOW: 25
Career Wins: 161, Career Games: 384

Mason played well enough in Nashville to steal his spot leaving Vokoun, a very good goaltender, free for the taking. Many have commented that if Luongo couldn't get Florida into the playoffs, then why should a weaker goalie be able to? Vokoun has missed a lot of important hockey games due to injuries and most importantly the playoffs two years in a row. Florida almost made the playoffs last season, Vokoun should be able to put them over the edge.

Tampa Bay - Denis & Holmqvist
Save %: 0.883, Career Save %: 0.903
Shot Quality Neutral Save %: 0.884
Wins: 17, Wins excluding SOW: 13
Career Wins: 111, Career Games: 338

I commented once that both of Tampa's goaltenders were terrible and was criticized and told it's their defense that's terrible and the goalies are doing the best with what they got. Personally I felt Denis was a big reason Columbus slipped into mediocrity for so many years. Denis made the record for most losses for a goalie two seasons in a row, granted he played the most minutes and saw the most shots.

Save %: 0.893, Career Save %: 0.882
Shot Quality Neutral Save %: 0.890
Wins: 27, Wins excluding SOW: 21
Career Wins: 27, Career Games: 52

"Lanky Holmqvist has the size to blot out the majority of the net from shooters and also has good technical ability and reflexes" (The Sports Forecaster 2001-02, p. 101). The one thing I will note of Holmqvist, despite his terrible stats he was able to play close to 50% hockey. Holmqvist doesn't even have a full season of experience to this point and the experience he does have is less than impressive. I don't see all that much positive in his game. John Tortorella choose to use Holmqvist over Denis in the playoffs last season.

Washington - Kolzig
Save %: 0.910, Career Save %: 0.927
Shot Quality Neutral Save %: 0.919
Wins: 22, Wins excluding SOW: 21
Career Wins: 276, Career Games: 657

Kolizg is getting older, but still may be the most important piece of a terrible Washington team. His skills are wasted on such a terrible team. Word on the street is that Washington is getting better, although not much. I think enough people know enough about Kolzig, there isn't much to add.

It would appear that there are three teams with excellent goaltenders (Florida, Atlanta and Washington - note these teams all have terrible defense) and two team's with terrible goaltenders (Tampa Bay and Carolina) with terrible defense as well, but they both have extreme offense to compensate with.


Dirk Hoag said...

Quick question for you - when calculating shot quality neutral save percentage, are you using only the games that these goalies started and finished, as in an earlier piece you did this year?

I'm in the process of tagging each shot with it's corresponding goalie, and was wondering if you'd already cracked that nut.

JavaGeek said...

This is based on all shots the goalie faced including games in which they were pulled or they replaced another goalie.

Matching shots to goalies is a bit tricky. The NHL nicely breaks things down by period, so if there's only one goalie in a period that goalie can have all the shots. If they were pulled mid-period (or several times in a period) it gets complicated and sometimes requires manual selection of shots. The NHL does record "Goalie Pulled" on the play-by-play so that's often where the cut-off is.