Monday, May 7, 2007

Brodeur's Playoffs 2007 - Analysis

Here is a breakdown of how Brodeur performed in the 2007 playoffs, using my own statistical analysis, as well as borrowing on the work done by Chris Boersma at Hockey Numbers:

vs. Tampa Bay:

Brodeur was mediocre against Tampa Bay. He stopped 91.7% of the shots he faced, but he faced easier than average shots (expected save percentage of .923), meaning I have his series shot-quality neutral save percentage at .909. Most of his value, however, came from game 5, where he posted a 31 save shutout. In the first three games of the series, he was terrible (over 1 goal below average all in all three games). In the other two games he was about average. So I have him as costing his team one game, winning his team one game, and playing slightly below average in the rest of them.

For the series, I have Tampa Bay as being expected to score 12.9 goals. Hockey Numbers calculated it as 11.5. The Lightning actually scored 14, indicating that Brodeur struggled.

vs. Ottawa:

Martin Brodeur was about average against Ottawa. He had two very good games, one awful game, one mediocre game, and two average games. The result was a .915 save percentage against nearly average shot difficulty, for a shot-quality neutral save percentage of .917.

Overall, I had Ottawa as being expected to score 14.4 goals, pretty close to Hockey Numbers' 14.3. Excluding empty netters, Ottawa scored 14 goals, or pretty much what was expected.

Just as in the Tampa series, Brodeur won his team one game (game 2) and lost his team one game (game 1). He was good in the game 3 loss as well, but Emery outplayed him in games 1, 4, and 5.


In the playoffs, Brodeur had a below average save percentage (.916 with a playoff average of .922). I had him expected to have a .918 save percentage, meaning that he was 0.7 goals below average and had a shot-quality neutral save percentage of .913. Hockey Numbers calculated his shot-quality adjusted efficiency at .891, and rated him at 2.2 goals below average.

Brodeur faced more shots than his opponent in both series, but in both series he faced a greater percentage of easy chances while his opponent had to make more tough saves. From the play-by-play records, New Jersey had 42 excellent chances (>20% chance of scoring), compared to just 23 against Brodeur. Brodeur faced more easy saves (<5% chance of going in) than his opponents as well, facing 125 gimmes to 110 for his playoff rivals. The average shot against Brodeur was from farther away than the average shot against either Emery or Holmqvist. Hockey Numbers has the Devils ranked #2 in shot quality against, which supports my numbers. New Jersey gave up a lot of shots, but did a very good job at taking away the most dangerous scoring chances. This also matches my subjective viewpoint from watching the games.

Brodeur's biggest problem in the playoffs was actually those routine shots. Hockey Numbers tracks the save percentage against easy shots, those with less than 5% chance of going in. The playoff average save percentage against such shots is 98%. Brodeur stopped just 95% of them, worst of all playoff goalies.

I have Brodeur as being outplayed by the opposing goalie in 5 out of 11 games. Hockey Numbers says he was outplayed in 7 of them. Both of us have Brodeur letting in more goals than an average goalie would have in 7 out of 11 games (64%).

All things considered, Brodeur was weak in the playoffs. He was not the reason his team lost, but goaltending was not a strength for New Jersey as many had expected. He had a few excellent games (game 5 against Tampa, games 2 and 3 against Ottawa), but they were balanced by some clear off-games (such as in the opening games in both series). On most nights his play was slightly below average, and he also let in more soft goals than any other playoff goaltender. All in all, he did not even come close to living up to his reputation as Martin Brodeur, clutch goalie extraordinaire.

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