Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hasek vs. Brodeur: Why It's Not Even Close

In 1993-94 season Martin Brodeur and Dominik Hasek both became full-time starting goalies in the NHL, Brodeur because he was a rookie, and Hasek because he had managed to get out of the Czech Republic, and was finally given the chance at a starting job. For the next decade, until Hasek retired for the first time in 2002, they were both considered among the premier goalies in the National Hockey League. Which one was better? Let's see what the numbers say.

From 1993-94 until 2001-02, Dominik Hasek faced 1,060 more shots than Martin Brodeur, and gave up 135 fewer goals.

I had to check those numbers again because I thought I had made a mistake at first. It is sometimes easy to shrug off save percentages, since there doesn't look like that much of a difference between Hasek's .926 and Brodeur's .911, but the difference shows itself in the totals. To try to quantify the gap between Hasek and Brodeur, I looked for a goalie that faced about 1,000 fewer shots than Brodeur and gave up 130 more goals in the same time period. There wasn't one, because no goalie that bad would get enough playing time to qualify. The two closest were Arturs Irbe (1870 fewer shots, 62 fewer goals against) and Jocelyn Thibault (1948 fewer shots, 77 fewer goals). Brodeur was much closer to guys like Irbe or Thibault than he was to Hasek in the 1990s. The Dominator was just on a completely different level.

Hasek was even more dominant in a team context. The 2002 Red Wings were great, but his Sabres teams were pretty average. Altogether, his teams won 343 out of 706 games from 1994-2002. The Devils were a consistently dominant team in front of Brodeur, with 380 wins in the same time period. They were not just better defensively but offensively as well, outscoring Hasek's teams by 116 goals.

Hasek's backups were 79-95-21, with a 2.96 GAA and a .900 save percentage. Brodeur's backups were 58-62-12 with a 2.63 GAA and a .900 save percentage, facing 3.4 fewer shots per game. Hasek's backups were more talented goalies, as most of them had been or became starters in the NHL: Grant Fuhr, Martin Biron, Dwayne Roloson, Steve Shields, Manny Legace. Brodeur had two decent backups, Mike Dunham and John Vanbiesbrouck, and they combined for a .911 save percentage. The mediocre Chris Terreri, backup for 5 of the seasons, was at .898, and the rest were minor-leaguers (.882).

What about the playoffs? Well, Brodeur certainly had more playoff opportunities because of the strength of his teams, playing 114 playoff games to Hasek's 90. His 67-47 record was also slightly better than the Dominator's 52-37. However, Brodeur's winning percentage of .588 was below New Jersey's regular season average of .615, while Hasek's playoff win mark of .584 was much better than his team's seasonal rate of .559, indicating that the Dominator carried his team in the postseason. In total, Brodeur faced 260 more shots and gave up 33 more goals than Hasek, which meant Hasek had a better save percentage, .927 to .922. Hasek only had one Cup win to Brodeur's two, but from 1994 to 2002 Hasek was the better playoff goalie.

So Brodeur is almost totally outclassed by that comparison. However, it is not really fair to him since the analyzed period includes his early seasons and none of his later Vezina-winning years. To compare apples to apples, let's put the two of them side-by-side at a similar age and look at their records from the age of 29 to the age of 34 (which because of Hasek's late start are the only seasons we can use to compare the two as starting NHL goalies):

Age 29-34 seasons: Dominik Hasek faced 1,494 more shots than Martin Brodeur, and gave up 41 fewer goals.

So Hasek faced almost an extra season's worth of shots, and still gave up fewer goals. Brodeur did miss his age 32 season because of the lockout, so I guess hypothetically he might have played an entire season without giving up a goal, while using his puckhandling skills to create an additional 40 goals of offence. But anything less than that, and it has to be conceded that Hasek was better than Brodeur at a similar age.

The team context is even more skewed in this sample. Between Hasek's age 29 and 34 seasons, Buffalo went 211-180-69 for 491 points in 460 games. In the same career point for Brodeur, New Jersey went 225-124-61 for 511 points in just 410 games. Buffalo scored 2.9 goals per game and gave up 2.5, while New Jersey scored 2.7 and gave up 2.3. One striking difference was in penalty minutes. Buffalo averaged 22 PIM per game, while New Jersey averaged just 11, another advantage to Brodeur who likely faced about half as many power plays.

Hasek's backups went 40-55-13 with a 3.31 GAA and an .897 save percentage, while Brodeur's were 17-15-6 with a 2.21 GAA and a .910 save percentage. Again, this despite Hasek's backups being better goalies (Fuhr, Biron, Roloson et al), as Brodeur's teammates in this period were Scott Clemmensen, Corey Schwab, J.F. Damphousse, and, for one season, the 38-year old John Vanbiesbrouck. The shot totals reinforce New Jersey's defensive strength: Buffalo's backups faced 32 shots per game, while New Jersey's faced just 24. New Jersey was a much better team than Buffalo, meaning that even if Hasek and Brodeur had similar statistics, Hasek would have been the better goalie. The fact that Hasek outplayed Brodeur by a wide margin despite the team factors shows that he was a decisively better goalie.

Hasek was also better in the playoffs in this sample. Brodeur went 44-36 with a 2.00 GAA and a .919 save percentage, stats that were about average given the low-scoring era he played in. Hasek was 28-20 with a 2.01 GAA and a .933 save percentage. Again, Hasek's playoff winning percentage (.583) was higher than his team's during the regular season (.534), while Brodeur's Devils went from a .623 regular season rate to just .550 in the postseason.

Some of Hasek's performance statistics are almost mind-boggling. It is probably only the fact that he came to the NHL late that prevents him from being a near-unanimous choice as the best ever, or at least one of the top 2 or 3 in history. He was much better than Brodeur in the late '90s, and much better at a similar age. Frankly, I think it is astonishing that anyone who followed NHL hockey in the 1990s would rank Brodeur ahead of Hasek. Subjectively and objectively, the Dominator was in a league of his own.

24 comments:

Puddy said...

Did you take into consideration that Brodeur plays in the Eastern Conference and, more specifically, the Atlantic Division? There is a lot more scoring. It's much like Roger Clemens pitching in the National League last year and now trying to do it in the offensively superior American League.

Brodeur was also better than Luongo in every significant category -- Wins, GP, MIN, SA, SV, GAA, SV% and even shutouts. As a matter of fact, Brodeur led the NHL in six of those eight categories, and not other goalie finished ahead of him in both of the other two categories, GAA and SV%. Furthermore, Luongo finished

Vancouver also scored more goals than the New Jersey Devils, and the Canucks had two players register more than 80 PTS during the regular season, the Sedins (Henrik 84 and Daniel 81.) Patrik Elias led the Devils with 69 PTS during the regular season.

It's not a question of whether Marty is the best in 2006-07. It is a question of whether he will be the best ever.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

I definitely took scoring levels into consideration. There is more scoring in the East, unless the New Jersey Devils are playing. This is because of the systems of play - the East is more wide open. I did a post about it, and the difference in scoring is almost entirely a result of a higher number of shots taken. The Devils don't give up many shots, so the "harder conference" argument for Brodeur doesn't hold water.

Furthermore, GP, MIN, and SA are not significant categories. Who cares how much a goalie plays? The award is for the best goalie, not the most durable goalie. Luongo had a better winning percentage and a better save percentage in all 3 game situations (even-strength, PK, PP) in a tougher conference, so he should have won the Vezina.

Finally, did you read the above post? I just don't understand how so many consider Brodeur to in the debate for the greatest ever when his main contemporary rival, Hasek, obliterates him so completely in everything except for team statistics.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you've devoted an entire website towards attempting to diminish what Brodeur has accomplished is both pathetic and sad. You clearly have no life.

The guy is going to go down as one of the greatest goaltenders ever to play the game, regarldess of how much time you waste with this garbage.

Bitchany said...

Ya know I'm going to have to agree with anonymous on this. Say what you want about Brodeur...but he is no fraud...he is an amazing goaltender no matter how you look at it. Put up all the stats you want. When it comes down to loyalty and who you would want your team centered around any wise person would choose Marty.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Loyalty? Pardon me, but what are you choosing, an NHL goalie or a family pet? Any wise GM would choose the best goalie available, and that has never at any time been Martin Brodeur. As I see it, this is a problem with mainstream goalie evaluation - subjectivity and intangibles trump all, and the key criteria aren't actual performance measures, they are whoever "inspires their team to win" or is "intimidating in the net" or some other vaguely defined and highly biased measuring stick.

Some may see this blog as attempting to diminishing what Brodeur has done. I see it as looking past the hype to correctly interpret his actual performance. Whatever, different perspectives. If I did a pro-Brodeur fan site, you likely would have no problem with that. Well, then see this as a fan site - for the goalies that never got much exposure or recognition since it was being unjustly showered on Brodeur because of his outstanding teammates. And certainly not only Brodeur, but many other goalies that played for elite teams and thereby received disproportionate credit (Vernon, Fuhr, Billy Smith, etc., etc.).

Anonymous said...

lol, your an idiot. did you ever consider writing fiction? your pretty good at it. your also spectacular at twisting facts so out of proportion that you could work for the Bush administration. Thanks for the laughs, your "analysis" was classic.

Anonymous said...

again, you make a solid argument for hasek, but in my opinion, hasek being the greatest all time, is weak, for the same reasons that barry sanders or sandy koufax are not considered the best ever. they simply did not show sustained excellence for a long enough period of time. as most of you statistics prove, and as many will argee, the hasek era of sominance was from 93-94 to 01-02. his platooning in detroit in between retirements have if anything weakened his case, but how can you consider someone who was only an elite goaltender or 8 years, the best? his numbers were no doubt above and beyond others, but the facts support players with longevity.

not to mention the reason many consider roy the greatest, is because of his playoff performance, which statistically is subpar to brodeur. hasek then by this same measure is not on par with brodeur, and significantly ahead of roy. hasek also has been known, along with roy, to take a good deal of penalties, while brodeur has proven to be very disciplined.

my main point though, is that how is somebody who has been excellent for 15 years, and legendary when viewing his playoff career as a whole (brodeur), subpar to somebody who was equally, if not slightly better, for half that amount of time.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

These "short career" arguments about Dominik Hasek are, in my view, silly. Dominik Hasek was an elite goalie for 20 years. In the 1987 Canada Cup he was considered one of the best in the world already, and in 2005-06 he was the best goalie in the league that year until he got injured at the Olympics. In between he had the most dominant peak of any goalie ever. Just because communism delayed his start in the NHL is no reason to claim he wasn't excellent - his Czech league and international records attest to that. Hasek is still playing in the league at age 43. So we have plenty of information to judge his career.

Hasek wasn't just slightly better than Brodeur - he blew him right out of the water. As outlined in the post above, Brodeur was much closer to being league average than to Hasek. Imagine the best goalscorer in the league who wins the Rocket Richard Trophy almost every single year, and then imagine a decent guy who is above average and maybe top 5 in the league in his best seasons. That was the gap between Hasek and Brodeur, and that is why I don't think a few extra NHL seasons by Brodeur makes much of a difference.

Finally, claiming a goalie is statistically inferior to another is imprecise unless you present evidence. Which statistics are you referring to? Wins, shutouts, GAA? Era-adjusted save percentage? I think the claim that Roy's playoff performance "statistically is subpar" compared to Brodeur's is highly dubious, and would be challenged by the vast majority of hockey analysts.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Surprising actually. You have proven that statistically Hasek is a better goalie than Broduer. Fair enough. But a few of your points dont hold water...

1) Number of games played DOES matter when debating which goalie had a better career.

Broduer is a workhorse playing 70+ games per year since he became the starting goalie for the devils 12 years ago and his best numbers have been in the last 2 year when scoring has been up (which were not included in your comparisons).

Hasek played over 70 games ONLY ONCE in his entire career. Look at it this way.

If pedro martinez pitched every night would he have good numbers (ERA, OPP AVG, etc) compared to any other guy that only pitched every 5 days ? Of course not, but that doesnt mean pedro isnt a better player.

I know its a different sport but it gets my point across. The rest hasek got due to injury had a MAJOR impact on his better numbers. They guy never played long enough in a season to get tired !

2) 30 out of 30 GM's in the league would take Broduer over Hasek if they had the choice EVEN WITH haseks superior numbers.

Hasek has always been known to be a head case and a whiner and more injury prone that a premature baby.

Broduer is the definition of calm and clutch and i have never heard anyone ever complain about him as a teamate.

Obviously my 30 out of 30 speculation is just that, speculation but i have followed the game closely for a long time and i believe that i am right about that.

That all said i am glad you posted this comparison. BUT, i would still take a Broduer over a injury prone, hot-headed whiner like hasek and sacrifice the 130 goals over 10 seasons any day of the week.

You do realize thats 13 goals a season right? Or 1 extra goal every 7 games ? Kind of puts your comparison in perspective now doesnt it...

Loyal

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Hasek had much better backup goalies than Brodeur. That is the main reason he played fewer games. Sure he got injured often, but not as much as you claim. If you have a good backup goalie, then you play him a bunch of games. If you don't, you ride your starter. The best backup Brodeur ever had was probably Mike Dunham, and not coincidentally those two seasons were the fewest games he played (even though one of them was possibly the best season of Brodeur's career).

Brodeur's extra 5-10 games a year over everybody else doesn't matter at all. It is simply a matter of roster construction and coaching choice. Sure, Brodeur is quite durable and able to handle the load, but I think the difficulty of playing 70-75 games is way overrated. They did it back in the Original Six era with no masks and terrible equipment, so modern goalies should be able to handle it without any problems at all.

That all said i am glad you posted this comparison. BUT, i would still take a Broduer over a injury prone, hot-headed whiner like hasek and sacrifice the 130 goals over 10 seasons any day of the week.

The difference between Hasek and Brodeur was not 130 goals. It was greater than that, because if you face an extra 1,060 shots you would expect to give up around a 100 extra goals on those extra shots. Since Hasek allowed 135 fewer goals, the difference between them is something like 230 goals, which over 9 seasons is about 25 goals per season. That is a goal every 3 games, and roughly the equivalent of 4-5 extra wins in the standings, even with Brodeur's extra starts taken into account. There are also a few important things NOT taken into account, such as the advantages Brodeur had of playing on a stronger defensive team, facing easier shots and fewer power play shots against.

Maybe 30 out of 30 GM's would pass on the obviously superior goaltender because the other one is a nice guy. They would still be crazy to do so. Does Brodeur's calmness and friendliness inspire his teammates to an extra 5 wins a season? I very much doubt it.

Martin said...

Dominik Hasek from '93-'01 was simply the best goaltender who ever strapped on the pads. You could argue that Roy, Sawchuk or Brodeur had better numbers but they were not as dominant as Hasek was for that period.

2 Harts and 6 Vezinas for individual awards says pretty much everything about how he played his position. He got a late start and he wasn't always on the best the franchise but he was Gretzky/Lemiuex of his era.

I'd like to see Brodeur play on team where he'd actually see some quality shots. Trade him to the Thrashers and lets see him lose his luster quickly.

Goalie Fan said...

where's your fancy shot quality percentage rating?
1,060 more shots means nothing if they were easy lobs or shots into the blocker. and the same way win percentage is influenced by the team playing in front of the goalie, so is save percentage. you know as well as I that the neutral-zone trap style that was played in NJ does not allow many shots & the ones that do get thru are often odd man rushes or turnovers... poor odds for a netminder.
but really this is all academic... we should all have this discussion in 4 years after Marty retires. we'll see who comes out on top after all ;)

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

I don't have shot quality save percentage stats because we don't have detailed shot data available for those years. However, I am very confident in stating that when he was in Buffalo Hasek did not face easier shots than Brodeur did in New Jersey. Just take a look at their teammates.

You know as well as I that the neutral-zone trap style that was played in NJ does not allow many shots & the ones that do get thru are often odd man rushes or turnovers...poor odds for a netminder.

No, I don't know that, because it isn't true. Great defensive teams allow few shots AND few great scoring chances. Many people state this line in favour of Brodeur, but if this was true they are basically accusing the New Jersey coaching staff of being idiots. So, let's see, we have a supposedly great goalie in net, so let's make sure we block all the long shots. We apparently don't trust that our All-Star goalie can stop any of those long ones, so don't let any of those shots get through, and we'd rather take the chance that the other team gets a close-in chance or an odd-man rush than that somebody tests Brodeur with a 60 foot wrister. Does that really make sense to anybody?

And how exactly does a trapping team give up a lot of odd-man rushes? New Jersey gave up very few odd-man rushes when they were at their defensive peak. Teams that play defensively-focused hockey do not give up many odd-man rushes - offensive teams do.

we should all have this discussion in 4 years after Marty retires. we'll see who comes out on top after all ;)

Of course this discussion should be revisited once Brodeur hangs them up, but as this post illustrates Hasek is currently well ahead of Brodeur, so Brodeur would have to keep improving his game in his late thirties and early forties to even get close to the Dominator. I don't think that is particularly likely, but I guess we'll see what happens.

Yannick said...

Great article that shows pretty well the difference between Hasek and Brodeur, will be useful to speak with the pro-Brodeur fans actually ;)

I had to laugh at one of the previous comments: "30 out of 30 GM's in the league would take Broduer over Hasek if they had the choice EVEN WITH haseks superior numbers." Well, Hasek got 6 Vezina trophies, remember who is voting for the Vezina trophy? And in 2002, when the Red Wings, arguably the team with the best GM in the NHL, wanted to make a run at the SC, they chose Hasek... and they did get the cup :))

Anonymous said...

When the sabres went to the Stanley Cup finals (during the "no goal" shenanigans) Hasek's team (sabres) only scored 9 goals in essentially 7 games ( including overtime). How does anyone think they got to a game 6? 1 simple reason: Hasek. Montreal< Colorado< and New Jersey had better teams than Hasek ever had in buffalo. And oh yeah who won all those Vezinas? Hasek baby

win2009 said...

i agree with everything that hasek is the better goalie....another side note....brodeur had scott niedermayer(easily a future hall of famer)for most of the 90's and scott stevens(hall of famer)....hasek's best defensemen was probly alexei zhitnik...i rest my case

Herbert said...

What do you want a national dominik hasek day. He's not underrated. Most people appreciate him. I'm still pissed you said Brodeur and Roy were overrated. Your blogging priviliges should be suspended for life.

Ian said...

Nice blog, I enjoyed reading it. What you have written is statistically indisputable, Hasek is clearly the better net minder by the numbers.

I say that rather begrudgingly as I have never been fond of the fellow; something about him has always rubbed me the wrong way (I largely believe it was that damned ugly mask). I also do hold the belief that there are a few things that cant be analyzed by simple numbers.

For one, you could argue about the good press Marty has brought over the years to NJ which would have helped with revenue and recruitment. I dont think one could dispute that Marty has drawn in more fans over the years then the big D.

Another impact could be the team chemistry/mental strength. I have played at a semi-pro level and understand how large an impact the mental state of a team can have.

Having said that, I would assume that neither of these arguments would sway anyone one way or the other but still they are worth pondering.

I myself would heap the honour of "best ever" upon Roy, but it would be purely motivated by my childhood memories of the 1993 playoffs. Heh, that could even be another statistic to bring into play... who brought the most joy to people by playing? When you think about it, it should be the only one that really matters... it is just a game after all...


Cheers.

Anonymous said...

I dont like Hasek very much as a person though I am a Czech (largely because of his acting in the causa when he hurt a fellow in-line skater). But I have to agree with most of the arguments the author of the blog says. Hasek is better in 90% of categories that are important for golies, be it a quantitative or qualitative indicator. Brodeur is a a very good goaltender, but the media coverage he gets is absolutely inappropriate. Just look at nhl.com, he is everywhere, and the reason is that he reached one statistical record. Well, Hasek undoubtedly reached more statistical records, but his media coverage has been ridiculous compared to Brodeaur. I cant find any other reason than he is a Canadian.

Anonymous said...

Hasekwas a fucking goon. I saw the other day where Melrose said the NHL came up with the rule against goaltenders playing the puck like they used to because of Marty, but thats a damn lie...it was because of Hasek. This guy incessantly attacked forwards checking players, played out of the crease heavily, was reprimanded multiple times for wearing oversized pads, this guy was the Dale Earnhardt of hockey, cheat to win, baby. Hed cry when a forward actually DID plant his goofy ass into the boards for playing the puck, and that birthed the rule. I have NO respect for repetitive cheaters, and this guy was, he was caught by the league attempting to circumvent pad size rulings, and how he moved in the crease. And no, his international numbers don't count for jacksquat, or else Warren Moon might be the greatest qb who ever lived. playing in Juniors against youngsters in international play and not proven NHL veterans is a joke. One more thing, pleaseeeeeeee stop playing down like Buffalo sucked during that era. They didnt. They had reached the playoffs for six years prior to the mighty Haseks tenure between the pipes, and have only missed the playoffs five times in the last 21 years.
The irony of this particular post is the babble about Brodeur needing accolades, yet if anyone who ever played goalie demanded more superstar attention and pampering, it was this clown. Keep whining about Leclairs goal, mook, all the back to Slavtown.

GoalieStar said...

This should be the end of the Brodeur vs Hasek debate. The numbers don't lie.

Anonymous said...

Hasek played against other professionals from around the world in International play. Hasek is the best goalie in NHL history. Period. Put Hasek on the New Jersey teams from 1993-2006 and they would have had at LEAST five Stanley cups, not two.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting stats. I came here because I read an argument about Brodeur vs Lundqvist, and I thought "Umm... what about Hasek".

So now I know:
1) Tretiak
2) Hasek

*ducks*

midi haytham said...

شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة

شركة نقل اثاث بالمدينة المنورة
شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض
شركة تنظيف بيوت بالرياض
نقل عفش
شركة تنظيف منازل بالرياض
رش مبيدات بالرياض

شركة تنظيف خزانات بالدمام


شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض

شركة تنظيف شقق بالرياض
شركة تنظيف بيوت بالرياض
شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
شركة تنظيف بالرياض