Friday, June 20, 2008

Shots Against Leaders

The Top 10 in fewest shots against per 60 minutes played (career):

1. Marty Turco, 24.8
2. Roman Turek, 24.8
3. Martin Brodeur, 25.4
4. Roman Cechmanek, 25.6
5. Chris Osgood, 26.1
6. Jamie McLennan, 26.2
7. Evgeni Nabokov, 26.6
8. Ed Belfour, 26.7
9. Patrick Lalime, 26.7
10. Tommy Salo, 26.8

Obviously there are era effects on a list like this. All of these goalies played in the late 1990s, when shots were low. Ed Belfour would probably be in the top 5 if all the numbers were adjusted to league average. Mike Vernon ended up 12th with 26.9, but he played over 10,000 minutes in the 1980s so he would also probably be right near the top in league-adjusted totals. There are a few other goalies who we have partial shot data for and who posted low shots against totals, such as Pat Riggin.

There are a few good goalies on the list, and a few not so good ones. There are a few good puckhandlers on the list, and a few not so good ones. What is driving shot totals, is it puckhandling? Rebound control? Goalie quality? If any of those are factors, they look to be mostly lost in the noise of team effects. Except for Tommy Salo, everybody on the list played most of their careers on outstanding defensive teams. If there is an effect from puckhandling or similar "soft" goaltending skills, it appears to be a small one.

1 comment:

Bruce said...

CG: You are right, clearly this list is corrupted by era effects, even within the 24-season period for which shots data are available. In 1997-98 averages shots per 60 suddenly plummeted by 5 shots per game (from 59 to 54), and hovered around 54-55 every year right through 'til the lockout, after which they soared back up to 59 (although they've dropped by ~1 shot each subsequent season). So any goalie who played the lion's share of his games during 1997-2004 should "benefit" from this league-wide reduction of about 2 shots per team-game.

Below I have shown the number of GP during the 1997-2004 window as a percent of all GP by that particular goalie.

1. Marty Turco (185/382, 48%)
2. Roman Turek (322/328, 98%)
3. Martin Brodeur (505/968, 52%)
4. Roman Cechmanek (212/212, 100%)
5. Chris Osgood (411/664, 62%)
6. Jamie McLennan (172/254, 68%)
7. Evgeni Nabokov (258/430, 60%)
8. Ed Belfour (414/963, 43%)
9. Patrick Lalime (283/397, 71%)
10. Tommy Salo (452/526, 86%)

The guys who played the greatest percentage of their games outside of the 1997-2004 low shots era and still made this list, Belfour, Turco and Brodeur, can all be categorized as outstanding puckhandlers, among the best I have ever seen. The next two, Nabokov and Osgood -- goal scorers both! -- are much better than average. The other guys not as much, although Turek was pretty darned effective (and not coincidentally, yet another guy trained in Dallas).

I agree this list would be of more interest if adjusted to league average. Maybe "Anonymous" wants to take up the challenge.