First of all, I prefer not to use league rank, but rather the statistics themselves to generate a ranking since that better recognizes dominance. Otherwise somebody can destroy the field by .015 in save percentage and then finish 4th in wins with a couple less than the league leader, and end up ranked behind a guy who finishes 2nd in both categories. Secondly, I don't like the haphazard use of a bunch of related categories, because it ends up double-counting or triple-counting two major statistics: games played (which more or less determines all the counting stats, since obviously more playing time equals more wins, shutouts, saves, etc.), and save percentage (a goalie's ability to stop the puck impacts goals against, and contributes to shutouts and wins).
I think it is fair to include some sort of measure outside of save percentage, and to look at a combination of quantity and quality. I also would prefer to use team context-adjusted stats, rather than simply raw totals.
As such, I decided to use two different measures, both of which reward quality as well as quantity and adjust for the goalie's team context. The first is wins above teammates, calculated by finding the difference between a goalie's winning percentage and the total winning percentage of his teammates, and then multiplying by the number of decisions and dividing by 2 to get a win total. Since we expect that most of the goalie teammates are weaker backup goalies, I also included a .060 winning percentage adjustment for the backup numbers, based on overall league winning percentages for goalies who play backup minutes.
The second is shot quality neutral wins above average, calculated by taking a goalie's shot quality neutral save percentage, subtracting league average, multiplying the difference by the number of shots faced to get a goals above average figure, and dividing that number by 5 since an increase of 5 in goal differential roughly translates to one extra win in the standings based on the Pythagorean expected points theorem. My shot quality numbers were taken from Alan Ryder's Hockey Analytics site. It has been observed that certain rinks around the league vary in the way they record shot distances and types, so I used Ryder's road shot quality results for 2007 and 2008 to reduce rink bias, and I adjusted the 2006 numbers for a few teams that have unusual reporting tendencies. I didn't have the numbers for every individual goalie for each season so I used overall team numbers.
The result is that for each goalie I have two "wins above average" numbers, using two completely different methods. I think the shot-quality neutral method is a superior method, so I decided to give it 2/3 of the weighting, with 1/3 decided by record against backups. If you disagree with the weights or would look at the raw averages I have included all the relevant numbers, but here are the results based on my chosen scoring system:
|Rank||Goalie||SQNSV%||Win%vsTm||SQN Wins||Wins over Tm||Score|
There are 10 goalies that make both Bruce's list and mine. The top 6 are the same on both lists, just reordered, so I think it is pretty clear that those half-dozen guys were the league's best over the given time frame. I don't think there is a clear #1 goalie these days - I think Luongo is a good contender for the title, especially since he has really only had one strong season by his standards in the last three years yet still ranks at or near the top among goalies over that same period, but one could probably make a case for any of Luongo, Brodeur, Lundqvist or Giguere. My estimate is that the difference between any of them is less than one win per season.
Just as a postscript, Mathieu Garon does pretty well by this measure, so I might have been selling him a bit short in my earlier post on him. However, the main reason for his ranking was his success in 2007-08, which as I pointed out was in large part driven by outstanding results on the penalty kill, something which is probably not likely to be duplicated in 2008-09.