Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Road Performance - Active Goalies

There are a number of active or recently retired goalies who did not meet the minimum games cutoff for my last post. I wanted to run the road numbers on them as well to see if there were any interesting results. I decided to limit it to goalies with at least 250 games played, to avoid guys with really small road samples. Unlike the last post, these numbers include 2010-11 numbers.

Active or recently retired goalies:

1. Tim Thomas: +.013 save %, +58 goals
2. Ryan Miller: +.009 save %, +45 goals
3. Henrik Lundqvist: +.009 save %, +42 goals
4. Niklas Backstrom: +.009 save %, +29 goals
5. Manny Fernandez: +.006 save %, +29 goals
6. Kari Lehtonen: +.007 save %, +27 goals
7. Manny Legace: +.005 save %, +22 goals
8. Cam Ward: +.004 save %, +15 goals
8. Ilya Bryzgalov: +.004 save %, +15 goals
10. Cristobal Huet: +.001 save %, +3 goals
11. Chris Mason: +.000 save %, +0 goals
12. Kevin Weekes: -.001 save %, -3 goals
13. Rick DiPietro: -.003 save %, -13 goals
14. Vesa Toskala: -.005 save %, -19 goals
15. Marc-Andre Fleury: -.005 save %, -22 goals
16. Johan Hedberg: -.005 save %, -23 goals
17. Mathieu Garon: -.006 save %, -24 goals
18. Andrew Raycroft: -.007 save %, -26 goals
19. Brian Boucher: -.007 save %, -31 goals
20. Patrick Lalime: -.007 save %, -39 goals
21. Marc Denis: -.014 save %, -71 goals

- There is a clear top three here, which isn't too surprising, although I didn't expect Miller to rank ahead of Lundqvist. Given that the Swede is two years younger than the American it is still probable that King Henrik ends up ahead over the long run.

- As I discussed in the comments to my last post, Buffalo actually was much more disciplined at home than on the road during this period, yet Miller's save percentage was .912 at home and .916 on the road. I think there may have been a difference in style of play for the Sabres at home through much of Miller's career, with a lot more scoring taking place in Buffalo home games. Perhaps that affected Miller's numbers, as going by road stats only he looks like an elite goalie. I think it is possible he was a bit underrated based on his numbers when the Sabres had their terrific offensive team going immediately after the lockout.

- This is also a reminder that Roberto Luongo stands head and shoulders above his goaltending peer group in terms of career success. Despite being just one year older than Miller and three years older than Lundqvist, Luongo has double the road goals against average of either of his rivals.

- Adjusting for special teams factors would put Kari Lehtonen solidly in fourth on this list, considering that the Thrashers faced more power plays than average while Backstrom and Fernandez both had the benefit of playing on very disciplined Minnesota squads.

- Cam Ward is coming on strong in this ranking. His numbers were hurt by being rushed to the NHL before he was ready in 2005-06 and 2006-07, but he is +20 over the past two and a half seasons.

- Cristobal Huet was very good at home (.919) and very average on the road (.908). I think that, knowing what we know now, Huet was probably never as good as his numbers suggested he was during his peak from 2006 to 2008. In addition to the road numbers, which suggest a potential helping hand from either teammates or the official scorer, Huet also has the other warning sign for goalies: Strong numbers on special teams compared to average numbers at even strength. Huet's career EV SV% of .918 is right at league average over the course of his career, while his career PK SV% of .887 and his career PP SV% of .961 are both off the charts relative to the league average from 2002-03 to 2009-10 (.866 and .913 respectively).

- Yes, Pittsburgh fans, you read that right: Marc-Andre Fleury rates below Vesa Toskala. Toskala had a couple of nice years in San Jose that pull his numbers up, but Fleury has never really been all that good on the road in his career.

- I remain baffled as to why some of the goalies near the bottom of this list were able to carve out such long careers. It makes no sense that a guy like Patrick Lalime is still drawing an NHL paycheque. He has never that good of a goalie, and he has only gotten worse in recent seasons. Lalime's post-lockout save percentage is .894 and the Sabres are 9-25-5 with Lalime in net over the last three seasons. Any random starting goalie from the AHL or the Swedish Elite League would probably beat those numbers. There are too many good goalies out there today for any team to keep giving washed-up veterans opportunities at the highest level.

- Marc Denis: Yikes. Denis was 29.7 goals below average on the road in 2002-03, second only to Jeff Hackett's brutal record behind the completely outclassed San Jose Sharks in 1992-93. To be fair, Denis was on a young expansion team as well, and the third-year Blue Jackets ranked fourth in the league in power play opportunities against. That said, Denis only had one season in his career with positive goals above average on the road. It looks to me like his career may have been aided by some fortunate timing, as the Quebec goalie factory was at the peak of its reputation when Denis broke into the league in the mid-'90s. If his name was Mark Dennis, would he have lasted as long as he did in the NHL? His numbers certainly make one wonder.

13 comments:

Agent Orange said...

"- This is also a reminder that Roberto Luongo stands head and shoulders above his goaltending peer group in terms of career success. Despite being just one year older than Miller and three years older than Lundqvist, Luongo has double the road goals against average of either of his rivals."

This is because of games played though right? Based on SV% compared to average he is pretty close with these guys. More so a benefit of games played than ability compared to average.

For Luongo do you have a break-down of Florida compared to Vancouver? My guess is he would have a higher number with the Panthers but I don't have the data to confirm.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

That's correct, Luongo's biggest edge is longevity. Only three goalies in league history have played more games through their age 30 season than Roberto Luongo, even though Luongo lost the entire 2004-05 season to the lockout.

Here's each goalie's road goals above average per 2000 shots to compare their average level of performance:

Thomas 26.5
Luongo 19.5
Brodeur 18.8
Backstrom 17.5
Miller 17.3
Lundqvist 17.1
Lehtonen 14.7

Thomas really stands out on a per-shot basis, but Luongo still does quite well compared to the rest of the group.

You're right about Luongo in Florida, he was +73 with the Panthers and just +19 with the Canucks. To compare that to the numbers above, Luongo was 32.7 road goals above average per 2000 shots as a Panther.

Doctor No said...

I don't see Luongo on the ranked list - am I missing something, or is Comcast selectively choosing content for me?

Agent Orange said...

Understood I just wanted to make sure I'm not missing something. I've always value longevity as well as performance. Luongo's GP/season have been impressive as well as his ability to avoid any extended time off due to injury.

Any hypothesis to explain the split?

Any other goalies have a similar split between good teams and bad teams? Or is Luongo on aberration?

Is there any evidence that a weaker team may help to pad the shot/2000 number?

(Assuming a weaker team will allow more shots its pretty logical that the overall number is increased by playing on a weaker team).

Agent Orange said...

Doctor No said...

"I don't see Luongo on the ranked list - am I missing something, or is Comcast selectively choosing content for me?"

Luongo met the criteria for the all time comparisons. His number are on the previous post along with the other all time guys.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Doctor No: The numbers for Luongo, Turco, Giguere, Roloson, Vokoun and others are in my first post on this topic.

Any other goalies have a similar split between good teams and bad teams? Or is Luongo on aberration?

Looking at Luongo's career curve, the most likely explanation has nothing to do with what teams he played for and everything to do with his aging curve. Luongo's numbers over the past 3+ seasons suggest that he peaked relatively early and at this point is past his prime.

Luongo was just as good in his first year in Vancouver as he was in Florida by this metric but his performance fell off from about the halfway point of the 2007-08 season, and he really bottomed out last year. We'll see if his numbers recover over the rest of his career. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Luongo never hits the heights of '03-04 or '06-07 again.

Is there any evidence that a weaker team may help to pad the shot/2000 number?

No. If anything, there's evidence to suggest the opposite, that once you remove scorer bias then good teams allow easier shot quality against than bad teams. Not only do they typically have better defenders, they also spend more time in the lead, and trailing teams typically increase their shot rate while decreasing their scoring percentage. However, these are pretty small effects, for the most part, especially when we're talking about play within the last decade.

Doctor No said...

Ah, of course. I'm getting old.

I know hockey said...

if i was the commissioner i'd be worried about the lack of quality goaltenting coming up through the ranks,. Think back to Roy, Joesph, Belfour, Brodour, Hasik, all these goalies had great long carrers. These days goalies last a year or 2 and someone is taking there place.....i'd love to be able to follow a goalie's carrer but when you think of it,,,,, there not sticking around..... well maybe Cam Ward

nightfly said...

One factor in Luongo's career curve... he faced a metric ass-ton of rubber in Florida, and into his first season or two in Vancouver. Those were some terribly-porous teams. Luongo has five years facing 2000+ shots; Brodeur is second all-time with four such years, even though he's played more minutes and more games almost every season. (Brodeur has four of the top-six season in history in terms of minutes played; Luongo's highest season is seventh. Brodeur has played 4200+ minutes eleven times; Luongo, only four.) Even as the Canucks have become a playoff team and a contender, they give up nearly 30 shots per 60 minutes.

Not to stir this pot again, but against Chicago, Luongo saw 34.0 shots per 60; Niemi, only 29.6. That number was much higher than the preposterous 24.7 the Hawks surrendered during the regular season - that's what happens when you take on an elite offense - but Chicago was only one goal worse in the regular season than Vancouver. Give an equal offense 4+ more shots per game, and you're asking for trouble, even if you have the better goalie.

Could such a heavy workload so early wear down a goalie sooner than otherwise?

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Nightfly: I have my suspicions that a goalie's cumulative workload may have some effect on their performance. I'm not able to tell you any more than that for now, but looking at workload effects has been on my to-do list for a while.

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