Top 10 Netminders With a Decreasing Save Percentage
Over the past month, we've been looking at players with decreasing and increasing shot percentages (read the columns here, here and here). That got me thinking of goaltenders, and whether any netminders have seen a consistent decrease or increase in save percentage over several years.
Even though most leagues don't count save percentage as a category, the stat should be used as an important tool for fantasy general managers. Assuming a goalie sees roughly the same amount of shots in a season, a lower save percentage means more goals allowed, which equals fewer wins and more losses.
Goalies that have seen a decrease in save percentage can usually see worse numbers in other statistics as well (some of which are touched upon in the list below).
Andersen's decrease isn't as pronounced as some others, but deserves a mention, which is why he's ranked so low on this list. In 2017-18, he had a save percentage of .919 per cent, which dropped to .917 last season and then .909 this season. Maybe a little surprisingly, his save percentage decreased this year under head coach Sheldon Keefe. With Mike Babcock as head coach this year, Andersen had a save percentage of .912. Under Keefe, that dipped to .908.
Just like Andersen, Grubauer's drop has been more subtle, but it's still there. Since he posted a .927 SV % in 2016-17, his numbers have dropped to .923 to .917 to .916 this year. That's a slight decrease over the years, probably not even noticeable in the grand scheme of things (only 11 extra goals over 1,000 shots). However, had he posted better numbers, he might not be at risk of losing his starter's job to Pavel Francouz.
Holtby doesn't have enough consecutive years with a decrease in save percentage, but he does have a pattern. He was pretty consistent for a while, with a save percentage ranging from .922 to .925 over three campaigns from 2014-15 to 2016-17. That high of .925 happened in 2016-17. The next season, it dropped to .907, before rebounding slightly to .911 last season. This year, it dropped again to a career-low .897. Not a good season to be doing so, considering he's a UFA this offseason.
7. Jimmy Howard
It's easy to believe now that no one should have had Howard on their fantasy squad, but he was drafted in almost 30 per cent of Yahoo fantasy leagues, and is still owned in 33 per cent of Fantrax leagues. That's kind of incredible, considering the season he had (2-23-2 record with a 4.20 GAA). His save percentage has dropped every season for the past few years, going from .927 in 2016-17 to .882 this year.
In 2011-12, Lundqvist had a .930 SV %. Since then, that number has decreased every season except two, and now sits at .905 (in the same timeframe, his goals against average has gone from 1.97 to 3.16). It's no wonder he's losing his job to Alexander Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin, both who had better numbers and a winning record this season. Lundqvist is going into his final season of a deal that pays him $8.5 million, but will only be paid $4.5 million next year, plus a $1-million signing bonus. With that type of contract, don't rule out a team willing to take a risk and trade for him.
5. John Gibson
The Ducks goalie has a reputation as an elite goalie on an awful team, but he's really tough to own in fantasy circles. In the three seasons from 2015-16 to 2017-18, he averaged a save percentage of .924, led by a high of .926 in 2017-18. Last season, that dropped .917 and then further to .904 this year. His goals against average has also increased each year, up to 3.00 this season, while his winning percentage has dropped. His GSAA (which stands for goals saved above average, which calculates goal differential between the goalie and league average) has gone from 25.23 two years ago (second-highest in the NHL) to a negative-8.66 this year.
4. Devan Dubnyk
Dubnyk's fall has been well documented, and I don't think he will even be with the Wild next season. He lost his starter job this season, and there's already talk that the Wild don't even know who will be the main guy going into the play-in series against the Vancouver Canucks whenever the league starts back up again (both Alex Stalock and Kaapo Kahkonen could be considered to man the pipes). Remember, in 2016-17, Dubnyk's save percentage was .923. That dropped to .918 to .913 and then all the way to .890 this year.
Fleury was awesome in his first season with Vegas, but has been slowly crashing back to earth, leading to the Golden Knights trading for Robin Lehner at the deadline. In 2017-18, the first year for the expansion team, Fleury's save percentage was .927. Last season, that went down to .913 per cent, and this year it dropped even further to .905, tied for the lowest in his career. It's not just save percentage, all his stats with Vegas have been getting worse each season. His goals against average is up more than half a goal per game from two years ago and some of his advanced stats are also depressing. His goals saved above average has cratered from 20.71 two years ago to a negative-6.50 this season.
2. Pekka Rinne
Two seasons ago, Rinne won the Vezina trophy, highlighted by 42 wins, eight shutouts, a 2.31 GAA and a .927 SV %. The next season, all those numbers got worse, including a save percentage of .918. This year, they all dropped even more, with the save percentage down to a .895 per cent, and he finally lost his starting job to Juuse Saros (who has also seen his save percentage drop in each of the last couple of seasons). Rinne's GSAA dropped from a league-high 27.42 in 2017-18 to a negative-14.21 this season.
I know many are hoping that Bobrovsky can bounce back next season, but it doesn't appear as if this season was a one-off. It's a part of a trend that has seen many of his stats (wins, GAA and quality starts) get worse each season. When it comes to save percentage, there's been a major drop. Four seasons ago, he was at 0.931 SV %, which then dropped to 0.921 to 0.913 to 0.900 this year. If you pro-rate this season to his average of 1,867 shots against in a season, that's an extra 58 goals this year compared to four years ago.
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