Wild West: Goalie Usage – December Check-In

Grant Campbell


I wrote a column about goalies in the West in early November here and thought I would re-visit how each team's goalies did in December and how the splits are trending compared to then. There have been some big swings on some teams due to injuries and/or performance.

Hopefully, games will be back on the ice December 28 with taxi squads back in the mix, which should help teams fill better lineups moving forward.

Anaheim Ducks:

When we looked at Anaheim in November, John Gibson was starting 70% of the time, but in December he and Anthony Stolarz split the net 50/50. In the five games that Stolarz played in December, he posted four wins, a 1.83 GAA, a 93.4 save percentage and goals saved above average (GSAA) of 2.86. In December, Gibson had five starts with one win, a 2.84 GAA, a 90.1 save percentage and a GSAA of -1.36.

Overall, Gibson has 11 wins in 23 games with a 2.71 GAA, a save percentage of 91.3 and a GSAA of 1.08, while Stolarz has six wins in 10 games, posting a 2.13 GAA, a save percentage of 93.2 and a GSAA of 6.08. If Stolarz continues to play well and Gibson plays average as he has, we could see Stolarz push for 40-50 percent of the 50 games remaining which could give him 20-25 more starts and 30-35 games on the year.

December split: 50/50 (overall split 70/30), trending Stolarz

Arizona Coyotes:

Karel Vejmelka was playing 70 percent of the games until Arizona picked up Scott Wedgewood on waivers on November 4th. Since then, Wedgewood has played the majority of games. The issue in net for Arizona is that the number of wins is going to be more than likely capped at 20 for the team on the season and it won't matter who is in goal.

In December Wedgewood played four games with one win, a 3.79 GAA, a save percentage of 87.2 and a GSAA of -4.59. Vejmelka got into two games during the month with no wins, a 6.15 GAA, a save percentage of 81.8 and a GSAA of -6.13 (in only two games). While goaltending hasn't done the Coyotes many favours, it is not the cause of their lack of success.

Overall, Vejmelka and Wedgwood have both played in 16 games, with Wedgewood having four wins to Vejmelka's two, with both having very similar GAA and save percentages. If Wedgewood was playing much better than Vejmelka, I'd say that he might continue the majority of starts, but I think more than likely this trends back to a 50/50 split.

December split: 66/33 for Wedgewood (50/50 overall)

Calgary Flames:

The coaching staff in Calgary is slowly reducing Jacob Markstroms's starts so that he doesn't fade like he has been prone to do in previous years. In December the team only played six games so far, with Markstrom playing four and posting one victory with a 2.75 GAA, 91.1 save percentage and a GSAA of -0.05, while Daniel Vladar had two starts with one win, a 3.39 GAA, a save percentage of 88.3 and a GSAA of -1.66. The Covid break should help Markstrom in the second half.

Overall, Markstrom has been one of the top goalies in the NHL with 10 wins in 21 games, a 1.94 GAA, a 93.3 save percentage and a GSAA of 13.11 (4th in the NHL). Vladar has been very good with five wins in seven games, a 2.10 GAA, a 92.8 save percentage and a 3.42 GSA