Eastern Edge: Goalie Targets, Trends, and Sells

by Cam Metz on November 20, 2018
  • Eastern Edge
  • Eastern Edge: Goalie Targets, Trends, and Sells


Andrei Vasilevskiy. Kim Klement / USA Today Sports Images

Andrei Vasilevskiy. Kim Klement / USA Today Sports Images


The injuries are starting to pile up in the East. Matthews is still out, Bergeron is in an “a lot of pain” and on the shelf, Kuznetsov missed a game, Panarin, Vaseilevskiy, and Crosby is out. Judging by the horrific scenes in Florida last night Trocheck will also be headed to the shelf – terrible to see. It will be interesting to see how long Bergeron is out for and how his absence changes the outlook for Pastrnak and Marchand.  If history repeats itself Marchy should be just fine. 

Many goalies in the East are still maddening for many owners.  There really isn’t much to say other than that you have to recalibrate your idea of what an elite goalie is this season. Dobber summed it up perfectly in Monday’s Ramblings. 

Save percentage for goalies from all three shot difficulties can be an excellent way of finding buy low windows on goalies, avoiding paying too much for overperforming goalies, and trying to keep calm as you take your turn in the goalie carousel.

Specifically, I want to look at how goalies in the East are performing in low, medium, and high danger areas.  Looking at their total save percentage and any underlying anomalies in their shorthanded save percentage is effective for teasing out what the future may hold for goalies this season. 

To calibrate the thought process here are some interesting stats from 2017-2018 for goalies that were more or less usable (purposefully ambiguous) in fantasy leagues last year:

  • The average of these goalies high danger save percentages was as follows:
    • Even – .795
    • Shorthanded – .793
  • There were two goalies with a shorthanded save percentage greater than .850 in high danger areas in the East last year
  • There were six goalies with .850 in high danger save areas in the East last year
  • At even strength the average save percentage last year was around .918
  • These were the mean save percentages by area and situation this season:
















Using this we can help plot where each goalie finds themselves thus far in the East. Take a second to look over the below graphs and see where your goalies sit through week seven of the fantasy season (sorry west owners). The plots can be seen in more detail here and here.


In general, the future movement of these goalies should follow the general direction towards the mean.  The dotted red line is the average HD while at 5v5 save percentage, and the blue line is the average 5v5 save percentage.  In the bottom left quadrant, the three goalies that could see their fates change are Carey Price, Matt Murray, and dare I say Scott Darling.  The most interesting name on this plot is Andrei Vaseilevskiy he’s sitting with a freakishly low HD save percentage but actually outperforming the mean save percentage of his peers.  Given the save percentage goalies are showing this year this is very impressive and a great opportunity to capitalize on an owner that is willing to move Vasi for some immediate help while he is on the shelf.

Meanwhile, the fates of Braden Holtby, Jaroslav Halak, Frederik Andersen, and Sergei Bobrovsky seem to indicate that they will begin experiencing the dreaded reversion back to the mean. For goalies that are already not performing well like Holtby, this is very concerning, indicating that it might be time to sell while you’re still able to get 90 cents on the dollar. 

I was down on Henrik Lundqvist coming into this year, so far Hank has quietly put together a very steady hand for fantasy owners with a .919 save percentage overall.  With 52% of his starts being Quality Starts he really is doing an admirable job.  It should be exciting for owners to see that his save percentage is coming even though he is below average in the HD areas.   Lundqvist could be the perfect trade target for Holtby and Rask owners.




So how was Vasilevskiy able to sustain that high save percentage in the face of terrible 5v5 HD SV%?  He’s been very efficient in the HD save department while shorthanded.  This has helped prop up his SV% overall while he hopefully can recover at 5v5. All in all, it looks like Vasilevskiy is set to join the group of truly elite goaltenders for those who were still waiting to see him perform over the course of one whole season.

Henrik Lundqvist is outperforming his peers but is being beat from the other areas of the ice which is depressing his overall SH SV%, thankfully a reversion to the mean in this area should allow Lundqvist to sustain the quality of work that he has performed thus far.

Scott Darling is the evil statistical outlier in every data set. Somehow he’s killing it in HD SV% while shorthanded, not sure how that’s possible considering how terrible he’s been at even strength.  Don’t worry I took the Darling plunge again this year so I’m riding the Carolina wave like many of you!

Another interesting name here is Carey Price, he’s actually not been terrible while shorthanded and is fairly close to the mean in both categories.  To get back into elite territory he’ll need to raise his even strength save percentage, something that I wouldn’t bet against.  This would truly be a leap of faith but the plots seem to indicate that Carey should find some success soon.

 I’d love to bet on Craig Anderson but I can’t overcome the eye test of these Senators.  Anderson has been reliable in years past even when he has been getting absolutely shelled.  The shorthanded save percentage plot indicates Anderson might be able to gain an edge in his overall save percentage.  Then again he has to run uphill against the Ottawa PK unit.

While note plotted, I thought it was worth noting that Sergei Bobrovsky has been very unlucky against low danger opportunities on the PK.  It’s tough to explain why that might be? Regardless it seems that Bob probably should have a couple back this year, which certainly could raise his .918 save percentage into the elite company.



See you next week.