Eastern Edge: Goaltender Trade Targets

by Cam Metz on January 8, 2019

 

The DobberHockey Midseason guide drops this week, reserve your copy now.  In the guide Dobber and the gang look through all 31 teams and provide you on the estimated points that players will score in the second half, quick hits on team developments, goalie analysis, and more.  This is the tool you need, so let the experts dig in and you can turn their analysis into a championship(s) this spring.

 

Perusing Twitter this morning I saw this bit from @SteveBurtch on save percentage randomness with goalies:

First off if you’re not following Steve on Twitter, he is an absolute must follow. Unfortunately I don’t have a paper to support this statement, but in theory it makes perfect sense. 

For reference LDsv% stands for low danger save percentage – a save from a shot generated from the point for example would classify as a low danger. Whereas HDsv% would refer to a shot in the crease or slow area.

For the most part shots from the point are only going to go in on goalies by sheer luck.  It’s the reason so many teams have shifted their shot generation away from the point. 

I personally was worried about Burns coming into this season for this very fact, that predicting goals from long distance shots is hard.   On a side note this clearly was the wrong thing to worry about, because Burns continues to be an absolute beast on the blueline.

The last part of the second tweet “Let this be a reminder people can’t get a sense of what matters easily JUST from watching,” was especially enjoyable.  As fantasy hockey enthusiasts most of us recognize quite quickly that there is always more than meets the eye for skaters and goalies.   With the motivation to look a little more into predicting goalie success provided by Mr. Burtch, I wanted to look at the goalies in the East who are most likely to see an increase in their play due to some bad luck on low danger save percentage (LDSV%).

 

Last season the average was LDsv% 0.973 in all situations for all goalies playing at least 500 minutes.  The top three performers were Braden Holtby, Charlie Lindgren, and Philipp Grubauer; the average save percentage of these three goalies was 0.989.  The bottom three performers were Matt Murray, Joonas Korpisalo, and Anders Nilsson. The most interesting name on both lists is Holtby, by most accounts he had a very mediocre regular season.  The fact that his LDsv% was tops in the league further suggests the point driven home by Burtch that goalie performance is best looked at in the MDsv% and HDsv% areas.

 

This season I pulled the data for LDsv% in all situations for all goalies playing at least 300 minutes.  The results of all of these goaltenders is summarized in the below table:

Season

     LDSv%

          MDSv%

     HDSv%

2018-2019 Average

0.972

0.902

0.788

 

 

The top five best performers in the East are listed below:

 

Player 

     2018-2019  

       2017-2018

FREDERIK.ANDERSEN

0.988

0.972

BRADEN.HOLTBY

0.989

0.989

CURTIS.MCELHINNEY

0.994

0.985

MATT.MURRAY

0.995

0.961

MACKENZIE.BLACKWOOD

1.000

         NA

                 *Top 5 LDsv% performers in the East

 

Of these five players we have data on four of them, Blackwood did not play last year.  We know the league average from last season was 0.973; given the increased frequency it would seem plausible that the reduction in pads for goalies may result in more pucks getting through even from LDsv areas.  This season’s league average stands at 0.972, so there is very little change from last season, indicating that the above hypothesis is likely not true.    There are really only three players that will decline in their overall play and that is Blackwood, Murray, and McElhinney.  Reversion to the mean will almost certainly occur at some point for these three goaltenders, how much is hard to say. 

 

The more interesting numbers are the bottom performers, these are guys who have been very unlucky. With such a small sample size at only the midpoint of this season; their save percentage is greatly impacted by each random goal allowed from a LDsv area.

 

Player

      2018-2019 

       2017-2018

MICHAL.NEUVIRTH

0.944

0.974

TUUKKA.RASK

0.949

0.975

CORY.SCHNEIDER

0.962

0.966

JIMMY.HOWARD

0.962

0.973

HENRIK.LUNDQVIST

0.962

0.977

                     *Bottom 5 LDsv% performers in the East

 

Tuukka Rask has been outplayed by Jaroslav Halak this season, but fortunately it looks like the remainder of the year may bring luck from LDsv opportunities.  Rask will improve his numbers from this area with certainty and as a result should see his save percentage increase as well.  Of course there is more to look at when deciding if Rask is really a trade target in fantasy – how is Rask doing in MD and HD opportunities? Rask is likely performing above the league average in both of those two areas. Putting it all together the abysmal Rask to start the season is now up to a 0.917 save percentage.   He appears more than capable of taking the reins if Halak falters.  If you are a Halak owner – now might be time to make sure you get a handcuff.

 

As always all of the data is from Corsica.hockey. Challenge yourself to dig a little deeper into your own goalies save percentage by difficulty, you might find it is time to make a move.

 

See you next week

*

Last week from Eastern Edge:

Roster Tweaks for the Stretch Run