Final Four Goaltenders, Hot Streaks & Save Percentage

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 13: Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins makes a save against the Vancouver Canucks during Game Six of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 13, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

I've come to measure success by the number of final fours a team makes.  I lifted the idea of measuring team success in terms of pennants, as Lowetide does, and expanded it to include the conference finalists.  By measuring team success in Final Fours, we can balance and crudely compare team success in the modern era to team success in the pre-expansion era.  I'm aware that the odds are different, but we're talking about crude measurements.  Lowetide explains it:

Before expansion in 1967, there were only 6 teams so getting your name on the Stanley was a lot easier than it is now with 30 teams. I'm not saying it was easy, but from 1928-1967 there are extremely few Norm Ullmans (guys who had terrific, borderline HOF careers without winning the Stanley) and since then there are several Norm Ullmans retiring each season.

I've kept a running list of goaltenders who have reached the Final Four since the lockout for three years, and 2010-11 is the first "year of the goaltender".

The number at the left is the individual save percentage rank in the NHL that season for qualifying goalies. In this case a "qualifying season" is one in which the goaltender played in 25 regular season games or more.  In 05-06 there were 47 qualifying goalies, in 06-07 there were 44, 07-08 there were 44, in 08-09 there were 56 and the number of qualifiers in 09-10 was 47 and there were 47 again in 10-11.  The number to the right is the individual save percentage rank in the NHL since the lockout based on qualified goalies with more than a single season. There are 68 such goalies since 05-06.

Yr. Rank 2005-2006 Ovr. Rank
10 Ryan Miller 14
11 Jean-Sebastien Giguere 26
16 Dwayne Roloson 32
43 Cam Ward 31

7 Ray Emery 38
8 Jean-Sebastien Giguere 26
13 Dominik Hasek 19
16 Ryan Miller 14

5 Marc-Andre Fleury 33
13 Martin Biron 30
16 Chris Osgood 58
24 Marty Turco 44

6 Nikolai Khabibulin 52
14 Cam Ward 31
21 Marc-Andre Fleury 33
44 Chris Osgood 58

4 Jaroslav Halak 11
6 Evgeni Nabokov 29
20 Antti Niemi 9
33 Michael Leighton [NR]

1 Tim Thomas 2
4 Roberto Luongo 6
13 Antti Niemi 9
26 Dwayne Roloson


2010-2011 was the first year that saw three goaltenders in the top ten in post-lockout save percentage make the Final Four.  So does the NHL have a trend towards goaltending being the key to a cup, or did a few excellent teams catch their goaltenders at the right time and made their run?

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