"Send an offer sheet to Cory Schneider!"
"Trade for Michal Neuvirth!"
"Tyler Bunz is the third-best goalie in the WHL, just wait on him."
"Nikolai Khabibulin will rebound."
"America is a goalie factory!"
"Finland is a goalie factory!"
The playoffs turn the average fan into a goalie-crazed wreck, reminiscent of a certain group of fans from the 1960s. And why not? After all, an average goalie on a hot streak can run his 88 point team deep into the playoffs and an average goalie with myopia can make an average opponent look like the 1986 Edmonton Oilers.
Take heart, Oilers fans and those of you pining for someone else's goaltender: goaltenders in general are getting better.
I've broken down the numbers by all goalies and qualifying goalies (goalies who appeared in 25 games or more) in the tables below. Qualifying goalies have started 87.6% of all games since the lockout and appeared in 85% of all games. First up is all goalies:
|All Goalies||ES EV %||SH SV %||PP SV %||SV %|
For just the second time since the lockout, even strength save percentage didn't improve. Short-handed save percentage did improve slightly.
The next table contains the numbers from qualifying goalies only:
|Qualifying Seasons||ES EV %||SH SV %||PP SV %||SV %|
Note that regular goaltenders were better than the overall group and pushed even strength save percentage up and short-handed save percentage up even more.
Even strength save percentages from above charts are presented in graph form below. The blue line represents all goalies, the red line is the average for qualifying goaltenders only. Click to enlarge the chart.
Note the distinct upward trend in both lines. Regular goaltenders have increased their save percentage at even strength from .9165 to .9220 in seven years. Their overall save percentage has increased from .9030 to .9103 over the same time period.