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Goaltending: How Low Have The Oilers Sunk?

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Visualizing the Oilers goaltenders paints a demoralizing picture

Chris LaFrance-USA TODAY Sports

Table and chart may also be viewed here.

In October I published a fanpost that analyzed league-wide goaltending for 2011-2014. One of my conclusions was that so far on our sisyphean rebuild goaltending has generally been above average, that goalies had achieved good results despite getting atrociously out-Corsied (excluding Devan Dubnyk's blip at the start of last season).

I was excited to see Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth pair up for 2014-2015 and I had expected big things. Both goalies had produced better than average short-handed and even-strength performances in the NHL and I was expecting them to continue along the same lines. However, as evidenced by this week's firing of goaltending coach Frederic Chabot, this didn't happen.

I decided to lick some of my bruises by taking time to visualize just how bad the Oilers goaltending has been. I used some different stats than my last analysis. I visualized the following from puckalytics:

  • 4v5 Corsi Save Percentage (4v5 CSV%): Save percentage including missed shot-attempts and blocked shots when short-handed one player.
  • 5v5 Close Corsi Save Percentage (5v5 close CSV%): Save percentage including missed shot-attempts and blocked shots for 5v5 play when the game is tied or within 1 goal in the first and second periods or tied in the third period.
  • 5v5 Save Percentage (5v5 SV%): Save percentage for even-strength 5 on 5 play.
  • Corsi Against (CA): Total shots, shot attempts, and blocked shots that a goaltender faces.

The chart above shows 4v5 CSV% (horizontal axis) plotted against 5v5 close CSV% (vertical axis). Bubble size corresponds to 5v5 SV% while bubble colour corresponds to CA. The higher the bubble, the better the goalie in close situations. The father the bubble is to the right, the better the short-handed performance. The bigger the bubble, the better the 5v5 performance. The darker the bubble, the more Corsis the goaltender has faced. All axis data is standardized & normalized, meaning I fit it to a curve. "0" indicates average performances, while all other lines are standard deviations. My criteria for inclusion in this analysis was 100 CA 5v5 (goalies who faced less than 100 Corsis were not included).

The Oilers goaltenders (orange bubbles) are more than 1 standard below the mean. That's really bad.

The evidence is mounting that trading Dubnyk was a mistake (as I have always believed). He has so far vastly outperformed both Scrivens & Fasth and at less than half the price. Dubnyk's showing his true self again, and at $800,000 he might just be the best value in the league.

November 24th, 2014 4v5 CSV% 5v5 close CSV% 5v5 SV% All situations SV%
Scrivens 90.91 (48th) 93.96 (57th) 90.06 (53rd) 88.7 (45th)
Fasth 95.65 (8th) 92.99 (62nd) 88.08 (62nd) 89.0 (43rd)
Dubnyk 94.87 (18th) 96.73 (12th) 94.33 (9th) 92.60 (7th)

We'll see how the goaltending coach change works out. I hope it brings Scrivens' numbers up a bit. But overall, I'm not hopeful. I'm not convinced Scrivens has what it takes to be a number one, although I believe him to be quite a bit better than Fasth. Scrivens seems to be lacking some of the physical skills required of a real number one goaltender, mostly with regards to puck handling. Surprisingly Fasth, is currently above average with regards to 4v5 play, however, this is based on 28:55 of ice time. In 5v5 play and close situations Viktor Fasth is currently one of the worst goaltenders in the league.

Although three goaltenders have done poorly under Chabot in the past two seasons, these terrible performances correlate with the arrival of Eakins. Dubnyk and Chabot seemed to be doing fine before coach wheatgrass arrived. Time will tell if this is change for the better or just another phase in a myth we're all tiring of.