COLUMN: Don’t Judge A Goalie By His Wins

For years fans have been quick to use a goalie’s record to compare one to another. The record is only a mere fraction of a goalie’s performance.

Hockey is a team sport and goalies only steal a game once in a while.  There are also games where a team’s offense makes up for a goaltender’s poor performance in a win. In other words, there are much better ways to judge a goalies performance in a game, season, and career.

The easiest and most efficient way to judge a goalie’s performance is their save percentage. This stat is just what it says. It shows what percentage of the shots that were faced were saved.

In most non-professional leagues, a save percentage above .900 (90%) is considered good. However, in the NHL, a save percentage above .915 is good, and above .920 is a great save percentage. Anything below .900 in the NHL is well below par.

Another stat that can be used to measure a goalie’s success is their goals against average (GAA) stat.

This is a stat that is an average of how many goals the goalie has let in per game for a specific time period.

A GAA fewer than 2.40 is considered good for a goalie, fewer than 2.20 is great, and below a 2.00 is spectacular.

Even with all of these stats, the truest way to judge a goalie’s success is to physically watch them play, but this can be hard for the common person to evaluate sometimes.

I will address an in depth view at goaltending for the common fan at another time.

Anyways, a goalie’s stats could not look fantastic for a game, but the saves they made could’ve been amazing, and the opposing team could have gotten some lucky goals.

One example of a goalie stealing a game is Matt Murray’s win versus the Lightning. Murray was 20-23 on saves and still came out with the win.

On the other hand, Mike Smith for the Arizona Coyotes made 58 saves in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Blue Jackets.

So all in all, a goalie’s record does show some of their talent, but their stats and play show a better example of their performance.

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