Status and Talent in Evaluating NHL Goaltenders

The other day,  Stefan Wolejszo posted about adding the concept of Goaltender Status to our analysis of goaltenders. I am going to try to summarize this post a bit here, and hopefully I am not misrepresenting it. I urge everyone to go and read it so that we’re all on the same page, because there are some assumptions made in that post that forced me to think hard about categories of analysis in NHL goaltender evaluation. Continue reading

A Look at Zone-Based Goaltender Workload

There’s a new way of looking at save percentage available at War-On-Ice that I find interesting. They break save percentage down by shot location as coded in the NHL play-by-play reports from each game. Whenever a shot is officially scored, it’s given an X,Y coordinate to map its location on the ice surface. Shots from some areas have a better chance of becoming goals than shots from other areas. This seems obvious, but it’s never before been systematically incorporated into goaltender analysis on a large scale. Continue reading

Goaltender Time per Corsi Event

If you know anything about goaltending, you know that the ability to recover and set up from shot to shot makes a huge difference between shots going in and shots staying out. This is why rebound save percentage is so low: there’s no time to react and adjust.

That’s why this tweet from Greg Balloch (@GregBallochST) made me sit up and pay attention.

The bells really started to ring when he followed it up with this one:

That’s a whole lot more time to recover, read, and set up between shots. Continue reading

PDO actually does what it says it does

People say a lot of stuff about PDO and there are a lot of ways in which it gets attacked. It’s a weird little stat, not very commonsensical. Counter- intuitive, in fact. And whole screeds have been written to try to take it down from the base out. None of those have worked because PDO actually does what it’s supposed to do. It just doesn’t do anything more than that. Continue reading

Drafted vs Undrafted: Who plays in the NHL?

My summer project was building a database of professional goaltenders playing in several leagues in both Europe and North America in recent years. This database consists of 491 professional goaltenders who played in the top pro leagues in Europe and North America between 2007-08 and 2012-13. These goalies represent 20 nationalities and they played their amateur hockey in 17 different countries. They were born between 1965 and 1995. The 42% who were picked in the NHL entry draft were drafted between 1991 and 2014. In terms of pro experience, they have played anywhere from 1 to 1291 games in those 9 leagues.

Among professional goalies across the world, undrafted North Americans are 5 times as likely to get a free agent chance to play in the NHL as undrafted Europeans. That’s explained in large part by the fact that undrafted North Americans are more likely to play in the American Hockey League (AHL) than undrafted Europeans. The same pattern is holding for drafted Europeans. They’re simply less likely than North Americans to play in the AHL.

Continue reading

What Puck Daddy could have asked Hilary Knight

Olympic silver medalist Hilary Knight practiced with the Anaheim Ducks last week and as part of promotion for USA Hockey and IIHF’s Girls Hockey Weekend, she’s been doing publicity. Thus, she gave an interview to Puck Daddy’s Jen Neale after practice on Friday. It was a disaster.

Continue reading

On analyzing goaltender success

As some of you know, I’ve been working on a huge project this summer. It took me three months to gather the data set and I’ve been doing some numbers crunching for a few weeks now. One of the things I keep running up against is how difficult it is to accurately describe these groups of data. Continue reading

Notes on goalie drafting and “specializing in forwards”

I recently posted a long piece about goaltender drafting over at Raw Charge. In it I tried to rebut some of the common arguments against drafting goaltenders that have started to pop up among hockey writers. The gist of that article is that drafting for forwards is not a hugely less risky proposition than drafting goaltenders. Certainly the difference isn’t so great as to make ignoring goaltending worthwhile.

Something I simply didn’t have time to do in that piece is to explore the consequences of specializing in forwards, consequences that haven’t really been considered by proponents in any meaningful way. Continue reading