FanPost

Goalies and Money

NHL.com has a long-form article today. "Goaltending Economics 101"

Which is great, except they get it completely wrong.

Statistically, all goalies fall into 2 broad groups: starter-caliber and call-ups. For NHL teams, it should be a buyer's market. There are more starter-caliber goalies than there are NHL jobs. Every summer, there are starter-caliber goalies available as unrestricted free-agents. Looking at 2012-2013 salary versus career even-strength save percentage, we see:

9u6nsw_medium

(This chart omits the goalies with 4 or fewer games played in 2012-2013, who fall into the call-up category). $3m a year roughly splits the goalies into higher salary and lower salary, while a ESVPCT of 0.920 splits the goalies into above average and below average. Obviously, there are lots of goalies in the lower salary group who are also above average. Now, some of the goalies in the lower salary group are younger and have had their salary limited by the CBA. However, many have been UFA at some point in their career. So who made $3m or less in 2012-2013, has a career even-strength save percentage of greater than 0.920, and has been a UFA since 2010?

first

last

ESVPCT

Salary

Tomas

Vokoun

0.927

2000000

Viktor

Fasth

0.926

1000000

Jimmy

Howard

0.925

2250000

Josh

Harding

0.924

1500000

Jean-Sebastien

Giguere

0.924

1250000

Craig

Anderson

0.923

3000000

Evgeni

Nabokov

0.923

2750000

Mike

Smith

0.921

2000000

Martin

Biron

0.920

1300000

So of the 20 goalies in this quality/bargain category, 9 were unrestricted free-agents since 2010. Overall, of the 75 goalies who have been UFA since 2010, 22 have been 0.920 or better and 37 have been 0.915 or better. So why pay a goalie $5m, $6m, $7m when you can sign an average or above-average UFA goalie for $3m or less?

And the two goalies out there making all that green for below average play? Cam Ward (0.918, $6.3m) and MAF (0.917 $5.0m)

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