Monday, March 16, 2009

Brodeur, Roy and Hasek: The Debate Rages On

With Martin Brodeur having tied Patrick Roy's wins record, there is a lot of debate going on about who was better and who is the greatest goalie of all-time. Everyone else is doing it, so I might as well join in. I've done similar things before, but I've got a couple of new wrinkles this time.

The typical debate is set up as a choice between having 4 Cups and 3 Conn Smythes vs. having the career wins and shutouts record. I think all of those things are strongly team dependent and are correspondingly overhyped, so I'm not even going to bring them up. Having done a lot of research lately into shots against by goaltender, I have come up with some estimates of shot prevention effects, and would like to use those numbers to review the save percentage vs. league average results I posted some time ago.

I prefer to rank goalies by taking their save percentages and adjusting for all the important factors. Therefore, I have included a shot prevention adjustment (by giving goalies credit for shots they likely prevented and subtracting from the goalie's shot total for shots they likely had a hand in creating; if you haven't read any of my work on the topic check out this post estimating the effect for Brodeur) and a team defence adjustment based on the quality of scoring chances against, which gives an adjusted save percentage that can be compared against league average to account for differences in league scoring levels. I also ran the numbers for a few others (Belfour, Joseph, and Luongo) who should also be in the conversation about the best goalies in recent years.

These adjustments were mainly derived by comparing performance by backup goalies while on the same team to their performance on different teams, and using that that to assess the overall team context. There are many variables still in play in that type of comparison, such as quality of backups, quality of teams, small seasonal sample sizes, and the usual year-to-year random fluctuations, so I mostly took what the numbers said but did make a few subjective adjustments. They included adjusting downward the shot quality numbers for Roy and Brodeur, who both had results that were far overstated because their backups played a lot of games on bad teams in other cities, and increasing Brodeur's shot prevention effect and lowering Luongo's based on a more detailed comparative analysis of their performance relative to their teammates.

Here are my estimates:

Patrick Roy: 2.5% easier shot quality, 1 shot created/gm
Martin Brodeur: 5% easier shot quality, 1 shot prevented/gm
Dominik Hasek: 2.5% harder shot quality, 0.5 shots created/gm
Roberto Luongo: 0% harder shot quality, 1 shot created/gm
Ed Belfour: 0% harder shot quality, 1 shot prevented/gm
Curtis Joseph: 2.5% harder shot quality, 0.75 shots created/gm

That leads us to the following results:

GoalieSave %SA/60GAASA PrevAdj SASA AdjS%SQ AdjS%
Hasek.92228.322.200.527.82.921.923
Luongo.91931.822.581.030.82.916.916
Brodeur.91425.462.20-1.026.46.917.913
Roy.91028.242.541.027.24.907.904
Joseph.90729.752.790.7529.00.904.906
Belfour.90626.662.50-1.027.66.910.910


These numbers allow us to compare the adjusted save pecentages to league average and calculate a number of goals above average for each goalie that combines quantity and quality:

RankGoalieAdjSV%LgAvg% DiffSAGOA
1.Hasek.923.903+21%20,220402.3
2.Roy.904.895+9%28,353267.2
3.Belfour.910.900+10%24,751238.0
4.Brodeur.913.905+8%24,720190.3
5.Joseph.906.900+6%26,676165.3
6.Luongo.916.907+10%16,051149.1


After letting some of the air out of Roy's numbers, Dominik Hasek reigns supreme at the top of the rankings list. The surprising result is how close to the rest of the pack Patrick Roy ends up, although these numbers are from the regular season only.

Ed Belfour's ranking is also a point of interest. I think nearly everyone would rank him 4th out of this group but well behind the top 3. That's probably underrating Belfour. I have long thought that there was much more of a gap between Hasek and Brodeur than between Brodeur and Belfour, and these numbers certainly support that.

I ran the numbers for the playoffs as well, but without the same ability to compare backup results those numbers are entirely based on guesswork. I'm sure the shot quality factors were different, since the opposition is tougher and the number of games played on each team in the regular season is different than the number of games for each team in the playoffs. Belfour likely faced easier shots in the playoffs because of all the deep playoff runs he had in Dallas, and Roy's difficulty probably rose because of strength of competition and more games played in Colorado. This is an imprecise measure to be sure, but I'd guesstimate the playoff goals above average numbers as something like the following:

1. Patrick Roy, 74.6
2. Ed Belfour, 51.8
3. Dominik Hasek, 31.3
4. Martin Brodeur, 24.3
5. Curtis Joseph, 22.3
6. Roberto Luongo, 8.1

Obviously the inputs determine the results in a study like this, so there can and should be considerable debate about the adjustments I've made. I am not claiming to have ironclad proof on any of them and I am open to the possibility of any or all of them being wrong. The most discussion-worthy adjustments, and possibly the most difficult ones to estimate, are the strength of team defensive adjustments for Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur. I think it is pretty clear both goalies benefitted from their teams, but the question is how much.

I think Roy's context is probably a little tougher to evaluate. Playing for Montreal in the 1980s was probably relatively similar to playing in New Jersey in the 1990s, with great team defence and fewer than average power plays by the other team. Then Roy was traded to Colorado, who had a different style of play. The shot quality data we do have available from '03 and '04 indicates that New Jersey was much better than Colorado at preventing opposing scoring chances, which is primarily why I gave Roy a different overall shot quality rating than Brodeur.

Overall, I think it is pretty clear that Dominik Hasek is the best goalie of the last 20 years (and I would argue the best goalie ever). As far as Brodeur vs. Roy goes I'd still take Roy. I think Roy's peak is well ahead of Brodeur's (illustrated graphically here), and Roy has also been better in the playoffs, but it does seem like the more work I do on St. Patrick the more question marks are raised about how much of his success was from team factors.

If Brodeur keeps up his current level of play for several more seasons (the previous three seasons account for over one-third of Brodeur's career goals over average total), then he will be at least moving into the conversation with Roy. If we are able to more precisely drill down to the relative team effects and adjust for them maybe we'll find that the team factors between the two aren't that different after all, and in that case the debate could get very interesting by the time Brodeur's career is done.

43 comments:

overpass said...

Excellent analysis. I've been waiting for an updated comparison like this, and it didn't disappoint. Much better to quantify and include the various factors instead of simply hand-waving them away or insisting that their presence invalidates any analysis.

What do you think about including an adjustment for a home scorer bias? I looked at the career home/road splits for Brodeur, Hasek, Roy, and Belfour at Yahoo Sports. Roy, Brodeur, and Belfour all faced about 2.5 more shots per game on the road than at home, but Hasek only faced 1 more shot per game on the road. To me, that suggests that Hasek's home scorers were a bit generous in awarding shots against. Is that included in your adjustments at all?

I think Hasek would still be #1 after such an adjustment, but it would be a bit closer.

Disabled Mess said...

Must be a Rangirl fan. HeHeHe.

Bruce said...

Patrick Roy: 2.5% easier shot quality, 1 shot created/gm
Martin Brodeur: 5% easier shot quality, 1 shot prevented/gm
Dominik Hasek: 2.5% harder shot quality, 0.5 shots created/gm
Roberto Luongo: 0% harder shot quality, 1 shot created/gm
Ed Belfour: 0% harder shot quality, 1 shot prevented/gm
Curtis Joseph: 2.5% harder shot quality, 0.75 shots created/gm


CG: I am completely on board with the direction of the arrows in the second column. Based on what I have observed of the sextet, I would adjudge Brodeur and Belfour net shot preventers, and all four of the others shot creators. Whether the amount of said adjustment is in the range of +/- 1 as you show here, or my own estimate of +/- 2, is of course difficult to ascertain, therefore adjusted figures must always be taken with a grain of salt. Then again, UNadjusted figures also need a supply of salt. The shot prevention/creation adjustment in the current example passes the smell test, is all I'm saying.

I also agree that Ed Belfour is greatly underrated still, and certainly ranks in the Big Four that more or less ruled the roost ~1993-2003. All four were/are superb netminders.

Paul said...

While I agree with you conclusion about Hasek - I still think its more less imposable to generalize across to goalies who played without masks and far heavier pads.

Anonymous said...

You insult the 5 other goalies on that list by including Luongo in your analysis. He had a great save percentage for a few years on a Florda team. Thats about it. He does not have a career anywhere near the rest of that group.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Overpass: I'm still not sure what to make of the home scorer bias numbers. I was wondering if you had any suggestions?

I did look a bit into Hasek, and I think a big reason why he faced relatively more shots at home is that he had by far the biggest home/road winning percentage split of any of the goalies, so given play-to-the-score effects we would expect him to face relatively more shots at home. I looked at a couple of comparisons: Biron faced 2 more shots on the road than at home as a Buffalo Sabre, while Osgood faced 1 more shot on the road on the post-lockout Red Wings, which does suggest Detroit might have been a bit generous with the shots.

If we assume Hasek got a one shot per game bonus from biased scorers while nobody else was affected, that would bring him down to +344, still some 80 goals ahead of Roy but close enough that if you weight playoffs and longevity heavily enough you could probably make an argument.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Whether the amount of said adjustment is in the range of +/- 1 as you show here, or my own estimate of +/- 2, is of course difficult to ascertain, therefore adjusted figures must always be taken with a grain of salt.

Bruce: I agree that we are still working with estimates that are difficult to identify. Even if we can accurately measure the difference in shots against between a goalie and his teammates, there are other variables in play like home scorer bias, strength of opposition, playing to the score effects that mean winning goalies will likely face more shots than losing goalies, and the number of times backup goalies came into the game in relief of the starter (shot totals usually drop in blowout scenarios).

But let's say the shot effect for Roy is +2, Hasek is +2, Brodeur is -2 and Belfour is -2. Here are the revised numbers:

1. Belfour 316.1
2. Hasek 313.5
3. Brodeur 268.9
4. Roy 163.9

I'm not sure that ranking passes the common sense test, unless you are either a huge Belfour fan or you think the shot quality numbers are off as well. I think there is a fair bit of evidence that +/- 1 is likely closer to the truth than +/- 2, but I wouldn't necessarily rule out a few extreme guys on either end.

I do have to say that doing this really increased my appreciation for Belfour, though. He was the most inconsistent of the Top 4, but he had some terrific years as well. Belfour's seasons in Dallas were usually mirror images of Brodeur's seasons in New Jersey, yet interestingly Brodeur always got a lot more Vezina votes than Belfour, and I'm not sure that was fair. I have a post in the works about Belfour's shot prevention, so I won't say too much about it here, but in that area I'd say he is at least on par with Martin Brodeur, and possibly better.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

You insult the 5 other goalies on that list by including Luongo in your analysis. He had a great save percentage for a few years on a Florda team. Thats about it. He does not have a career anywhere near the rest of that group.

Of course he doesn't, and my numbers show that. However, that is because he is 7 years younger than any other goalie on the list. He easily projects to be among this group by the time his career is over.

I don't think there is any criteria to evaluate goalies, other than purely looking at career totals, that would make Joseph belong on that list and Luongo not belong there, unless you are dumb enough to blame Luongo for his Florida teams not making the playoffs. Joseph never won a Vezina or a Cup either, and Luongo not only has a chance to do both but he is on pace to destroy Joseph's career numbers.

Even leaving aside your backhanded comment about save percentage ("All Luongo did was stop a lot of pucks and save his team a lot of goals! What a terrible goalie!"), Luongo has certainly accomplished a lot in his career when you take his age into account.

Up to and including their age 29 seasons, here is how Luongo will rank at the end of this year among all goalies who have played since the NHL expanded in 1968:

Games played: 3rd
Wins: 6th
Shutouts: 2nd
Save percentage: 1st

Anonymous said...

once and for all, this should put your bullshit to rest, a quote from a real journalist:

http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/9348002/Brodeur-will-always-be-one-of-the-best

"Brodeur has been the player GM Lou Lamoriello built around, the true franchise player who gave the Devils a chance every season to not only be competitive, but to challenge for the Stanley Cup.

His long tenure with the Devils has also provided fodder for critics, who claim having a strong defensive team in front of him throughout his career is the reason he's set numerous goaltending records.

That argument, however, is baseless. Over Brodeur's previous 10 seasons (excluding his injury-shortened '08-'09 campaign), he's been among the top 10 in shots-against seven times. In 2005-06 and 2006-07, he faced the second most shots and in 2007-08, the fourth most."

Anonymous said...

re: That argument, however, is baseless. Over Brodeur's previous 10 seasons (excluding his injury-shortened '08-'09 campaign), he's been among the top 10 in shots-against seven times. In 2005-06 and 2006-07, he faced the second most shots and in 2007-08, the fourth most."

That all depends WHERE the shots are coming from. 100 shots from the outside ARE STILL 100 shots from the outside.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

once and for all, this should put your bullshit to rest, a quote from a real journalist:

Lyle Richardson is a blogger who got hired by Fox Sports, but OK, I don't dispute that he gets paid for it. Let's see what kind of devastating argument a "real journalist" can come up with:

Over Brodeur's previous 10 seasons (excluding his injury-shortened '08-'09 campaign), he's been among the top 10 in shots-against seven times.

Brodeur's lowest rank in minutes played over the last 10 years: 4th.

So nearly one-third of the time over the last decade Brodeur has ranked in the top 4 in minutes played, yet finished outside of the top 10 in shots against. This is supposed to prove that his defence wasn't terrific?

Clearly I did not attend the Lyle Richardson school of logic.

Totals are completely pointless when you are talking about a guy who played far more games than any other goalie throughout his career. He should have used averages, but of course they would have neatly skewered his mistaken suggestion that team defence did not help Brodeur.

In 2005-06 and 2006-07, he faced the second most shots and in 2007-08, the fourth most."

I love how often the post-lockout seasons are trotted out in attempts to refute what are obviously pre-lockout observations. When I talk about New Jersey's terrific shot prevention, do you think I'm talking about last year's team, or do you think I'm maybe talking about the season where Brodeur led the league in minutes played and finished 14th in shots against?

Two seasons of facing a normal level of shots against does not erase an entire career. And I have nothing at all negative to say about Brodeur over the last 2+ seasons. Other than to point out that he has had minimal playoff success, as is to be expected with weaker teams (of course the converse is obviously true for goalies playing on stronger teams, i.e. Brodeur's earlier career).

Kent W. said...

hahaha. What's that the kids says these days? pwned?

overpass said...

I did look a bit into Hasek, and I think a big reason why he faced relatively more shots at home is that he had by far the biggest home/road winning percentage split of any of the goalies, so given play-to-the-score effects we would expect him to face relatively more shots at home.

I hadn't noticed Hasek's substantially better home W%, and I think you're right that it is a cause of at least some of the apparent home/road shot effect.

I did a quick comparison of the home/road W% disparity and the home/road Shots/60 disparity with 30 goalies who played over 25000 minutes since 1989. The correlation between (homeW% - RoadW%) and (road shots/60 - home shots/60) was -0.31, suggesting that W% and playing to the score is a factor in the home/road splits.

A quick regression analysis suggests that with an average home/road W% split, Hasek would have faced 0.1 extra shots/60 at home, Brodeur 0.4 fewer, Belfour 0.7 fewer and Roy 0.9 fewer. This is a pretty crude method and the error bars are large, so I wouldn't put much confidence in those numbers.

Looking forward to the Belfour post - I always thought he was better than Brodeur back in the late 90s and the early 00s.

overpass said...

Sorry, my second to last paragraph was unclear. It should say "Hasek faced 0.1 more shots/60 than expected at home, Brodeur faced 0.4 fewer shots than expected, etc...

Bruce said...

CG: I'm a huge Hasek fan as you know, but I'm genuinely curious: what explanation might there be for the greatest goalie ever to be a homer? Shouldn't he be equally dominant in any venue?

Fyi, there is an interesting discussion on "playing to the score effects" developing over at MC79hockey.

Bruce said...

Btw, where do you get those home/road splits?

Statman said...

Odd argument by Lyle Richardson.

Has Brodeur ever been in the seasonal top 10 (or 20) of shots faced/60 minutes among 'regular' goalies (however 'regular' is defined)?

I doubt it.

Ahhh, Fox! Gotta love it! haha

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

CG: I'm a huge Hasek fan as you know, but I'm genuinely curious: what explanation might there be for the greatest goalie ever to be a homer? Shouldn't he be equally dominant in any venue?

I have no idea, it was surprising to me as well. Certainly that is something worth a deeper investigation. His performance doesn't look too different at home vs. on the road - his GAA is 2.34 on the road, 2.07 at home. The first place I'd look is at his goal support.

If we use the Pythagorean expected points equation, then based on his winning percentages we would expect his goal support at home to be 3.20 goals per game and his road support to be just 2.45 goals per game. I don't have time right now to check the actual numbers, but I'm pretty sure that his team must have scored a lot more often at home, for whatever reason.

Btw, where do you get those home/road splits?

Yahoo Sports. They have some terrific split stats. Here's a link to Hasek's career splits.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Has Brodeur ever been in the seasonal top 10 (or 20) of shots faced/60 minutes among 'regular' goalies (however 'regular' is defined)?

As far as I know, Brodeur has never even faced an average number of shots against/60 in his entire career. Of course, some of that is likely a result of his own efforts to either prevent shots or deter them or clear the zone more often or whatever is going on that apparently makes some goalies face more shots against than others.

Anonymous said...

it does not matter where the shots are coming from, all that matters is that they are stopped, which is what Brodeur does day in and day out. there is no arguing now, he is the all all-time great, the gold standard, bar-none. Oh, and by the way, he just got his 101st shutout, which is only 3 away from break Sawchuks records, and if you really wanna question Brodeurs true value, then look at all the active goaltenders (you can even throw in Hasek and Roy into the mix) and count up their shutout totals... they all fall, far, far, far, short of Brodeur.

He is the greatest ever. Get over it, its now official and certified. You can "tweak" and manipulate your so-called "stats" all you want but all the important numbers are there in bold in front of everyone's face. So far, 553 Victories, 101 Shutouts, and counting with at least 3 or more seasons left!

700 Wins and 125 Shutouts here were come! Go Marty!

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

it does not matter where the shots are coming from, all that matters is that they are stopped, which is what Brodeur does day in and day out.

I'm going to charitably assume you are simply trying to argue your point here, and you don't actually believe this drivel.

Let's say we are in the same class, writing the same test. I happen to have the answer key with me as I am writing the paper. You complain about me having an advantage, and I tell you, "It doesn't matter where the answers are coming from, as long as I get them right." What would you say?

Some goalie jobs are much harder than others, which is why it is pointless to rank goalies based on wins.

He is the greatest ever. Get over it, its now official and certified. You can "tweak" and manipulate your so-called "stats" all you want but all the important numbers are there in bold in front of everyone's face. So far, 553 Victories, 101 Shutouts, and counting with at least 3 or more seasons left!

It is not official, it continues to as obvious as ever that he is not the greatest, and not particularly close either. None of the numbers you posted are important either, unless you are trying to evaluate the play of an entire team.

Anonymous said...

look around at all the people and polls on legit websites such as espn or nhl.com that dont even have hasek on a list of the 5 greatest goalies ever. could everybody who is paid to cover the game be this far off? maybe, but likely not. hasek played half his career on a decent team, and half on teams that were better than any team brodeur or roy played on. yet he is statistically behind roy and brodeur by miles. it seems that your own argument for hasek revolves solely on save percentage (something you obviously place far too much value on), or derivatives of it. so again, maybe the numbers you arent mentioning do have some value.

Statman said...

No - Unlike Roy or Brodeur, Hasek wasn't a regular until he was nearly 30, & played most of his career games on mediocre Buffalo teams. No comparison.

Statman said...

By the way, where is the interesting analysis on these "legit" websites? Listing what is in the NHL record book (career wins, shut outs, Cups etc.) isn't analysis. An 8 yr old can copy-paste that & produce "legit" "analysis", I guess.

The vast majority of "legit" websites make no effort to provide decent analysis, no statistical adjustments for era differences.... nothing. [Ryder & Mirtle are exceptions.]

Why? Could it be because nearly all of these "legit" sports writers haven't even take Grade 11 math? Hence, all they can do is read the NHL record book, & interview:
- other people who haven't taken Grade 11 math,
- players/GM's who might have seen the goalies in question play 30 times live max,
- people who have never seen anyone play before 1985 or 1990 & cannot put different eras into context,

& then they produce their analysis.

Yaaawwwwn, zzzz....

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

look around at all the people and polls on legit websites such as espn or nhl.com that dont even have hasek on a list of the 5 greatest goalies ever. could everybody who is paid to cover the game be this far off?

If they don't have Hasek in their top 5, then they are definitely far off.

yet he is statistically behind roy and brodeur by miles.

This is false. The only stat Hasek is well behind the other two is games played.

Hasek has almost the same career winning percentage (.617) as Roy (.618), and they are both not too far behind Brodeur (.634). Hasek has a better playoff winning percentage (.570) than Brodeur (.562). Hasek and Brodeur are tied with a 2.20 career regular season GAA, and Hasek is just 0.06 behind in the playoffs. Hasek has a better shutouts per game ratio than either Brodeur or Roy in the regular season, and is narrowly behind Brodeur in the playoffs.

it seems that your own argument for hasek revolves solely on save percentage (something you obviously place far too much value on), or derivatives of it. so again, maybe the numbers you arent mentioning do have some value.

What exactly do you think there is of value in the other traditional goalie statistics? Did you read the above post, and see the shot prevention/creation adjustments? What else is there that a goalie can do to help his team win?

Anonymous said...

Statman its pretty funny that you consistently try to claim that knowing math is more important to hockey than actually being around and playing the game itself.

Do you actually think the shooters whom they ask need to momentarily plot their position on the ice, then in their heads remember a save percentage chart from that spot, and then calculate friction and velocity numbers in order to figure out if they can score or not?

Math at best is a supplemental skill for people to use when talking about stats, however there is no question that somebody who has played at a high level for a number of years has more credibility than some blogger who is simply looking at stats.

And besides, its not like any of the math here is "advanced" or whatever you are claiming. Anyone who has even gotten to the 10th grade can add numbers, average them together, multiple by other numbers, compare the results to other numbers and plot data. I dont know where you are from, but the type of math used here is not anything advanced.

Statman said...

Any particular NHL player only plays against a particular goalie a few dozen times in his career, at most. And during a long career, a particular NHL player might have had 0-4 shots per game against a particular goalie.

This is a very small sample size, vs. looking at the entire statistical record of a goalie.

If the "legit" analysts were able to ask every single guy who has played a shift in the NHL, for the past many years, & get a truly accurate answer, that would be a start. But it still wouldn't be as good as analyzing all the data.

Yes, the math used here is understandable, yet it still completely turns off most "legit" analysts... I'm guessing mainly because they get insecure, & to give anyone outside of mainstream media any credit makes them feel marginalized. After all, if they lose their mainstream analyst jobs, what else are they qualified for? Doing radio play-by-play in the SK Junior Hockey League? To go from The Hockey News or TSN to "the bush leagues".... That's a huge drop in income.

Don't worry, I've been around the game & played (college scholarship).

Statman said...

2-3 wks ago, Al Strachen (veteran mainstream legit sports analyst) announced on Harcore Hockey Talk that he thought the best goalie this year is.... Kiprusoff!

Even though the other guy on the show pointed out that M.K. is below avg in save pct & not much better in GAA, Al said it didn't matter.... all that matters is that M.K. had alot of wins. Ergo, he must be the best.

Strachen has been a mainstream, "legit" analyst for decades... has seen 1,000's of games live, interviewed 1,000's of players/GM's etc.... & his learned view is that the guy who currently is 35th in SVPCT & 16th in GAA (among goalies who have appeared in 20+ games) is the best goalie this year.

Yes, M.K. currently has the most wins this year, & is 8th in PTPCT. But think of how much better Cgy's record would be with a truly top-notch goalie (one who saves a very high pct of shots faced).

Ah, but if one of the most experienced "legit" analysts deems it so... I guess M.K. must be the best, or one of the very best at least. And that's how casual fans (or, fans who don't care to look at the math) start to believe something that just isn't true. Popular opinion reinforcement loop, etc...

Of course, if Strachen was confronted with basic math, he'd huff & puff & marginalize it... after all, he probably makes 6 figures pontificating about hockey, he can't have some guys who are basically fans with brains show him up, can he?

Anonymous said...

No, the guy mention has an opinion, but Kiprusoft being the best goalie this year is hardly a consensus. Sure there are a few, but that is why the collective opinions/analysis of many different people is more objective.

Further, it seems like guys who do not have league best save percentages are getting all the Vezina talk, such as Mason, and now Luongo. Why? Because they have posted good overall numbers for teams that win. Meanwhile Tim Thomas, despite his league best save percentage is likely going to be passed over, along with other goalies with strong save percentages such as Vokoun, Rinne, and Backstrom.
Not that the general consensus is 100% correct, but it seems that save percentage alone is hardly a measure for claiming somebody to be the best. It is also wrong to assume that these goalies with league best save percentages could replicate these numbers on other teams.

overpass said...

Anonymous - It's true the math on this site isn't complicated. However, the trick isn't doing the calculations - it's understanding the numbers, what they mean, and how they relate to the game of hockey.

Many people can add a few numbers together, and every so often you'll see ESPN or some other site with a half-baked fantasy formula that slaps the available numbers together and claims to be a measure of player performance.

The trick is to understand what the stats mean, how they relate to the game on the ice, and then to put the proper weight on each stat. That's what the Contrarian Goaltender is working with here, and that's why he puts a lot of weight on SV% with adjustments, as it's the number that most closely measures the goaltender's performance on the ice.

Anyone who can follow a chain of logical reasoning and has a basic understanding of the statistics in hockey and how they relate to the game should agree with most of what's posted here. If you disagree with something, try showing where the Contrarian Goaltender's arguments are flawed instead of pointing to Damian Cox and others "around the game of hockey" as experts on goaltending.

Actually, if you wanted to support your arguments with the opinions of some goaltending experts, I'd suggest you look for opinions from people like Francois Allaire, Jacques Caron, and Jim Corsi, not journalists working for nhl.com and espn.com.

Statman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Statman said...

Just watch... if Calgary finishes highly, & as long as Kiprusoff doesn't have a really bad last 2 wks of the season, Mikka will be in the top 4-5 of all-star & Vezina voting... when he probably doesn't deserve to be in the top 20.

Statman said...

"...that is why the collective opinions/analysis of many different people is more objective."

If you're referring to many different sports reporters - sorry, I don't really care because so often their opinions are just based on a very very simple analysis.

I don't care if a guy/gal with little or no education has worked his/her way up from the local sports beat to some larger organization, based on the sound of his voice (or what she looks like) & his/her exuberance for sports. Unless his/her opinions have solid evidence behind them, I really could care less.

They are to sports analysis as a tabloid (or, a Sun paper in Canada) is to investigative political reporting & analysis.

Statman said...

"Further, it seems like guys who do not have league best save percentages are getting all the Vezina talk, such as Mason, and now Luongo. Why? Because they have posted good overall numbers for teams that win."

Why? Look who is producing the "talk".

I agree, though... if a goalie posts "good overall numbers" (e.g. top 3-5 in wins, a GAA somewhere in the top 15, & SVPCT somewhere in the top 20), he will get strong consideration. So basically if you play 60-70 games for a good team, & have even just an average ability to stop the puck, you can be in the top 5 in voting for these awards. Ridiculous.

And that points to the problem with who is doing the assessing.

Anonymous said...

I dont think Kipper will be a top 5 Vezina finalist. Atleast if his own GM doesnt vote for him. That seems to be the reason undeserving and usually overrated guys end up getting nominated. Especially in the last few years when the race was pretty clear cut, i.e. only 1-2 goalies really having a chance, guys like Kipper last year, and Lundqvist all three years, get into the top 5 or top 3 solely because their own GM's gave them their only first place votes, votes that separated them from the other 7 or 8 goalies who only racked up a few 3rd place votes..

Repulse said...

I wonder if and how would player statss from a much different age would translate into these numbers...but then it would be meaningless after all.
As for the "greatest ever" debate I would take Hasek on a much different reason than 4 cups, he was a spectacle to behold. I'm not sure if any other future goalie would match his speed, flexibility, and creativity with goaltending styles.

Anonymous said...

Honestly I don't ever think of Hasek being in the greats of the position for one reason and one reason only. His need to always make desperation saves to make up for his lack of positioning. That is where Brodeur blows the other goalies talked about here away. Does it make him better? In my eyes yes but that is not some thing that shows up in any stats no matter how much they are manipulated.

julio said...

I took a long time to read your post and congratulations on the analysis and statistics that you get.

Anonymous said...

you have an article for puck handleing i think you should look at this http://www.puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=499

Anonymous said...

This blog also doesn't bother going into the gossip and just how many seasons Brodeur cost the Devils due to personal problems. I think he's best compared to Osgood, except Osgood played for some really bad teams and lost his reputation, but is really a great goaltender, and his numbers are worthy to be on this list.

The Sabres kinda sucked outside of Hasek. That's what made them great. And that's why Osgood isn't in the same class. But Brodeur doesn't make a bad Devils team good like Hasek did to the Sabres. In that, the difference is manifest.

And the Nordiques couldn't win without Roy. It did not matter how many great players they had, Thibault wasn't good enough. Once they had Roy, they were a cup winner.

4Gotsumthing said...

Great job of finding some meaningful way to compare these goalies. My frame of reference in judging goalies is as a former D-man.

To me goaltending is about stopping all the shots they should and then stopping pucks when the score is tight and the opposition generates great chances.
I've always felt Hasek is above and beyond any other Goalie I've ever seen. Anyone who watched what shots he stopped and how tough it was to beat him when it mattered know what I mean.
The way I judge subjectively (for their careers) I'd say Hasek is the best followed by Roy, then Belfour. I don't consider Cujo to be an elite goalie career-wise. Luongo has good numbers but no rings and a deserved reputation as a choker.


Brodeur is another case altogether. Personally I think he benefits greatly by playing in the Devils system. He has the easiest job of any NHL goalie. He gets lots of easy nights in the cage. Two years ago he was the worst Number one goalie in terms of PPG save percentage (about 85%).

Brodeur is an Icon in the NHL - much like Roger Clemens was in MLB. Clemens has below average post- season stats. Brodeur has good playoff numbers but in my opinion is not nearly as good as his hype. I've seen and heard many a highlight of one his "great saves". Most of the time the puck was shot into his glove or pads or he reached back with his stick to pull the puck off the goal line. His stacked pads flying through the air stuff is old hat and more pucks beat him with that style than he stops.

Anyone thinking Brodeur is so great should have watched the '04 Tampa series where they beat him 3 times from bad angles and knocked the Devils out in 7 games. Brodeur was the goat in that series. When an elite goalie costs you a series he's not elite anymore.


Just my opinion but Hasek is my pick as best. With Brodeur my choice as most over-rated.
Marty lovers -- have a field day! Can't wait to see him if the Devs get past the Flyers. He's gonna fall apart eventually.

Thanks for the opportunity to give my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Look at Devil's rosters:

Niedermeyer, Daneyko, Stevens, Kovalchuck,Arnott, Carpenter, Driver, Elias, Gionta, Guerin, Holik, Lagenbrunner,Lemieux (Claude), MacLean, Madden, McKay, Rolston, etc...

INcredible rosters.

Host PPH said...

there are lot of things to take under consideration to see whom is better. but I have to admit that you have to take under consideration co-players too. if they are better you don't need to have a lot of skills.