I’ve identified a group of top goaltenders in the league, comparable to the playing level of our identified puck-moving goaltenders. This includes Jonathan Quick, Marc-Andre Fleury, Henrik Lundqvist, Tuukka Rask, Braden Holtby, Devan Dubnyk, Corey Crawford, and Pekka Rinne. While none are specifically known for their puck-handling abilities, it is very possible that one or more of these goalies could positively impact possession statistics as much as if not more than our previously labeled puck-moving goaltender subgroup but don’t get the credit they deserve. I will similarly analyze their possession WOWYs, beginning at even strength, to see their impact to their team’s possession statistics.
To begin, let’s simply look at Corsi For Percentage (CF%) WOWYs to see the direct impact to shot attempts:
Quick, Fleury, Crawford, and Rinne were able to drive a higher percentage of shot attempts towards the opponent’s net. No goalie was dramatically affected here as all of the CF% Rel numbers were under two percentage points. Rinne (+1.90 CF% Rel) and Dubnyk (-1.98% CF% Rel) had the largest impacts in either direction.
Next we’ll look at the top goaltender’s impact to shot attempts for:
Following the same pattern as before, Quick, Fleury, Crawford, and Rinne all had a positive impact to shot attempts for. Quick was the only goaltender to post a CF/60 rate above 60 shot attempts while Dubnyk had a lowest rate of shot attempts with a 52.67 CF/60.
Let’s see how shot attempts for translates to scoring chances:
Most goalies had a minimal effect (less than one percentage point) on scoring chances and high danger scoring chances. Rask was the only goaltender to have a larger impact to either scoring chances or high danger scoring chances than shot attempts but, it was in a negative fashion (-2.37% SCF/60 Rel). For the most part, Quick, Fleury, Crawford, and Rinne had a positive impact on possession metrics for where Lundqvist, Rask, Holtby, and Dubnyk had a negative effect.
Let’s switch to shot attempts against to see goaltender’s impact in the defensive end:
Where the CF/60 WOWYs showed greater disparity, none of the top goaltenders were affected by more than two shot attempts in either direction. Joining Quick, Fleury, Crawford, and Rinne in having a positive impact is Holtby, but it is only by one hundredth of a percentage point. Quick’s Kings had the most shot attempts for and against with him in net of this group of goaltenders.
Looking further into possession metrics, Quick, Crawford, and Rinne had a positive impact to shot attempts, scoring chances, and high-danger scoring chances. Fleury had positive impacts to the first two metrics but a slight negative impact to high-danger scoring chances. Lundqvist and Dubnyk were able to turn a negative impact on shot attempts into a positive impact on scoring chances and high-danger scoring chances.
Quick, Fleury, Crawford, and Rinne all had positive impacts to shot attempt numbers across the board at even strength. Let’s see if that translates to success on special teams.
On the power play, Rask (+1.36% CF% Rel), Crawford (+1.31% CF% Rel), and Rinne (+0.81% CF% Rel) saw a positive change in their team’s CF% while Quick, Fleury, and Holtby saw their team’s shot attempt percentage drop by several percentage points with them in net. Lundqvist and Dubnyk saw much smaller drops in their CF% WOWYs.
Holtby was the only goaltender to have a large positive impact to shot attempt for, leading all of our puck-moving and top goaltenders, with a +6.96 CF/60 Rel. In the opposite direction, Fleury had the largest negative impact, with Pittsburgh getting almost eight more shot attempts on their opponent with him on the bench. Besides those two goaltenders, everyone else saw much smaller impacts to their PP CF/60 WOWYs.
Holtby’s large impact to shot attempts didn’t correlate onto scoring chances and high-danger scoring chances. Lundqvist was the only other goalie to have a positive impact on at least two of the three possession metrics with positive impacts to shot attempts and high-danger scoring chances. All of the other goaltenders had a negative or small positive relative impact to possession metrics. Fleury and Dubnyk’s teams were much better possession-wise with them not in the net.
Switching to defense, Rask, Crawford, and Rinne saw fewer shot attempts against them while their team was on the power play. Both Rinne and Rask had a positive CF/60 WOWY so this makes sense but Crawford had a negative CF/60 WOWY of almost four shot attempts. This is proof that Chicago’s success on the power play comes from holding and passing the puck (Chicago is currently 6th in the league this season in PP% at 21.6% with only 82.9 CF/60 (29th in the league) but only allowing 8.0 CA/60 (1st in the league)). Every other goaltender faced several more shot attempts per sixty minutes than their counterparts in net. The highest impact seen was a –5.15 CA/60 Rel resulting in Holtby facing over fifteen shot attempts against per sixty minutes of ice time, the toughest job of any goaltender analyzed.
Crawford had the highest positive impact to relative possession metrics against with shot attempts, scoring chances, and high-danger scoring chances all with a difference of over two.Rask and Rinne also saw positive impacts but nowhere near Crawford’s level. The only other goaltender to post a positive value in any of the three metrics was Quick (+1.36 HSCA/60 Rel).
No one goaltender had a large positive impact to both possessions, for and against, while on the power play. Holtby had the largest positive impact to possession metrics for where Rask, Crawford, and Rinne had positive impacts to possession metrics against. Now we’ll switch our focus to shorthanded situations.
This is the first situation where a majority of the top goalies were able to post positive WOWY numbers. Quick, Fluery, Rask, Holtby, and Rinne had a higher shot attempt percentage while shorthanded. Holtby (+2.89% CF% Rel) and Rask (+2.62% CF% Rel) saw the highest positive impact while Lundqvist (-3.29% CF% Rel) and Crawford (-2.91% CF% Rel) saw the highest negative impact. In total, Lundqvist’s Rangers and Rask’s Bruins posted the highest shot attempt percentages which make sense as both teams are tied for second in shorthanded goals for with 25 since the beginning of the 2012-2013 season.
Beginning with defense while on the penalty kill, the same five goaltenders, Quick, Fleury, Rask, Holtby, and Rinne, face less shot attempts against than their backups. As a whole, these impacts are quite large. Holtby faces over seven and a half less shot attempts per sixty minutes than his counterpart, but still has to face one hundred ten shot attempts against in that same span. Fleury is the only other goaltender analyzed that faces over one hundred shot attempts against per sixty minutes of ice time. Rask faces the fewest shot attempts per sixty minutes at just over eighty-nine.
Most goaltenders we analyzed were able to have positive impacts to all three possession metrics while Dubnyk and Crawford struggled in this category. Top goaltenders are paid big money to shut down their opposition’s power play and for the most part, they were able to do so. Good rebound control, timely poke-checks, and strong positioning help limit the opposition from racking up scoring chances on the power play.
Turning to offensive shot attempts, Quick, Fleury, Rask, Holtby, and Rinne once again had positive WOWYs. Rask and Lundqivst led our group of top goaltenders in SH CF/60, which fits into their team’s mark of shorthanded goals for even though Lundquist had a –3.20 CF/60 Rel. Overall, Holtby had the strongest impact with a +3.21 CF/60 Rel.
The resulting relative possession metrics for are all over the place. Of the five goaltenders to have a positive impact to shot attempts, only Holtby and Rinne were able to post positive impacts to scoring chances and high-danger scoring chances. Rask posted a positive scoring chance impact but had the worst impact to high-danger scoring chances (-1.55 HSCF/60 Rel). Dubnyk was able to turn a small negative impact to shot attempts to a larger positive impact to both scoring chances and high-danger scoring chances.
A majority of our goaltenders had a positive impact to possession metrics against them while shorthanded where only a few goaltenders were able to translate that into a positive impact to possession metrics for. The two goaltenders that had the most success shorthanded were Holtby and Rinne.
I’ll conclude my goaltender possession series in my next blog, focusing on the overall trends found In the final blog in my goaltender possession series, I’ll conclude whether or not goaltenders can impact possession statistics.
Follow Steve Ness on Twitter at: @QuickkNess
All data from War-On-Ice.com.