by PuckStopsHere on 09/15/10 at 03:04 AM ET
I have written several sabermetrics and hockey posts about Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold system. I have discussed the offensive, defensive, goaltending and shootout portions of the system. There is one more part to the system as it is calculated by Gabe Desjardins at behind the net, which is not described by Tom Awad. This extra piece is the defensive component of goaltenders.
I will spare the mathematical details of this portion of the system because it does not help in valuation of players. Effectively, it credits goaltenders for their team allowing a small number of shots on goal when the goaltender is in goal or penalizes the goalie for being on a team that allows lot of shots on goal. This is an attempt at a “Martin Brodeur” correction. Martin Brodeur is a very good puckhandler. His puckhandling reduces the number of shots that his team faces and this is not reflected in his saves percentage. It is Martin Brodeur handling opponent’s dump ins that reduces his shots faced when compared to a more average puckhandler. This effect is very hard to quantify, but it is often cited as a not well measured reason that Brodeur is a better goalie than his saves percentage numbers show. Here is an attempt to quantify it, but it doesn’t wind up with any final conclusions.
In a failed attempt to measure this, the number of shots faced by a goalie is turned into a defensive contribution for goalies. Last season, Cristobal Huet is found to be the top goaltender by his defensive contribution. He played the highest number of games in goal on the best defensive team in the NHL - the Chicago Blackhawks. Tomas Vokoun is found to be the worst goalie by his defensive contribution, as he played a lot of games on the defensively poor Florida Panthers. This defensive portion for goaltenders is small, only Huet, Vokoun and Martin Brodeur have defensive values in absolute value greater than 2 goals (Huet’s +2.7 is the biggest in the league), but it is totally misguided. I don’t see any reason that Huet is a better puckhandling goalie than Vokoun when I watch them and yet they are at different extremes in this system.
I think this portion of the goals versus threshold system, when it is used (and it isn’t used universally), is entirely wrong. I will not include it in my analyses in the future. If Gabe Desjardins or Tom Awad are reading this, I would love to hear your explanations for why this is done at all.
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