Goalies with Potential

Source: Edmonton Oilers

Source: Edmonton Oilers

I’m of the mindset that having a young goalie with starter potential would be a smart move by the Oilers. Initially, I thought a goalie like Cam Talbot or Martin Jones, who are currently serving as backups, would be smart acquisitions, similar to how the Leafs acquired Jonathan Bernier in June of 2013 for a second round pick. If a goalie has been successful at the AHL level and has shown well in a limited role at the NHL level, that to me is good enough to warrant at least an assessment.

Alex Thomas, who does excellent work at the Oilers Rig, recently put a case together for acquiring Cam Talbot from the Rangers. The 27 year old played well while Lundqvist recovered from an injury. But his stats and style of play, to me, aren’t anything outstanding. In fact, his numbers at the NHL level and other leagues are somewhat similar to that of current Oilers netminder Ben Scrivens.

Here’s their NHL seasons to date. (Source: Hockey Reference)

Cam Talbot
SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP W L OT  PCT SO
2013-14 NY Rangers NHL 21 12 6 1 0.941 3
2014-15 NY Rangers NHL 36 21 9 4 0.926 5
Ben Scrivens
SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP W L OT PCT SO
2011-12 Toronto NHL 12 4 5 2 0.903 0
2012-13 Toronto NHL 20 7 9 0 0.915 2
2013-14 Total LA/Edm NHL 40 16 16 4 0.922 4
2014-15 Edmonton NHL 57 15 26 11 0.890 1

Here’s a summary of each netminders overall stats by league:

Cam Talbot
LEAGUE GP W L OT MIN. PCT SO
NHL 57 33 15 5 3306 0.931 8
AHL 116 54 52 5 6611 0.914 8
ECHL 2 1 0 1 122 0.921 0
CHA 70 15 44 3861 0.909 2
Ben Scrivens
LEAGUE GP W L OT MIN. PCT SO
NHL
129
42
56
17
7135
0.905
7
AHL 94 49 34 7 5547 0.923 8
ECHL 13 10 3 0 779 0.938 0
ECAC 117 65 37 6708 19

Both goalies have come through the college ranks and have performed well at the AHL level. There’s no denying that they both have potential to be decent at the NHL level. The issue for Oilers fans is that Scrivens faltered badly last year in his first real attempt to be a starter, while Talbot appears to be ready for his first shot.

In my opinion, if you want a “goalie with potential” for next season, stick with Ben Scrivens. Two reasons:

One, Scrivens won’t cost you anything. He”ll make a very reasonable $2.3 million next year becoming a free agent in July of 2016 (Source: NHL Numbers). Talbot, on the other hand, will likely cost the Oilers either a draft pick or a young prospect in return. Goalies are not worth first round picks. And goalies are not worth high end prospects like Nail Yakupov. Nothing of that calibre should be in play. Goalies should never command that kind of return as there are a limited number of goalie jobs and more than enough professional goalies available. If the price for Talbot is high, the Oilers could always consider trading for similar “starter potential” goalies like Martin Jones, Antti Raanta or Andrei Vasilevskiy. But it’d be much wiser to spend existing assets on positions that are harder to fill such as defence.

Secondly, I’m fairly confident that Scrivens will bounce back from his horrific 2014/2015 season. Good to average goalies like Scrivens are susceptible to bad seasons, and typically get back to their standard level of performance soon after. We know Scrivens can play at the AHL level and he has done well in the three seasons prior at the NHL level.

One stat that’s worth paying attention to is the percentage of quality starts. Here’s a summary of the metric from from Habs Eyes on the Prize:

A Quality Start (QS) is a goaltending statistic that is awarded to a goaltender who gave his team a reasonable chance to win a game. This is quantified by the goaltender’s save percentage within an individual game itself and comparing it to the league standards for an average SV%, and the established ‘replacement level’ SV% if the goalie faces a low amount of shots faced in a given game (usually less than 20). If a goalie outperforms the league average save percentage, he is awarded a quality start. Additionally, a goalie is awarded a quality start if he allows 2 goals or less while keeping his save percentage above the expected performance of a replacement level goaltender.

Scrivens finished with a QS% of 0.396 this past season, which was second last among goalies who played a minimum of 20 games. In last place: Victor Fasth at 0.375. The league average for goalies is around 0.530. Worth noting that Scrivens has had a respectable QS% in the past. (Souce: Hockey Abstract).

Ben Scrivens
Season Team GS SV% QS%
2011-12 Toronto 11 0.9063 0.455
2012-13 Toronto 17 0.9116 0.588
2013-14 LA/Edmonton 35 0.9262 0.657
2014-15 Edmonton 53 0.8879 0.396

The good news is that other good goalies have had horrific seasons similar to Scrivens’ 2014/2015 campaign. Of those that finished with a QS% below 0.400 since 2007, the vast majority have bounced back and managed to have decent careers. A few of the notables.

Brian Elliott
Season Team GS SV% QS%
2007-08 Ottawa 1 0.9655 1.000
2008-09 Ottawa 30 0.9024 0.500
2009-10 Ottawa 48 0.9100 0.563
2010-11 Ottawa/Colorado 51 0.8940 0.333
2011-12 St. Louis 36 0.9401 0.778
2012-13 St. Louis 20 0.9034 0.600
2013-14 St. Louis 25 0.9237 0.640
2014-15 St. Louis 45 0.9170 0.578
Cam Ward
Season Team GS SV% QS%
2007-08 Carolina 67 0.9042 0.567
2008-09 Carolina 68 0.9158 0.618
2009-10 Carolina 45 0.9162 0.556
2010-11 Carolina 73 0.9223 0.589
2011-12 Carolina 68 0.9151 0.559
2012-13 Carolina 16 0.9075 0.438
2013-14 Carolina 28 0.9004 0.393
2014-15 Carolina 50 0.9085 0.560
Devan Dubnyk
Season Team GS SV% QS%
2009-10 Edmonton 16 0.8870 0.313
2010-11 Edmonton 33 0.9155 0.545
2011-12 Edmonton 42 0.9172 0.548
2012-13 Edmonton 37 0.9199 0.541
2013-14 Edmonton/Nashville 31 0.8895 0.355
2014-15 Arizona/Minnesota 55 0.9300 0.673
James Reimer
Season Team GS SV% QS%
2010-11 Toronto 35 0.9202 0.571
2011-12 Toronto 34 0.9004 0.353
2012-13 Toronto 31 0.9235 0.516
2013-14 Toronto 32 0.9108 0.469
2014-15 Toronto 27 0.9056 0.444
Mike Smith
Season Team GS SV% QS%
2007-08 Tampa Bay 32 0.9040 0.469
2008-09 Tampa Bay 40 0.9151 0.625
2009-10 Tampa Bay 36 0.9035 0.389
2010-11 Tampa Bay 20 0.9021 0.500
2011-12 Arizona 66 0.9294 0.636
2012-13 Arizona 34 0.9104 0.441
2013-14 Arizona 61 0.9152 0.574
2014-15 Arizona 61 0.9044 0.475
Semyon Varlamov
Season Team GS SV% QS%
2008-09 Washington 5 0.9216 0.800
2009-10 Washington 23 0.9068 0.478
2010-11 Washington 25 0.9239 0.720
2011-12 Colorado 52 0.9125 0.577
2012-13 Colorado 33 0.9027 0.333
2013-14 Colorado 60 0.9284 0.733
2014-15 Colorado 57 0.9213 0.579

Obviously, each goalie had their own unique situation, and there are always 1,001 factors that impact goalie performance. But the general trend is that goalies who have a poor QS% one year, tend to bounce back soon after. Scrivens has his work cut out for him this summer if he wants to improve. But in my mind, the Oilers should retain him as their “goalie-with-potential” paired with an established netminder this coming season, and avoid sending away assets for guys like Cam Talbot.

4 thoughts on “Goalies with Potential

  1. That’s the best article about the Oilers goal tending situation I’ve read. Things tend to get a knee jerk reaction around here very quickly, like a 17 year olds first sexual experience…no patience. I think your POV is right on the mark.

  2. Pingback: Goalies and Voodoo Magic | The SuperFan

  3. Pingback: The SuperFan Podcast – Episode 2 | The SuperFan

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