Friday, July 11, 2008

Less Is More?

1) This is apparently the case with regard to games played for a team's starting/#1 goalie. When we were discussing possible topics to discuss during the doldrums of the summer, a few of us at The FAUXRUMORS Group, LLC. got into a discussion about the merits of playing your top goalie as much as has become almost a regular occurrence these days. We discussed for instance if the Devils would have done better if Brodeur would have been rested more often?

2) In fact, with the origination of the salary cap, teams are more and more carrying only 1 top quality goalie for a good salary and a very cheap back up to save cap space. Seldom do we see a split between 2 goalies like we saw regularly 25 years ago. Nowadays, playing 65-70 or more games by the top goalie is common place, but is it a good strategy to employ?

3) Our discussion was prompted by the Red Wings recent Cup run with Chris Osgood. He wasn't really a true/prototype #1 goalie that many teams possess. In fact he wasn't even the #1 going into the post season. We figured it would be interesting to see if this was the exception or not. What we found surprised us. With the exception of Martin Brodeur (earlier in his career) it seems that teams have success (win the Cup) when they have a goalie that plays under 60 games. We went back the past 5 years to see if this premise held.

  • 2007-2008: Western Conference champs goalie (Osgood) 43 games/ East(Fleury) 35 games played

  • 2006-2007: Western Conference champs goalie (Giguere) 56 games/ East (Emery) 58 games played

  • 2005-2006: Western Conference champs goalie (Roloson) 43 games/ East (Ward) 28 games played

  • 2004-2005: Bettman Lockout.

  • 2003-2004: Western Conference champs goalie (Kiprusoff) 39 games/ East (Khabibulin)55 games played

4) The next question is do teams take this bit of information and try to alter their teams' future strategy? We are already on record stating that the Devils made a mistake playing Brodeur so much the last 2 seasons as he has looked 'tired' and not nearly as sharp from playing so much. (77 and 78 games respectively) However teams like New Jersey and Vancouver, etc are in a catch 22 situation. They rely so heavily on their goalie to carry them, that playing him less could result in missing the post season entirely. Eventually we believe teams will begin to re-think their strategy in this regard and possibly have to set aside more resources to retain more than one quality goalie. Allowing them to rest their #1 so he is ready to face the immense 2 month long pressure cooker that is the Stanley Cup playoffs


chompsey said...

I can see what your saying, but without marty playing like 75 games I don't think we'd get into the playoffs at all. Its a tough thing to do. The best thing would be to find a cheaper but good back up who can play like 20 games. I thought that Weekes could do that but sutter didn't play him cause he was worried about losing his job probably.

Jibblescribbits said...

It's an interesting trend, but I think it's a coincidence. It looks to me, upon first glance, that most of the reasons for low game counts were due to injuries.

And goalies are still playing over 50 games a season. Still it's interesting and worth keeping an eye on for the next few years. I'd call it interesting but inconclusive for now.


1) Chomp: Your team and some others like Vancouver are in that proverbial catch-22 situation. You guys have to play Marty 70+ games right now we guess to make the playoffs, though Weekes seemed like a better option to give Brodeur a day off than was Clemmonsson before him, yet Sutter played Brodeur the same 75+ games.
2) Jibble: yes, some of the goalies who had success played less than 60 games because of injury. However one can't discount that this 'forced' rest ultimately helped them later on in the season. 5 years is a LONG time to use as a reference. We believe the two can be linked and one can argue in favour of resting your top goalie for better results when the games count most

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