Goaltender Quality Starts

This weekend I spent a lot of time in the car on a recruiting road trip with a good friend. During our hours in the car, I was introduced to the concept of Goaltender Quality Starts. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea as a baseline measurement of a goaltender’s performance.

A Quality Start is defined as any game where a goaltender has a Save Percentage higher than .912 (league average). Quality Starts can also be awarded in games where the goaltender has a save percentage between .885 and .912 and gives up less than three goals. This controls for games where goaltenders see 20 shots and give up 2 goals, for example. These numbers are based upon winning percentages – when a goaltender has a .885 or higher SV%, teams have at least a .500 winning percentage.

While these numbers don’t speak to the nuances of a goaltenders game (how he controlled the puck, his skating, save selection, etc) they do put a measurement on the end result and allow coaches and statisticians to quantify performance. The stat is also very illuminating when it comes to winning and losing. Our record last year when our goaltenders had a quality start was 7-1-1 (.833 winning %). When we did not receive a quality start, we were 0-14-2 (.067 winning %).

I like the use of a quality start metric as a benchmark to measure performance – did a goaltender give you a chance to win?

A full explanation and the details of the stat can be found on the hockey prospectus blog here (full credit to Robert Vollman for his work and writing): http://www.hockeyprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=54

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2 Responses to Goaltender Quality Starts

  1. Pingback: Quality Starts | NHL Set

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