Monday, January 30, 2012

NHL Goalie Evaluation at the 2012 All-Star Break

Changing gears (just for a today), let's take a look at NHL goalie evaluation at the All-Star Break.

As a reminder of what we are doing, David Berri and I published a paper in the Journal of Sports Economics in 2010 on how GM's evaluate NHL goalies. Basically what we found was that GM's are good at evaluating current player performance by using Vezina voting for the best NHL goalie and using past player performance in setting NHL salaries. Unfortunately, GM's on the whole are not so good at setting salaries in relation to the goalies future performance.

We named our measure of NHL goalie productivity WAA. WAA the absolute value (since a goal against has a negative effect on team wins) of the marginal value of a goal against divided by two (since each win is worth two standings points) times the number of shots on goal that goalie faces times the difference in the save percentage of the goalie and the average save percentage of all goalies for that season (or in this case up to the All-Star Break).

Running the numbers results in the following top 10 NHL goalies up to the All-Star Break.

Rank Player Team WAA SV%
1 Henrik Lundqvist NYR 2.876 0.937
2 Jonathan Quick LAK 2.839 0.934
3 Tim Thomas BOS 2.082 0.933
4 Pekka Rinne NSH 1.777 0.925
5 Brian Elliott STL 1.676 0.938
6 Tuukka Rask BOS 1.423 0.938
7 Jimmy Howard DET 1.327 0.924
8 Mike Smith PHX 1.135 0.922
9 Miikka Kiprusoff CGY 0.914 0.92
10 Cory Schneider VAN 0.822 0.927

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