Friday, June 21, 2013

Why I'm In Favour of the Leafs Adding Another Goalie

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been linked with big name goaltenders a lot over the last year.  Those big name goaltenders include Roberto Luongo, Miikka Kiprusoff, and Jonathan Bernier.  While some were in favour of getting Luongo last summer when the Leafs goaltending situation looked murky, most have spoken out against acquiring another big name goaltender since James Reimer re-emerged this season.

Let me start by saying I don't want the Leafs to get Roberto Luongo (because of his contract/age) or Miikka Kiprusoff (because of his recent performance/age).  But I wouldn't mind getting someone with a less binding contract that can play at a high level, like Jonathan Bernier, who the Leafs are reportedly interested in.  That's not because I don't believe in James Reimer (I do), but I am a fan of solidifying our position in net/giving ourselves two very capable goalies because teams that have strong goalie tandems almost always make the playoffs.

I demonstrate this below, where I've listed every team since the 2009/2010 season that got a league average save percentage or better from their two most played goalies that season.  Listed is the season, the team, and the seed that they finished with in their conference.  Highlighted in green are teams that made the playoffs, and in red, teams that did not.

-28 of the 35 teams (80%) that got league average goaltending or better made the playoffs.  7 of 35 (20%) did not.  Two of those teams finished 9th, which I would call playoff range, so really, 30 of 35 teams that got league average goaltending or better were in playoff spot range (86%)

My guess is that the Leafs are aware of this, that teams with great goaltending tandems have a great chance at success.  Sure you could argue we already have a great tandem with James Reimer/Ben Scrivens (especially since they appear on my list above), but I would bet they are less sold on Scrivens, not Reimer (which is my frame of mind too).  I would bet that's why they want to add another goalie, I doubt it has anything to do with James Reimer who has been fantastic in 2 of his 3 NHL seasons.  And while I think guys like Luongo/Kipper don't make much sense, I think Bernier, who is a lot younger and whose contract will come much cheaper, might.  While it may not be a conventional method, I do think adding a second high end goalie improves the team.

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