Behind the Numbers: Is Jonathan Quick overrated?

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 26: Goaltender Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings looks back at the puck in the net after a goal by Raffi Torres #37 of the Phoenix Coyotes in the second period during the NHL game at Staples Center on December 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Crowning a King unworthy of the throne!

Johnathan Quick could be overrated...Whew! There, I said it. I hope the league and its home reporters on nhl.com don't hear about this blasphemy. This is yet another opportunity where we can use advanced hockey stats (ADS) to cut through the myth/hype, and even slap the hands of those who use misleading and useless stats such as (G.A.A. and Wins) for evaluating goalies. There is a better way! Check behind the numbers to find out?

Quick for Vezina!

The hype is everywhere! It is hard to escape. Here. here. and here. Talk about pumping the tires! You would assume that the player in question has had the underlying stats to back up such lofty accolades.

Let's check.

First, we need to make an obvious assumption: The performance of any goalie is influenced significantly by the quality of his team's defense.For example, Goalie Brian Elliot has a .915 sve% (well below league average)In Ottawa n,ot a strong defensive team,last year his E. sve% was .900 .This year behind Ken Hitchcock's St. Louis Blues his E. Sve% is .945!

Therefore, it is essential in any goalie comparison to make adjustments for team defensive strength

This is obvious. Goatending is an individual position, a goalie ought not to be credited just for playing behind a better team! One reasonable way to do this is to look at shots against totals. A team that faces more shots on a regular basis over the long haul has a weaker defense. I have already established the Kings defensive strength here, but let's revisit it.

SA/60 Rank SA/60 (Close) Rank Even save % PK save % Pos. F Against
Goalie A 27.6 6th 25.5 5th .936 .905 36.5
Goalie B 26.4 4th 25 3rd .933 .908 36
---- ----- ---- ----- ---- .---- ---- -----
Goalie D 30.1 19th 29 23rd .929 .870 39
Goalie E 30.1 19th 29 23rd .931 .959 39

.

Which goalies have had the toughest season?

At even strength Goalie E has had a performance that is head and shoulders above the other three keepers. Goalie D has also played as well or better as Goalie A and B at even strength but his PK has only been average. (but, a stat known not necessarily to be linked to a goalie's true talent level).

Also, Pos F Against (Shots Against + Miss Shots Against) is a good indicator of the offensive pressure the goalie is facing and Goalie E & D by this measure, have again had the toughest challenge.

Goalie A = Henrik Lundqvist

Goalie B - Jonathan Quick

Goalie D Roberto Luongo

Goalie E Cory Schnieder

Roberto Luongo has had a very good year behind less than average defenders at even strength And, as we know, Cory Schnieder has been even better than Luongo this year and on a Vezina winner's pace, albeit in a smaller sample of games.

We can also look at a goalie's career performance to increase the sample size.

Let's compare Kings and Canucks starting goalies:

Jonathan Quick has yet to prove he is an elite goalie. His career even save % is good at .924, (on over 5100 shots) (check full list here) this is a clear notch behind the leaders. Roberto Luongo's even save% since the lockout is.929,( on over 10,000shots) and is right at the top.

Let's look at a goalie's consistency year to year which is another strong indication of elite status.

Quick has had one very good year 2012 ...933

one good year .926

and two average years .921 .919

He has had the added benefit of playing behind a team with an average SA (team defense) of 4th best.

{all above using even save% with league ave .920 since lockout}

On the other hand, Roberto Luongo

has had three very good years .936 .934 .929

And, one above average year .925

Most importantly, The Canucks SA (team defense) behind Lui has ranked 14th.

There is a clear performance gap between the two goalies when looking at career stats.Quick;'s defense has also been much stronger than Vancovuer's defence over this time period. Not to mention, Quick hasn't done well in his limited playoff appearances (I know a small sample) but this fact needs to be mentioned. (Still, Luongo gets crucified for his supposedly sub-par playoff record which has in fact been solid.Check here.

Fact: Luongo is and has been an elite goalie.

Fact : Jonathan Quick is a only a good goalie.

One more for piece of good news for Canuck fans!

Quick has plaed 69 games...just time for him to tire...

Quick for Vezina? Not a chance! Oh No! It can't be so! because 'nhl.com' tells us so!

One more thing, goals against average and wins are 'team stats', Including them in discussion about an individual goalie's performance is simply laziness. They have been used in the past because we didn't have anything else. As I have clearly shown, with a little work this is not the case anymore. Also, using Quick's lack of goal support as season for the Vezina is again wrong. It increases his value to his team not connected and is not linked to his talent or skill level.

Bottom Line:

It will be a injustice of epic proportions that J. Quick wins a Vezina while R. Luongo, who is arguably the best goalie of his generation, hasn't won one!

You would think that the league cared about getting the players most worthy of awards. But that is the way the NHL is run. There is little interest in integrity: of accurate points system & standings, and playoff seeds, of consistency of it's refs,and suspensions, and on and on....

Prepare for every Quick save to be over-hyped and every Luongo bobble over-criticized.The table has been set by mass media that is clear intent is creating myth over reporting the actual performance of players and teams.Of course, the fact that Quick is in L.A. a major US market doesn't hurt.

Now, any goalie can stand on their head for a series,7 games is a small sample size. If Quick stops the better quality scoring chances in the series he'll deserve the credit. Just not before then! It must be earned!

But, the reality is, if the Kings win it will most likely be because of their strong defense and Quick will get too much credit. If Canucks lose it will be because of their weaker defense and Luongo will get the blame!

The Canucks goalies will have the tougher task but the numbers say they are up to it!

Canuck Fans can take heart, we have the better goaltending, no matter what the media says.

Time for you to vote! Tell us what do you think?

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