Earlier this week, we took a look at the stark contrast in goaltending performances between Jack Campbell and Stuart Skinner. Using expected goals and goals saved above expected (GSAx), the starts to their seasons could not have been more different after both seeing extremely limited ice time.
However, now that more teams in the league have strung together games, we can take a look at how goaltenders across the Pacific Division have performed to see where Campbell and Skinner actually stack up. Was Campbell’s shaky start worth all the alarm, or was Skinner’s saving spectacle worthy of all the praise? Let’s break it down.
Pacific Division goals saved above expected
Below is a plot of GSAx for Pacific Division goaltenders so far, including games ending on October 18, 2022. Data is from NaturalStatTrick.com.
Teams are arranged by total team GSAx, with the Vegas Golden Knights leading the way so far. Every goaltender who’s made at least one appearance within the date range will be plotted on their team’s x-axis.
Essentially, goaltenders to the right of the plot with positive GSAx have outperformed expectations, whereas goaltenders to the left with negative GSAx have underperformed. The additional use of colour details a goaltender’s relative workload as well: the higher the shot count, the brighter yellow a goaltender is; and the lower the shot count, the darker blue.
Oilers goals saved above expected
Check out the full set of Week 1 GSAx visualisations for the four NHL divisions here.
As seen in the data visualisation, Stuart Skinner has been one of the best goaltenders in the Pacific after his two appearances. He has the highest GSAx in the entire division and Logan Thompson closely follows (although Thompson has faced more shots as seen by his colour).
Campbell on the other hand, while bad, has not been the Pacific’s worst goaltender at all. Five other goaltenders in Cal Petersen, Philipp Grubauer, John Gibson, Kaapo Kahkonen, and Thatcher Demko have all been worse. Demko in particular has been the Pacific’s worst goaltender so far, and in terms of GSAx, has been nearly twice as bad as Campbell.
The raw GSAx numbers
The table below shows the same data used in the visualisation for clarity, and is sorted in order of highest to lowest GSAx. Skinner ranks first overall while Campbell is 11th out of 16.
Setting goals for the goaltenders
While the 1–2–0 start to the season leaves a sour taste, there’s little to no reason to really worry about the Oilers’ goaltending yet. Skinner in particular has been one of the best goaltenders to start 2022–23, and if he’s handed the reins more often, then the Oilers can have feel good about having a reliable goaltender in net.
The same can be said about Campbell too, as if he pulls himself up just a tad, he’d quickly go from below-average to above-average in the Pacific.
The idea with this visualisation is that it can be repeated every week, showing both weekly results and season results. So stay tuned for more!