It wasn’t the greatest week for the Edmonton Oilers in terms of goaltending, as the two netminders found themselves combining to end up at the bottom of the Pacific in terms of goals saved above expected. The pair of Jack Campbell and Stuart Skinner split the starts over the four games the Oilers played and the team went 1–3–0.
Pacific Division goals saved above expected
We can look at goaltending performances using goals saved above expected (GSAx), which gives a more objective way to assess whether they are performing above or below expectations. Are goalies making saves they wouldn’t be expected to, or are they letting in goals that they should be saving.
Each week on Thursdays we’ll look at the past week of goaltending performances, and also look at the whole season-to-date. Below is are plots of GSAx for Pacific Division goaltenders over the past week from November 2 to November 8 as well as over the season-to-date. All data is from NaturalStatTrick.com.
Teams are arranged by total team GSAx. This week, the team with the best GSAx was the Seattle Kraken. Also, every goaltender who’s made at least one appearance in the past week 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 4 GSAx visualisations for the four NHL divisions here.
In a bit of a surprise, the Seattle Kraken found themselves at the top of this week’s GSAx performances as Martin Jones accumulated over five GSAx in his three games played. The rest of the division were more closely huddled together around the zero GSAx mark, either slightly above or below.
For Edmonton, it was a combined week of not saving enough goals. Neither Campbell nor Skinner were positive in GSAx, which is a first. For the first few weeks of the season, Skinner has been the one above water while Campbell has been under. So it’s not shocking that the Oilers’ record suffered when both were playing below expected levels.
In the Oilers’ latest win, Campbell put up solid numbers. However, his own undoing this week in terms of GSAx came due to his much worse performance against the Dallas Stars where he gave up six goals.
Elsewhere in the Pacific, it’s clear that misery loves company. The next worse team GSAx was from no other than the Calgary Flames, who saw Jacob Markstrom falter for the week’s worst GSAx. He was just eked out by John Gibson who was marginally better in terms of raw GSAx value. However, given that Gibson faced fewer shots than Markstrom, it should actually be Gibson with the honours (or dishonours) of being the Pacific’s worst goaltender this week.
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. Campbell and Skinner slot in at seventh and eighth overall out of 12 goaltenders with starts this week.
Season-to-date goals saved above expected
A new change made for this week was a new colour palette for season-to-date plots to account for shots against. Instead of blue to green to yellow like the weekly chart, it now goes from black to purple to orange. This just helps separate the two charts visually to make it easier to know which is which.
Over the season, the Pacific Division has seen two goaltenders really step up to stand out against the rest of the pack. That’s Skinner and Logan Thompson. The two Albertan goaltending products have been neck and neck in GSAx as they’ve switched leads a few times with no other goaltender being particularly close.
With Skinner’s poorer two games this week, Thompson takes over the top spot for now.
Meanwhile, Jack Campbell hasn’t had the start he’s wanted with the Oilers. Among goalies who are heavily relied upon by their team, he finds himself near the bottom. While Thatcher Demko and John Gibson have had it much worse, Campbell’s not too far off from being at the bottom of the Pacific, and this week’s negative perfomance didn’t help him out much either.
The Oilers still find themselves second overall thanks in part to the GSAx Skinner had already accumulated over the season, as well as the Pacific Division being riddled with below-average goaltending to open up the season.
The goaltending gauntlet
In a busy week for the Oilers, they faced adversity with a three-game skid, but were able to break that trend with a big victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Goaltending can win or lose games for a team, and Campbell experienced both sides of that coin this week alone.
Stay tuned each week for the latest goaltending GSAx updates!