Three straight starts for Stuart Skinner had him ranking as the Pacific Division’s busiest goaltender in Week 6. As steady as he been in every other week, the string of consecutive starts for Skinner ended up with his GSAx values taking a big hit. However, in a weak division, he’s still faring well overall. Let’s see how the weekly numbers ended up for Skinner and the rest of the Pacific.
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 16 to November 22 as well as over the season-to-date. All data is from NaturalStatTrick.com.
Teams are arranged by total team GSAx. The Vancouver Canucks had the best GSAx this week. 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 6 GSAx visualisations for the four NHL divisions here.
After weeks and weeks of truly bad goaltending, Thatcher Demko finally had a strong week to put him and the Canucks at the top. Unfortunately the team only walked away with one win, but credit is due for Demko, whose season has been abysmal.
As mentioned above, Skinner was the busiest goalie, as he faced 93 shots. John Gibson and Jacob Markstrom followed with 87 and 83 shots, respectively. Then Demko and Cal Petersen round it out with 75 shots faced each. Of the five goalies, all were relied upon by their team to start three games, and all but Demko ended up with negative GSAx.
The Pacific Division is not having a strong showing in net at all. The best in the division look barely above average compared to other divisions.
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 was 10th out of 12 goalies, while Jack Campbell didn’t make an appearance.
Season-to-date goals saved above expected
If you’ve followed along over the past few weeks, you would have seen the Pacific being held down by Skinner and Logan Thompson. However, the recent performance from Martin Jones has elevated him entirely past Thompson. With Thompson having a less-than-stellar week, Jones has shown the slow and steady approach to becoming one of the Pacific’s best goalies so far this season.
With the Oilers only playing Skinner this week and him having a bad string of games, he is the only goalie with a GSAx of greater than 5.0, but only just.
Looking at the division on a whole, most of the goalies have been bad to awful. Just four goalies have a positive GSAx on the season so far, in contrast to 13 goalies with a negative GSAx. Goaltending hasn’t been pretty in the Pacific, to say the least.
Edmonton’s goalie issues persist
The Oilers probably could have used better goaltending from Skinner in all honesty. The team has struggled to put forth consistent performances, with Skinner seemingly being a source of steadiness. However, as he got a string of consecutive starts, his performance faltered.
You can’t blame Skinner really, who’s been a big reason the Oilers aren’t doing even worse, but it’s pretty clear that goaltending remains a concern for the team.
As the tandem is set to share starts, it might alleviate some of the pressure on Skinner and help Campbell get a rhythm going, but only time will tell.
Stay tuned each week for the latest goaltending GSAx updates!