Breaking Down Calgary’s Goaltenders After 42 Games

I don’t think it’s controversial to say that Calgary’s goaltending was a tire-fire earlier this season. And I don’t think it’s a big stretch to say that their goaltending has really turned things around over the last while.

In the interest of quantifying what’s going better – and answering some questions I had about where the goals against were coming from this season – I’m revisiting a few things I looked at back at the beginning of November in regards to goaltenders.


Just as a refresher: low-danger chances are in shots from the areas in yellow (perimeter chances), medium-danger chances are shots from the areas in red, and the areas in teal are the high-danger areas.

Here’s a fancy table with the breakdown of where the shots are coming from against Calgary.

Season Low Medium High
2014-15 43.9% 26.8% 29.3%
2015-16 (12 games) 42.9% 28.9% 28.2%
2015-16 (42 games) 45.1% 26.1% 28.9%

Generally, this says that compared to last season the Flames are defending better, as they’re giving up fewer chances against from the high-danger areas (and are forcing the opposition to shoot more often from the outside). And compared to the beginning of the season, they’re really defending better.

The team-wide even-strength save percentage this season is 90.9 – still last in the NHL, but a massive improvement from October (86.8%) but down a bit from last year’s 92.2%. That said, given where the chances are coming from, I’d expect that 90.9 percentage to climb up over the second half of the season.

In terms of shots against at even-strength, they’re averaging 28.6 per 60 minutes, compared to 29.8 per 60 after 12 games and 29.5 per 60 last season.

So by any measure you want to use they’re giving opponents fewer chances (both compared to last season and compared to their disastrous first month), and from less advantageous areas. Is it any wonder why they’ve won a lot more often?


Where are the shots coming from against Karri Ramo?

Season Low Medium High
2014-15 42.3% 25.6% 32.0%
2015-16 (12 games) 46.7% 26.1% 27.2%
2015-16 (42 games) 45.9% 26.6% 28.5%

Overall, Ramo is facing more dangerous shots than he was early-on in the season, but his numbers have creeped up nicely. His adjusted save percentage is now 91.9% – slightly down from the 92.2% he experienced last season, but WAY up from 85.5% figure that got him booted to the American Hockey League after a few games. After 12 games, Ramo saw 33.2 even-strength shots per 60 minutes. Now? It’s down to 29.2 per 60, a slight improvement over last season’s 29.6.

So compared to last year, Ramo is facing roughly the same amount of shots at even-strength, but they’re more from the fringes than he saw last year. As a result, his numbers have consistently nudged up since he came back to the NHL. (When we chatted a few weeks back, Ramo described October’s style of play as “waiting for something to happen,” and noted that team-wide they’re much less passive.)


Where are the shots coming from against Hiller?

Season Low Medium High
2014-15 44.6% 27.6% 27.8%
2015-16 (12 games) 37.6% 30.8% 31.6%
2015-16 (42 games) 41.2% 26.9% 31.9%

Hiller’s numbers haven’t changed a ton, and since he hasn’t played very much since November much of the movement could just be statistical noise. His adjusted save percentage is now 88.4%, way up from 87.6% in November but way down from last season’s 92.7%. This season he’s faced 25.7 even-strength shots per 60 minutes, down from 26.3 per 60 in November and 29.7 per 60 last season.

The “where the shots are coming from” differences may just be noise, but so far Hiller’s facing fewer shots but more dangerous ones than last season. We’ll be able to say more about his game when he’s played a bit more.


Calgary’s goalies are better than they were in October, and Ramo’s only slightly worse than he was all of last season. A good deal of the credit has to go to the team’s defensive play, though, as since October’s awful start they’ve been a lot better at defending and preventing opponents from getting really good chances (as a percentage of all of their chances).