[ed. MattyFranchise is back with another great guest post! Today, we’re looking at soon-to-be UFA goaltenders, which I’m sure is something we’re all very much interested in. Read the breakdown below!]
With the Flames season coming to an end and a complete lack of signed goaltenders for the 2016-17 season I’ve decided to take a look at possible options for an upgrade in net from the unrestricted free agent market. There aren’t many options, though, so the player list I’ve put together is pretty small and while some are excellent backups, only one established starter is available on the UFA market.
All players listed are aged 25 to 32 so most of these goaltenders should be entering or are in the prime of their careers. For comparison’s sake I’ve included the Flames’ best two goaltenders and the most likely to return for next season: Karri Ramo and Joni Ortio.
Areas I’ve focused on in particular are performances at Even Strength, Shorthanded, and All Situations. Save Percentage and Adjusted Save Percentage are given to provide a baseline while I take a closer look at the quality of saves from each goaltender. Save quality is broken down into three categories: Low (3), Medium (2), and High Danger Save Percentage (1). Via War On Ice the three grades of chances are defined below:
First we’ll take a look at the goaltenders that are set to become UFAs this summer, in order of games played for their current teams along with their win/loss records and age, followed by the Flames’ best options within their system.
Team: Carolina Hurricanes
Games Played: 52
Games Played: 45
Games Played: 40 (32 Leafs, 8 Sharks)
Games Played: 25
Team: New York Rangers
Games Played: 24
Team: Nashville Predators
Games Played: 17
Team: Los Angeles Kings
Games Played: 16
Team: Montreal Canadiens
Games Played: 15
The Flames Goaltenders
Games Played: 37
Games Played: 22
Even Strength Numbers
There are a couple of things to pay particular attention to: SA/60 and the breakdown of SV% within the scoring chances defined above (SV%L, SV%M, and SV%H). We see here that the Flames’ current goaltenders are facing the highest volume of even strength shots against, with the exception of Scrivens (and Reimer and Johnson, to lesser extents). Since the Flames are mostly trailing in HSCF%, examined previously here, this is something any incoming goaltender is going to have to deal with.
Of the most-worked goalies we see Scrivens getting shelled, trying to hold on from a distance but falling flat on his face once the opposition gets into the low slot (SV%H) area. Ramo has a similar problem in that he’s allowing far more goals from the low slot than he is from anywhere else but this area is a large improvement on Scrivens’ numbers. Reimer, however, has the best 5v5 SV% out of all represented goaltenders which is undoubtedly boosted by his stellar High Danger SV%.
While Reimer is the early frontrunner, he did get a boost when he was traded to San Jose which certainly helps his numbers. However, I don’t think the boost he got was so significant that he’s going to trip out of the gates next season. As for established starter Cam Ward? He has the lowest SA/60 of all goalies listed and the lowest 5v5 SV%. At this point I don’t feel he’s an upgrade on the two goalies I consider most likely to reappear in Flames silks next season.
Penalty Kill Ranking
It’s often been said that the best penalty killer on your team has to be the goaltender. Here, I want you to consider the workload of the goaltender in question, represented by SA/60, and the quality of the saves the goaltender is making when the team is down a man and really needs him to pull through.
Since Reimer played for San Jose and Toronto this season both teams are listed. However, more weight should be given to Toronto’s position in the standings as Reimer played 80% of his games there.
Veteran backups Hutton and Montoya are the best penalty killing goalies available, with Raanta and Johnson not far behind. High Danger SV% shows Raanta as the clear winner, which helps somewhat mitigate the HSCF% deficit the Flames played with all season long, with Montoya and Hutton rounding out the top 3.
In all situations (EV/SH/PP regardless of score effects) our hardest working goalies are Scrivens, Reimer, and Johnson, with Reimer and Johnson both remaining in the top three when SA/60 is considered along with unadjusted SV%. Enroth leads in High Danger SV% with Reimer not far behind.
If the Flames decide to pass on Ramo this offseason I think that using his $3.8 million cap hit on the free agent market is a reasonable course of action. Cam Ward’s $6.3 million cap hit this season hopefully takes him out of the running as he’d have to take a considerable pay cut to play here if we’re only working with Ramo’s $3.8 million, while Scrivens should be avoided outright. Carter Hutton has the best penalty killing numbers, but he’s also 30 years old and has played only 35 games over the past two seasons.
While I doubt the Flames want to take a gamble in net next season, there is a chance that they might have to. If they do and manage to pry one of either Raanta or Enroth away from their current teams I feel it would be a job well done on Treliving’s part.
If Reimer or Johnson haven’t played themselves out of the Flames’ price range, either would be an upgrade on Ramo while giving the team time to see if Ortio is going to be a long term solution or not. Any of these players can be had for nothing more than a roster spot and it would be silly to think that Treliving isn’t considering these options and watching closely as their teams duke it out in the playoffs.