Pucks in Depth: Goaltending Sinking The San Jose Sharks …. Goaltending Controversy In Pittsburgh?
Goaltending struggles sinking San Jose

The San Jose Sharks recently became the fifth team to make a coaching change this season, firing Pete DeBoer and replacing him with Bob Boughner.

While the Sharks were very clearly under-achieving based on pre-season expectations, I don’t think DeBoer is at fault. At the very least, he’s not the main reason for their struggles. Not even close.

Goaltending is.

Simply put, Martin Jones and Aaron Dell are not getting the job done. They haven’t been for a long time.

Last season, for example, they combined to stop just 88.90% of the shots they faced. That was good for *checks notes* last among all NHL teams. So, despite the fact the Sharks ranked 3rd in suppressing chances at 5v5, their goaltenders still couldn’t make a save.

The reason the Sharks stayed afloat is because of their offense. They had a very deep and talented forward core, which helped them outscore their problems.

Knowing they were losing a lot of their scoring depth with Joe Pavelski, Gustav Nyquist and Joonas Donskoi, among others, departing in the off-season, it was obvious the Sharks would no longer be able to do so. 

As such, it would have been smart to go out and get an upgrade in goal. GM Doug Wilson didn’t do that. He ignored the very obvious issues and ran it back with last season’s worst goaltending tandem.

The results, unsurprisingly, are horrific. 

Of the 55 goaltenders to man the crease for at least 400 minutes, Dell and Jones rank 54th and 55th. 

Changing the coach isn’t going to make those two good, and we saw that first hand on Thursday night when Martin Jones conceded five more goals on just 29 shots.

If the Sharks don’t find a goaltender, and fast, they’re going to waste another season of their aging core.

Goaltending controversy brewing in Pittsburgh?

The Penguins entered the season with Matt Murray as the undisputed No. 1 and have used him accordingly. 

Murray’s already logged more than 1,000 minutes in net at 5v5, which is 15th most in the NHL. 

There’s only one problem: he doesn’t deserve those minutes.

Murray owns a .899 save percentage in that game state, slotting him 47th out of 50 eligible goaltenders (500+ minutes). 

Based on shot volume, and location, a goaltender in Murray’s position the expectation is he’d allow 31.04 goals thus far. In reality, he’s given up 45. That’s quite the gap.

While you could understand the Penguins sticking with Murray if he were locked up long-term – gotta get him back on track, right? – or they didn’t have a better alternative, that’s simply not the case.

Murray is due for a new contract at the end of the year and his backup, Tristan Jarry, is not only outplaying Murray, but the entire NHL. Yes, you read that correctly.

Using the same criteria as above, Jarry ranks 1st with a ridiculous .960 save percentage at 5v5. He has a Goals Saved Above Average number of +11.41. That’s the 3rd highest total in the NHL, behind only Connor Hellebuyck and Darcy Kuemper – two guys with at least 500 more minutes played.

If you include all game states, Jarry still ranks 1st in save percentage (.943). 

It’s not like he’s just stopping garbage, either. His save percentage vs high-danger shots is better than that of Hellebuyck, Kuemper, John Gibson, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Carey Price, and many other names you wouldn’t expect him to be above.

It’s about time he gets rewarded with more starts.

Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com

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