Alright it’s time for the 4th and final installment of the Stars Season Breakdown (though an argument can really be made that this is the mental kind). We’re taking a look at the goalies who were with us through the good times and the bad. The highs and the lows. So, so many lows.
Since goaltending has very different metrics, we’ll be looking at things a few different ways, so let’s reset on where Dallas landed on the whole.
This chart is all situations, much like all the similar charts that came before it.
Those numbers are bad. (And the crowd shouts: “HOW BAD ARE THEY?”)
They’re so bad, the only team with a lower Sv% this season was Edmonton. Buffalo who twice traded away their starting goaltender to lose games on purpose ended up at a 90.9 Sv%, over a full percent higher. The biggest issue here is while it’s easy to say “well our defense wasn’t great this year” both shots on goal against per 60 (SA60) and scoring chances against per 60 (SCA60) went down.
Here’s another season-over-season compare. These Hextally charts show the main areas where our opponents scored from, and are colored by Relative to League Average. The more Red it is, the higher the shooting % against, more blue means it’s lower.
This is from 13-14
That…is quite the change in the wrong direction (remember, red is a BAD thing, as that’s more goals against than the league average).
Anyway, if we want to start looking at where things went off the rails, we’ll have to start at the top with our main man, the Big Finn himself.
Kari played the same number of games as last year (65) though at one point it looked like he’d be playing into the 70 mark because of our backup situation. This season was beyond “unkind” to him, with slightly more shots against, but huge decreases in his High Danger Save % (Save % from high danger shots, as described here), leading to the worst GAA he’s had since coming to Dallas.
These two maps look different because the one on the left is “absolute” shooting % (aka, the percentage of goals scored from that area of the ice), and the one on the right is shooting % relative to the league average, making it a sliding scale from blue (lower than league average) to red (higher than league average). Think of it like this: if Tyler Seguin took a shot from every hexagon shown, he would score most often in the darker parts of the map on the left, and on the right, he would score more often on Kari in the parts on the map in red than he would against the ‘league average’ goalie.
As you can see from this 5v5 Hextally heat map, Kari’s biggest weakness was right in front of the net. Based on coloration, he was about 2% worse than the league average. Considering this is a “high danger” area, it corresponds to everything we know about his season from the snapshot above.
Again, this is a 5v5 average much like it was for the skaters. I thought it’d be most useful to see Kari plotted against Dallas’s total, and for the most part, it follows right along. Since Kari didn’t play the last few games of these season, his lines stop slightly short of Dallas’s numbers. You can see a clear downward trend, even in his Adjusted Sv% (which weights high danger, medium danger, and low danger shots), though he did have a few really good stretches of games, right before midseason and then again during the push for the playoffs.
While this season may have shaken the fans’ faith in Kari, Nill and Ruff have both been outspoken about their support for Lehtonen as a starter, and with his $5.9m/yr cap hit, it’s very unlikely the Stars would be offloading his contract to bring in new blood at starter. Let’s just hope that this season was the aberration it seems to be, and cross our fingers for next year.
The Stars signed Lindback in the offseason, when he wasn’t particularly missed by Tampa Bay (these numbers do not include the playoffs, where he was swept by Montreal). I isolated just his Dallas numbers so you can see how bad this season really was. Yes, he was facing more shots than he was used to, but that’s no excuse for letting in nearly 4 goals per game. Fortunately, Lindback was traded to Buffalo after only 10 games with the Stars (including ones in relief) – where he would go on to post a 92.4 Sv% and a 2.76 GAA on 36.5 SOG Against per 60. NOT THAT I’M BITTER OR ANYTHING.
This Hextally does have both his Dallas and Buffalo numbers from this season, but again, we can clearly see an issue right in front of the net, and again about 2% worse than league average.
Unfortunately, since Anders only played 10 games for us, this chart looks a little odd, but it does still pull out his 5v5 Sv% and Adjusted Sv%, so you can compare them with Dallas. You can’t see as many highs and lows as you can on Kari’s chart because the scale is so wildly different – Lindback’s lowest point is at 0.6 compared to Kari’s 0.85.
According to his post-trade quotes, Lindback said it was very difficult to get into a rhythm in Dallas because he played so few games. It’s definitely part of the reason you can credit his big turnaround in Buffalo – he became their starter after the trade. Still, it really makes you wonder about the effectiveness of the goalie coaching staff.
Registering the best numbers of all 3 goalies, Enroth only played in 13 games for the Stars, and benefitted mightily from the late season run where Dallas had its, pardon the colloquialism, shit together defensively. In fact, Enroth posted his first shutout as a Star during this time. Still, the 77% High Danger Sv% is concerning, especially when you consider that he posted an 81% in Buffalo this past year. A lot of people wanted him to be considered for the starting job, but even with those late season wins, a 90.6 Sv% is very low for a starter, and his Buffalo numbers aren’t high enough for me to be convinced.
Again, this mixes his Dallas & Buffalo time (and since he was a starter in Buffalo, will be weighted much more heavily that direction), but we’re still seeing the same issues in front of the net as we saw with Kari and Lindback. Lil Jhonas Enroth is 5’10”, so shots from the point being higher than average are not surprising, but he’s supposed to be making up for that with rebound control, only the data doesn’t play out that way. Net front defense could be an issue in Dallas, especially since you see this trend across all three goalies.
This 5v5 chart looks more similar to Kari’s, and is far more consistent than Lindback’s. Unfortunately for Enroth, his first game as a Star was literally the day after Tyler Seguin was injured, and his heaviest bout of play was during that time when the team was floundering. Once it was fairly clear the Stars weren’t making the playoffs, he got the nod over Lehtonen to really show his stuff, accounting for that sharp upward trend.
Enroth is UFA this summer, and while it’s likely the Stars will make an offer, I doubt he’d take it. It’s already been hinted that he wants to play more frequently than he did with the team, and since he was a starter for Buffalo, he’s already had a taste of what that’s like. Still, I wouldn’t be upset if he resigned in Dallas – I liked what I was seeing from him at the end of the season, and as Enroth is only 26, it would be nice to have someone who could challenge 32 year-old Kari for that starter spot in a year or two.
And that’s that! For real this time, though. Every position played this year. Every game. Every shot. All of it, graphed and charted and dissected for our dear readers.
Is there anything you still need to see? Let me know, I’ll happily follow up with anything in a separate article or mailbag.