It’s that time of year…Deep in the Heart of Hockey is back with the End of Season Musical Extravaganza! So turn your volume way, way down, and sing along with Carolyn & Merrin as they dissect the Stars’ second round playoff exit, seranade Tyler Seguin, wax lyrical about goaltending, and express their hockey feelings through song.
In this Super Sized Free Agency Podcast Special (with Bonus Laugh Track), the Ladies get an eyeful of Tyler Seguin, discuss the Stars’ Draft, dissect the “interesting” moves of Free Agency, and our readers ask us serious questions?????
I know I’ve already written a piece on backup goaltenders, and while the analytical results of that are relatively unchanged, the landscape of the league and who might actually be on the trade block has. While it is possible to pick up a backup goalie through free agency – both Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth are UFA – it’s becoming increasingly expensive to do so, and Nill tends to be the kind of GM that counts his pennies.
As I’ve said before, I think it’s unlikely that Lehtonen will be moved this summer, as his stock is very low, and Nill knows he would have to take a hefty hit on any trade with Kari involved, either by getting someone of equal or lesser performance back (think Mike Smith), or eat lots of salary to get someone better (think Craig Anderson). But the Stars are ripe with proven players as well as prospects trying to crack a crowded roster, and that makes trading for a backup a very likely scenario.
There are three main names that keep popping up in trade rumors: Robin Lehner, Eddie Lack, and Cam Talbot.
In lucky ep 13, the Ladies try to trade for Brent Seabrook, talk the Stanley Cup Final, create an app for psychopaths, go over some of the proposed changes for next season, and do all the hockey fancasting our listeners could ever want.
We, and by “we” I mean the Dallas Stars media, the fans, and of course, us here over at the Bearded Ladies, have spent a gross amount of time bemoaning our backup goaltending situation, and not without good cause. There was over a year between starting wins for our back up goalies, which is unheard of. Was. Was unheard of, because the Dallas Stars did it. And now people have heard. Of that. Happening.
But there is another job for the backup goalie, and I feel like this one gets less fanfare: to come in and try to save the game when the starter is hemorrhaging goals.
I pulled the “In Relief” numbers because I wanted to prove that coaches used the goalie swap not only to replace a goalie on a bad night, but more frequently to send a signal to the rest of the team that their defense needed to step up and actually suppress some shots. I first noticed this trend while looking at Shots Against Per 60 Minutes for Enroth versus Lehtonen in one of the last games of the season. It was a day and night difference.
But of course, you can’t test a theory on just four games, so I pulled the last 4 years (2011-12 season until current) of “Goalie In Relief” game data for 8 teams. In the West, we have Dallas, LA, Chicago, and Minnesota, and in the East we have Columbus, Boston, New York (Rangers), and Montreal. This sample was chosen by my twitter followers without knowledge of the goal of the project, and therefore I consider it rather random. I removed all instances I could find of goalies being replaced mid-game due to injury, giving me 146 games worth of data points.
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.