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2022–23 NHL Goals Outperform Expected Comparison Across Leagues: Week 1

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The NHL season is still early, with most teams playing 3-4 games. When the calendar still shows October, some of the best early stories of each season come from goaltending performances.

We have goalkeepers like Jake Ettinger of the Dallas Stars. He hasn’t skipped a beat since his heroic Round 1 effort in the 2022 playoffs. Or Carter Hart, who played a huge role in keeping the Philadelphia Flyers undefeated in three games. All the way down to Thatcher Demko, Kaapo Kahkonen, Jack Campbell, Marc-Andre Fleury and others who were a factor in why the team lost.

Goal saved above expectations as of 18 October 2022

One way to objectively compare goalkeepers is to rate goals saved more than expected (GSAx). Every shot has an expected goal (xG) value assigned, and if a goaltender makes or does not make a save based on the expected value, the actual goals against xG compared to other goaltenders difference begins to change.

Randomness in goaltending seems to happen week to week, not just season to season, so we plotted GSAx for all goaltenders to see how they stack up compared to the rest of the league. You can check whether the Data visualization allows you to quickly compare goalkeepers with lots of context for each chart.

Here is the first batch of GSAx plots for every goaltender in every division this season. The idea is that this will be a weekly series to see how season performances change and which goalkeepers are performing best each week.

Game cutoff takes place every Tuesday night. This is to capture an additional slate of games typically played on Tuesdays. This is to make the most data available in a timely and weekly manner. Data is from

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the first series of plots from the two games of the 2022 NHL Global Series on October 7th and 8th in the Czech Republic to Tuesday night’s game ending October 18th. let’s

Goal saved above expected plot

The plot is divided into divisions and the teams are ranked in order of highest GSAx total. Each goalie sits along the x-axis based on the sum of GSAx. Each goalie’s color is determined based on total shots compared to the league as a whole (not by division). The less the shot, the darker and bluer it gets.

Just as the shots against color are across leagues, the x-axis for each plot is also scaled across leagues based on the two individual goaltenders with the highest and lowest GSAx. This makes it easier to visually compare the four plots.

Pacific Division goalkeeper

So far, the Pacific Division has been one of the worst in terms of GSAx. Both goalkeepers of the five teams are in negative range.

The Calgary Flames of Jacob Markstrom and Daniel Vladar have performed fairly close to expectations, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but both are on the downside.

The trio of Anaheim Ducks, Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canks, each with John Gibson, Philip Gulbauer and Demco respectively, we believe are all on the lower end of GSAx.

The winless San Jose Sharks have Karkonnen at the bottom of GSAx, but James Reimer is a busy and good player. Unfortunately, it’s not the numbers that put them on the winning line.

The Edmonton Oilers see the story of two goalkeepers with Campbell playing poorly while Stuart Skinner is off to a good start.

Only the Vegas Golden Knights have both goaltenders active, led by Calgary native Logan Thompson.

Central Division Goalkeeper

The central division has seen a more sparse plot so far driven largely by four teams playing one goaltender. Oettinger has the most GSAx, to be exact he leads the league overall with 5.00 and the former Vezina winner is far behind Connor Hellebuyck and Alex Stalock.

Both Juuse Saros and Karel Vejmelka are busy goalkeepers, none more so than the latter. Vejmelka has the most shots with his 123 and is a close margin under his GSAx at breakeven.

Central not only has the best GSAx performance, but also the worst.

The Minnesota Wild currently have two of the worst goalies in the league. Fleury is dead last and already has -6.44 GSAx (and is the only goaltender below -5.00). Philip he Gustafsson is not far behind either.

Metropolitan Division Goalkeeper

The Metropolitan Division has a mix of good and bad. Hart was the busiest goaltender in the division (discrediting the Flyers’ shot suppression), but he was also the best: Ilya Sorokin said he’s not far behind when it comes to GSAx, but his The workload has become much lighter.

Vitek Vanecek has a very low GSAx and is one of the least busy goalkeepers, having only seen 22 shots so far.

The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins have surprisingly similar goaltending, with Igor Shesterkin and Tristan Jarry busier, both over 1.00 GSAx. On the other hand, Jaroslav He Halak and Casey Dessmith are both slightly above his 0.00 GSAx. Parallel lines cannot be brought any closer together.

Atlantic Division Goalkeeper

Some of the strongest goaltending so far comes from the Atlantic, with four teams confirming their tandems, all showing positive GSAx.

The busiest goalkeeper in the division is Anton Forsberg, who is closest to 0.00 GSAx and -0.05 goalkeeper in the entire league.

Toronto has had goaltending problems both in terms of injuries and GSAx, but it won’t last in the division. I’m here.

League-Wide Notes on GSAx

The New York Islanders have the best GSAx in the league, combining the tandem of Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov to achieve 5.21 GSAx, but Wild falls well short of that mark, with the lowest -10.18 GSAx in the league. .

Ottawa has the most anticipated goaltending results, as Forsberg is the Senators’ lone starter. Looking at the tandems, Oilers Campbell and Skinner have the best balance of contrasting performances, nearly breaking even at 0.44 GSAx.

Expectations for goaltending

Again, the season is just getting started, but the goaltending storyline will definitely steal headlines very early on. From home to other fans who don’t believe Fleury’s downfall in Minnesota, there’s no shortage of both early analysis and early jokes.

We’ll see how goaltending plays out throughout the season.

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