Long time reader first time caller mf37 is sort of like my muse. If I had to credit him every time he gave me an idea for a post or shoved me in the right direction you'd all probably tell me to save the time and just have him write here. We'll ignore that I dipped my toes into Leaf blogging because of his blog, Ninja's blog, the BoO and PPP's original home at Blogspot and get down to brass tacks.
One day after the trade deadline and as a collective group we're angry. We're frustrated and at wit's end and I think a lot of people are wondering how we ended up here. This season started off with a ton of hope and after a thrilling preseason this team fell off a cliff.
I decided to run some numbers to see where the Leafs would be in the standings if they had a better save percentage as a team. This doesn't place all of the blame on the goaltenders; clearly our defense and forwards hang them out to dry plenty. Clearly the object is to not get scored on as much as we do, but just how much would a better team save percentage change the 09-10 Leafs' fortune?
Exhibit A: Our four goaltender's raw numbers for all to see:
Oof. 0.890 is a horrible number. It would have been fine in the mid 80s but it's abyssmal now. Average NHL starting goaltending is in the .915 range now. We're looking to see how the Leafs would fare with a better team save percentage so we're going to use something called the pythagorean expectation which was popularized in baseball but can be summed up if you don't care about math as: the more a team scores relative to how many points it gives up the better it does. This is obvious.
Quick note: Jonas Gustavsson has allowed 3 more goals on 186 more shots than Toskala. That's how bad Toskala is.
I'm not mc79 or Gabe Desjardins, I'm not presenting the most fundamentally rigorous statistical analysis in the world here, but the first thing I did was using goals for and goals against calculate the pythagorean percentage for all 30 teams in the NHL. Then I compared their pythagorean percentage to their points percentage (Pts / (2 * Games played)) to determine if a correction factor was needed. I averaged a comparision of every team's PYTH% vs. their PTS% and got an average of 1.12 with a standard deviation of 0.05. That's a tight enough spread for me.
Here's a huge table of teams' records, goals for, goals against, etc.:
|GP||PTS||GF||GA||Pyth||Pts %||Correction Factor|
So to get a team's expected points percentage we use this handy dandy formula:
PTS% = 1.12 * (Goals For)^2 / ( (Goals For)^2 + (Goals Against)^2)
Now we can play with that to see what would happen. If we raise the team's save percentage we lower the number of goals against and our PTS% formula will tell us what percentage of points we'll get.
|SV%||GF||GA||Pyth||Pts Pct||82 Gm|
We currently get terrible .890 goaltending. If we got .915 goaltending for 60 games from our starter and .905 goaltending for 22 games from our backup we'd be in the .913 range at the end of the year. That probably would have won us the eighth spot in a weak East.
I don't know how to fix our goal against trouble, it's continued despite a defensive overhaul, three goalies and two coaches but I do know that the Leafs should worry more about keeping the puck out of their net than anything else. As a parting note; if the Leafs finished with Vesa Toskala's 0.874 save percentage they'd be on pace for 60 points. Ouch.