Over the last summer I looked at the Win Threshold of teams, explaining that Win Threshold is the SV% your goalies need to reach for your team to play .550 hockey, or to make the playoffs. Here is a review of Win Threshold. Since this study, I have been posting 1/6 reviews of Win Threshold and the NHL. Here's how the NHL was looking 1/6 of the way through.
Follow the Jump for a look at how the Leafs and the rest of the NHL are doing so far:.
Win Threshold is calculated by taking the total shots against a team has, subtracting their goals for, and then dividing again by shots against. So: [(Shots against)-(Goals For)]/(Shots against)
This number will be a percentage, more specifically, the save percentage your team requires in order to win .550% of games. This is thus a good indication of which teams will make the playoffs and which won't. The unknown factor involved, however, are the goaltenders, which can bring a team with a high win threshold into the playoffs, as long as they exceed it.
1/6 of the way through the season, the top 10 teams for Win Threshold Delta were 1. Washington, 2. Philadelphia, 3. Edmonton, 4. Pittsburgh, 5. Buffalo, 6. NY Rangers, 7. Dallas, 8. Boston, 9. Phoenix, 10. Chicago
The larger the Delta number, the better the team will perform. These numbers are indicators of how each team has performed relative to their win threshold. The Win Threshold rank suggests how the team has been performing. The Delta rank indicates how the team including their goalies have been performing. It does not necessarily mean the goalies have been stellar, but if the goalies were required to save 87.1% of the shots like in Washington's case, but have actually saved 91% of the shots, they will have a delta spread of 3.9%, which is large. On the other hand, a team like Anaheim has been requiring a 93.8S%, but has only managed to stop 91% of the shots, leading them to the 29th best (2nd worst) delta.
It is expected that these teams would continue on their positive delta over the next section of the season, improving their records, as there was a cushion created between the play of the team and of the goalie. However, looking at Win Thresholds of certain teams and comparing them to their team's goaltending, I suggested the following changes in the standings (in contrast to the delta showings):
A decline for: Edmonton (4), Minnesota (8), Florida (14), and a slight decline for Pittsburgh (3), Buffalo (11), NYR (7), Dallas (1), Los Angeles (15)
An improvement for: Columbus (30), Toronto (5), Carolina (24), Winnipeg (28), St. Louis (25), Montreal (26), Vancouver (20)
Based on improvement or regression from each team's goalies. This means that a team like Edmonton may fall out of the top 10, or that Montreal will move up one or two rankings. It could also mean, in the case of Columbus, that their goalies improve, but they remain in 30th.
Here's what we have in the NHL so far:
|Rank||Team||GP||P%||G/G||GA/G||S/G||SA/G||Win Threshold||Win Threshold Rank||Team SV%||Δ||Δ Rank|
So let's examine our findings:
- I thought there would be a decline for Edmonton (was 4, now is 19), Minnesota (was 8, now is 1st!), Florida (was 14, is now 10), and a slight decline for Pittsburgh (was 3, is now 9), Buffalo (was 11, is now 16), NYR (was 7, is now 2), Dallas (was 1, is now 12), Los Angeles (was 15, is now 22). I was wrong about Minnesota and Florida, but right about the rest. When looking at Minnesota and Florida, their teams are playing at high win thresholds (.922 and .914 respectively), so it is expected that they will decline, given that their goalies are unlikely to maintain those numbers. On the contrary, Minnesota's goalies improved from .927 to .934 over the last 1/6 of the season, moving them into 1st. Florida also maintained their .922 (is .921) now, keeping their pace up. This is a slight regression from their .923 at 1/6 of the way, however, so maybe a decline is yet to come.
- I also suggested an improvement for Columbus (was 30, is still 30), Toronto (was 5, is now 13), Carolina (was 24, is now 29), Winnipeg (was 28, is now 21), St. Louis (was 25, is now 8), Montreal (was 26, is now 23), Vancouver (was 20, is now 7). Columbus has improved, though only marginally, and remains in the basement. Winnipeg, St. Louis (thanks to Hitchcock and Brian Elliot), Montreal (poor Carey Price), and Vancouver all improved from their poor starts. Carolina's delta from the first 1/6 was -0.02469, suggesting an inevitable decline. Their Team SV% was, however, 0.8972. Cam Ward is a good goalie, and I believed he would improve. Looks like its not a good year for Carolina. Let me just say that I did predict Carolina to be a basement team this year, however, this is just what the numbers say. I will come back to Toronto.
- I still think Minnesota is bound to fall, though they have built a huge cushion and could very well be first in the league at the half-way point. They have three goalies with .930+.
- The playoff teams in the east, according to the delta ranking, are thus far: 1. Boston Bruins, 2. New York Rangers, 3. Philadelphia Flyers, 4. Pittsburgh Penguins, 5. Florida Panthers, 6. Montreal Canadiens, 7. Buffalo Sabres, 8. Washington Capitals
- Sorting by Win Threshold, the top 6 teams are the Stanley Cup finalists of the last 4 years.
And now for the final point. The leafs are once again suffering from abysmal goaltending. Their team save percentage is 24th in the NHL, above Washington, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Ottawa, Carolina & Columbus. Frankly, I don't think our goaltending situation is any better or worse than any of those teams, however. Ward is a great goalie, but they have little behind him. Washington should be good with Vokoun but that's been a struggle so far. Tampa Bay has a zombie, Colorado has enigma, and Ottawa is LOL and Columbus is riding the young guys just as we are. We should be thankful we're actually ahead of these teams given the experience in our net, but we should be pissed we haven't accommodated for that lack of experience. Florida is currently in a playoff position, and are doing it on the back of a free agent signing that we have to believe we could have had in the ACC. This is not revisionist thought, many of us, including myself, advocated to sign Theodore.
We built up a good cushion at the start of the year, and it looked like that cushion would be maintained when our goaltending began to improve. Unfortunately, our goaltending went from bad to worse, as Gustavsson and Scrivens gave up some stinkers, and Reimer has been sub-subpar upon his return from concussion. I believe the Monster could be a decent backup, and want to believe in Reimer, but until this team starts proving me wrong, I'll be a skeptic.
According to the stats, I predict that by the half way point we'll see a decline in Minnesota & Phoenix's rankings and delta, as well as traditional regression and improvement based on positive or negative delta. I also suggest that in addition to delta, there will be improvements from Anaheim, Carolina, Toronto, Washington, Nashville & Chicago. Chicago will sit first in the league by the half way point, with Philadelphia first in the east.