## A Look at the NHL - 1/3 Review in Win Threshold

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 6 BOSTON 28 0.661 3.25 2.07 33.2 30.6 0.8938 6 0.9324 0.0386 1 5 DETROIT 28 0.661 3.14 2.21 34.2 27.5 0.8858 3 0.9196 0.0338 2 7 VANCOUVER 29 0.638 3.31 2.41 32.3 28.8 0.8851 2 0.9163 0.0313 3 2 NY RANGERS 27 0.704 3.04 2.11 27.3 30.4 0.9000 8 0.9306 0.0306 4 3 PHILADELPHIA 28 0.696 3.61 2.86 32 28.2 0.8720 1 0.8986 0.0266 5 9 PITTSBURGH 30 0.633 3.03 2.43 34 27.9 0.8914 5 0.9129 0.0215 6 8 ST LOUIS 29 0.638 2.45 2.03 29.8 26.2 0.9065 10 0.9225 0.0160 7 1 MINNESOTA 30 0.717 2.5 2.1 25.8 32.1 0.9221 27 0.9346 0.0125 8 11 SAN JOSE 27 0.593 2.67 2.37 34.2 29 0.9079 12 0.9183 0.0103 9 4 CHICAGO 30 0.667 3.2 2.97 33.3 29.3 0.8908 4 0.8986 0.0078 10 10 FLORIDA 30 0.617 2.7 2.47 30.5 31.4 0.9140 15 0.9213 0.0073 11 19 EDMONTON 30 0.517 2.73 2.57 26.4 30.2 0.9096 14 0.9149 0.0053 12 14 PHOENIX 29 0.569 2.59 2.55 31.3 32 0.9191 24 0.9203 0.0012 13 23 MONTREAL 30 0.517 2.43 2.4 29.7 28.3 0.9141 16 0.9152 0.0011 14 16 BUFFALO 29 0.552 2.66 2.69 29.7 31.2 0.9147 19 0.9138 -0.0010 15 17 NASHVILLE 29 0.552 2.66 2.69 26.4 31.1 0.9145 17 0.9135 -0.0010 16 15 WASHINGTON 28 0.554 3.11 3.14 30.2 30.2 0.8970 7 0.8960 -0.0010 17 22 LOS ANGELES 29 0.517 2.21 2.24 29.7 29.9 0.9261 29 0.9251 -0.0010 18 13 TORONTO 29 0.569 3.03 3.21 28.1 30.9 0.9019 9 0.8961 -0.0058 19 12 DALLAS 28 0.589 2.54 2.75 28.2 32.6 0.9221 26 0.9156 -0.0064 20 20 CALGARY 29 0.517 2.52 2.72 28.4 29.5 0.9146 18 0.9078 -0.0068 21 21 WINNIPEG 29 0.517 2.79 3.14 30.5 30.5 0.9085 13 0.8970 -0.0115 22 24 OTTAWA 30 0.5 2.93 3.43 30.1 31.7 0.9076 11 0.8918 -0.0158 23 18 NEW JERSEY 28 0.518 2.32 2.82 27.4 27.5 0.9156 21 0.8975 -0.0182 24 25 COLORADO 30 0.45 2.47 3.03 32.3 29.1 0.9151 20 0.8959 -0.0192 25 26 TAMPA BAY 29 0.448 2.52 3.24 28.5 30.8 0.9182 23 0.8948 -0.0234 26 29 CAROLINA 31 0.355 2.55 3.42 29.9 31.6 0.9193 25 0.8918 -0.0275 27 28 ANAHEIM 29 0.362 2.28 3.17 25.9 31.7 0.9281 30 0.9000 -0.0281 28 27 NY ISLANDERS 27 0.444 2.3 3.18 29.1 31.1 0.9260 28 0.8977 -0.0283 29 30 COLUMBUS 29 0.345 2.38 3.31 31.9 28.6 0.9168 22 0.8843 -0.0325 30

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.

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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