The Leafs beat writers are reporting that Jonas Gustavsson will again get the start tonight. This confuses me for several reasons. First is Coach Ron Wilson's own statement that he was going to run a "Win and You're In" policy with his goaltenders, and well Gustavsson lost on Saturday night. Secondly, Reimer has only played once since 2012 began, a 3-2 loss to Ottawa in which he was used as a couch on one goal and interfered with do to a stupid play by his defense on another. Hardly a loss you'd attribute to his "poor play".
Thirdly, as we all know James Reimer's ES Save Percentage has been consistent throughout his career and currently sits at a .931 for this season. However poor PK play (.771) has his overall numbers down to a MSM "friendly" .899 so they can point to him being below Gustavsson in the "stats" department. Earlier in the season I would have labeled this terrible PK save percentage to be a real problem because the Leafs PK was a) all too frequent (3.9 PK's per game average), and b) apocalypticly bad (72% kill rate).
And then 2012 came about and the Maple Leafs became a team full of Lady Byngs. Their PK per game rate has fallen by over 50% to just 1.8 shorthanded situations a game, and has operated to perfection killing off all 16 PKs they've faced. Is this due to a new system? Possibly as this comes after noted heated PK related arguments at Leafs practice between players and coaches. Is it just due to luck and a regression to the mean? Yeah, a fair bit I would say. Frankly I don't care why, I just care that it is the way it currently is.
The Leafs PK woes are, at the moment, a thing of the past. Their games are currently being won or lost playing 5on5 and as a fan who wants the Maple Leafs to win games, I want the best 5on5 goalie in the system to play the majority of the teams. I want James Reimer in net.
Feel free to tell me I'm wrong and a Gustavsson hater in the comments.
All data from here and NHL.com
BowerPower took it 1 step farther in the comments. It was so good, I put it here.
Reimer: .931 ES SVP, .771 PK SVP
Gustavsson: .911 ES SVP, .857 PK SVP
Toronto: ES SA/60: 29.7, PK SA/60: 49.0.
Hypothetically, let’s say the Leafs take just one penalty. They’ll play 58 minutes ES, 2 on the PK. At the SA/60 rates, you would expect Reimer to give up 2.355 goals, and Gustavsson to give up 2.789. This number evens out around 52.5 minutes of even strength play, or 7.5 PIM. The Leafs need to take 4 or more penalties before playing Gustavsson over Reimer based on past PK SVP performance even starts to make sense, and that’s assuming that Reimer’s PK SVP play stays constant (it probably won’t).
If the split looks like 48 ES, 6 PK, 6 PP, you’re still better off playing Reimer (2.76) than Gus (2.82).
Reimer’s the better option.