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How much has the Leafs' goaltending improved?

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And how much will it improve the team overall?

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Let's be honest: predicting how goalies will do is tricky business. A better title for this article would probably be something like 'Using our limited powers of foresight, what is a probable best-guess goals allowed figure?' but that's a little unwieldy.

First, let's look at how good each of the Leafs' outgoing and incoming goalies were from different points on the ice. Below, we have a table showing the career save percentages in high, medium, and low-danger scoring areas for each goalie in all situations.

Player GP TOI CA Sv% LDSv% MDSv% HDSv%
FREDERIK.ANDERSEN 125 6983.8 6399 91.8 97.6 93.91 79.93
JAMES.REIMER 215 11678.19 11908 91.43 97.47 91.01 80.37
JHONAS.ENROTH 147 8131.22 7975 91.06 97.24 91.55 79.45
JONATHAN.BERNIER 214 11893.94 11573 91.45 97.3 91.06 81.41

Next, let's take a look at the number of LD/MD/HD shots the Leafs allowed last season to be used as a proxy for what we might expect for the team next season:

LD 1200
MD 917
HD 581

Now, let's say that hypothetically Reimer and Bernier were to have split duties for the Leafs next season without any injuries forcing either goalie to miss games, with each goalie getting into 41 contests. Playing at their career averages, each goalie would allow the following number of goals:

Reimer:

Shots Against Projected Saves Projected Goals Against
LD 600 584.82 15.18
MD 458.5 417.28085 41.21915
HD 290.5 233.47485 57.02515
TOT
113.4243

Bernier:

Shots Against Projected Saves Projected Goals Against
LD 600 583.8 16.2
MD 458 417.0548 40.9452
HD 290.5 236.49605 54.00395
TOT 111.14915

So adding those figures together (and doing the appropriate rounding) gives us 225 goals against. Looking at Chemmy's handy pythagorean expectation chart, we can see that this would theoretically put the Leafs in another potential lottery situation if their scoring doesn't improve significantly from the 198 goals they scored last year, but that's another story.

For Frederik Andersen and Jhonas Enroth, how many goals we can expect them to allow depends on how many games Andersen is capable of playing. I ran the numbers once with him playing 55 games and Enroth 27:

Andersen:

Shots Against Projected Saves Projected Goals Against
LD 804.8780488 785.5609756 19.31707317
MD 615.0609756 577.6037622 37.45721341
HD 389.695122 311.483311 78.21181098
TOT 134.9860976

Enroth:

Shots Against Projected Saves Projected Goals Against
LD 395.1219512 384.2165854 10.90536585
MD 301.9390244 276.4251768 25.51384756
HD 191.304878 151.9917256 39.31315244
TOT 75.73236585

So this time around, the rounded figure clocks in at 211 goals against, a significant upgrade. This upgrade alone could potentially bring the Leafs from being a lottery team to simply being a 'no playoff' team.

Last season, the Leafs allowed 246 goals, so this would represent a massive upgrade, and if the Leafs can actually do this remains to be seen, but these numbers are encouraging.

Tangentially, if you're like me, you'll expect the Leafs to score more as well. A full season of JvR, Kadri bouncing back in terms of his shooting percentage, and additions like Nylander, Marner, and yes, Matthews, should add a significant number of goals. But anyway, back to the goaltending.

A few caveats and notes

- I am making these projections based on some pretty broad strokes. Although I have included special teams' save percentages in these calculations, it's worth noting that those are notoriously unrepeatable for better or worse. Having said that, it can be difficult to make broader projections about the effect these goalies might have on a team without taking their track record on special teams into consideration.

- Injuries are always a wild card, and could totally annihilate all predictive power of this quick little number crunch. If either Andersen or Enroth is injured for any stretch next season, that would likely mean the return of...

- Garret Sparks. He really struggled last season but it's hard to say what kind of performance he could potentially offer the Leafs in 2016-17. If he does play a number of games, it is likely that the estimated figure of 211 goals against will go up considerably.