Things that were NOT said in this picture: "Hi, Ilya. Here's another post about my play last season." (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Back on August 22, I summarized the findings of my summer-long project of looking at all of the goals Martin Brodeur gave up in 2009-10 for the New Jersey Devils. Among other things, it proved that Martin Brodeur was not solely at fault for a majority of the goals against him. In response, I got this interesting comment from Todd the Fox:
This is really great work, John. I don’t know if you wanted to expand on this work at all, but looking at the percentage of soft goals compared to the percentage of team points per month could be interesting. As a goaltender myself (not in a league anywhere near the NHL), I know letting in a softie can demoralise the team a bit. I would be curious to know whether this affects the number of goals scored or points taken for a game/month.
While I can't fully answer that question, I can come closer to answering that question by finding out what the Devils' record was when Martin Brodeur let in a soft goal. Todd agreed that would suffice.
In the regular season, I counted 35 soft goals allowed by Brodeur. The soft goals occurred across 27 games; or approximately 35% of the games Brodeur played in 2009-10. The Devils record in those 27 games was 12-14-1. Without knowing the record for other goalies in the league, I can't tell you that a winning percentage of 44% was good or not in games where soft goals were allowed. I can tell you that it doesn't seem so awful on it's own.
However, in those 15 non-wins, the soft goal allowed turned out to be the eventual game-winning goal 11 times. That's definitely not good. That said, I wouldn't immediately turn around and say that Brodeur was solely at fault for losing those 11 games. January 26 is a good example where I wouldn't argue that. The first goal Brodeur gave up was soft; but it was also the eventual game winner since the Devils were shutout by Ottawa 3-0. A quick look back of my recap of that game gives a better picture of what went on in the game (the Devils stunk in that one).
Adding to that, take a look at the playoffs. Brodeur gave up 3 soft goals out of 15 in two games (Game 1 and 4), and two of them turned out to be game winners. But anyone who saw the Devils' "attack" in the first round would know full well that had a lot more to do with the Devils faltering than the play of the goaltender.
It's still a good way to put the earlier work into context. Incidentally, those 15 non-wins represented 55.56% of all the games Brodeur lost in that 2009-10; and in each of those games, Brodeur gave up more than just one goal. It's not as if one error by Brodeur necessarily cost the Devils the game 15 times last season. Nevertheless, thanks to Todd for his question and I hope you, the reader, found this somewhat interesting. Please leave your thoughts in the comments, and as usual, thanks for reading.