02/06/2012 New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: Updated Stats, Including Even Strength Save Percentage Estimates For The Entire AHL

It's prospect update time! After the jump we'll look at statistical updates, and how the AHL system goalies are performing utilizing the even-strength save percentage process I developed last month (slightly tweaked) but this time I look at the entirety of the AHL to see where Keith Kinkaid and Jeff Frazee stand against of the rest of their league.

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Last week I provided an update on the estimated even-strength save percentages for the Devils system goalies. My methodology has been:

To try and figure out a general even strength save percentage I looked to the NHL statistics as a guide and looked through the NHL.com stats page that breaks down goaltender shots against by each particular situation. I then found the average proportion of power play shots (PP Shots) against the number of total shots a goaltender has faced. I used the statistics for the top 30 goaltenders in the league to find the proportion/rate of shots faced on the power play. Rates varied here from 14% to 21% for each individual goaltender, with 17% roughly being the average. Applying two sets of power-play shot percentages (17% as the average and 21% as the high point) to the totals of goalies Jeff Frazee, Keith Kinkaid, Maxime Clermont and Scott Wedgewood, would result in the below ADJ ES Shot % or the estimate of even-strength save percentage each goalie 'could' have.

Having the numbers of the Devils goalies was good for me, but not enough. I wanted more context, so I dived into the numbers using a few more items of data and included more goalies in my analysis. This time, I looked at the entire AHL to get a sense of which goalies had the highest even-strength save percentages in order to see how Frazee and Kinkaid stacked up against the rest of the goalies in the league.

The AHL has a detailed stats package available here. It's called their Daily Report and is updated daily by an outside group called LeagueStat.com. They have tons of information, but unfortunately do not have shot breakdowns by game situations. However, they do have detailed power play/penalty kill information that I was able to utilize. (Note that the OHL/ECHL has limited statistical packages available on their website.)

With a break in the schedule due to the AHL All Star Game, I went through the boxscores of a number of AHL games to determine how many non-even-strength goals each goaltender let up. I considered non-even-strength goals as penalty shots, power play goals allowed and short-handed goals allowed.

Once I had this information, I put together a new way of trying to figure out how many shots each AHL goalie faced while at even-strength. Utilizing the NHL information again, I found that roughly (utilizing shots faced from the top 30 NHL goaltenders) 81.4% of shots faced were at a even-strength, with 18.6% of shots being generated during non-even-strength situations (16% on power plays, 2.6% while short-handed).

However, note that on average, NHL teams are short-handed about 3.5 times per game, while AHL teams are short-handed about 4.4 times per game. That means that if an AHL goalie has faced 100 shots, assuming that 81 of them are at even-strength might be an underestimate. Taking into account the extra power play/short-handed time in the AHL, I came to a proportionate figure of 76.7%, meaning if an AHL goalie faced 100 shots, it's likely that 77 of them were at even-strength.

The number of even-strength shots that is faced is likely somewhere in the middle of the 81.4-76.7 estimates I generated. That said, in the table below I provided adjusted save percentages for both an ‘AHL Estimated Even-Strength Save Percentage' based upon 76.7 shots per 100 and an ‘NHL Estimated Even-Strength Save Percentage' based upon 81.4 shots per 100.

The list below is sorted by the AHL Estimated Save Percentage'(AHL-ESSV%) with the NHL Estimated Save Percentage (NHL-ESSV%) to the right of it. The following two columns to the right of that shows the differences in the goalie's actual AHL save percentage vs. the Estimated Save Percentages.

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Beyond those columns mentioned above and the NEGA column which stands for Non-Even-Strength Goals Against, the rest of the columns are standard goalie statistics mined from the AHL website. Shots listed below are actual shots, as because of space constrictions I didn't show the columns with the even-strength shot totals I estimated.

(Note the following when viewing the table above: *=Rookies, X=Goalies no longer in the AHL. I also only reported on goaltenders who played more than 5 AHL games.)

Takeaways:

From a Devils' perspective the positives you take away are that Jeff Frazee had one of the biggest bumps when portioning out even-strength shots (more on that below). Keith Kinkaid is playing well compared to the rookie class in the AHL. Considering that a number of the goalies ahead of him on this list have played 10 less games then he has, I think you can consider Kinkaid along with Kevin Poulin of Bridgeport (Islanders) and Trevor Cann of Lake Erie (Avalanche) some of the more successful rookie goaltenders this year.

The Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild) play a strong defensive 5 on 5 game. The Aeros have three goalies (Darcy Kuemper, Matt Hackett and Dennis Endras) at the top of this list.

The San Jose Sharks lead the league in goalies under contract with about 6-7 goaltenders signed to pro contracts next year. They also have rookie Thomas Greiss playing well in the NHL, so well that Antero Niitymaki was expendable. A name to keep your eye on? Tyler Sexsmith. Right now San Jose has Greiss in the NHL, Antti Niemi signed for three seasons beyond this one and 2008 third round pick Harri Sateri playing well in his first professional season in North America. Sexmith, a third round pick in 2007 has been one of the better goalies in the AHL this year and is an RFA at season's end. With the depth the Sharks have, could he be moved to a team looking for a future NHL goalie? It's quite possible.

One final item I wanted to point out and display were the goalies who had the biggest differences (both positive and negative) to their current save percentages. Biggest risers were separated from the biggest drops by the red bar.

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Goalies like Frazee, Alexander Salak and others showed that their lower save percentages were a result of a power plays/short handed goals allowed, and were playing reasonably well at even-strength. On the other hand Michael Leighton, Ben Scrivens and Yann Danis received little bump.

That's it for this week, please leave any prospect related questions or comments below. Thanks for reading and sound off below!

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