Johan Hedberg didn't play a lot in 2012 but when he did, he was quite good - except for the handful of games where he wasn't. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
For better or worse, Johan Hedberg was undeniably the backup goaltender for the New Jersey Devils. After getting six appearances in December, it wasn't until March that the Moose got in as many games in 2012. He was really relegated to the #2 spot just like last season. He would appear in no more than three games in any month in 2012 before the summer. He would only appear in one playoff game and even that was in relief. Hedberg was used sparingly as a goaltender after December 2011.
As a result, I decided to combine all of the goals he allowed in January, February, March, and April for review. It also helped that Hedberg only gave up 17 goals in those 10 combined appearances. Actually, make it 17 in 8 games because the Moose earned two shutouts in March. We at In Lou We Trust named Hedberg the goaltender of the season due to his superior numbers and superior play as a backup. He was still a bit shaky in January and February, but the Moose was absolutely brilliant in his few appearances in March.
|January 2012 - Johan Hedberg||3||172||2||1||0||7||2.44||56
|February 2012 - Johan Hedberg||2||125||1||0||1||7
|March 2012 - Johan Hedberg||3||180||3||0||0||1
|April 2012 - Johan Hedberg||2||96||1||1||0||2||1.25
Note: I did combine Hedberg's one playoff appearance with his one regular season appearance. For the purposes of this review, I'm not separating goals allowed (GA) between regular season and playoff games. Goals allowed are still goals allowed regardless.
Given the small amount of minutes that Hedberg actually was in net, a goal allowed is going to stick out more than usual. I would personally take it with a grain of salt if that one goal allowed in all of March was a soft one. But it's worth looking into more detail all the same. Especially in January and February. I know one of those appearances was that nightmare in Calgary, but were they bad goals to give up? How about the other goals in those games and others? Where did they come from? What happened then? Please continue on after the jump to see the 17 goals Hedberg gave up in the 2012 part of his 2011-12 campaign.
About the Review
The main thing I'm looking for in this review are "soft goals," those goals against that should have been stopped by the goaltender. Here's how I am defining a soft goal: The goalie must have seen the shot coming; the shot was not deflected or change otherwise in motion; the goalie was in position to actually make the stop; and/or the goaltender made an uncharacteristic mistake that led to the goal. If the goal allowed qualifies, then I deemed the goal as "soft." In fact, the very last bit alone can make the difference in what is and is not a soft goal (e.g. first goal against by Hedberg).
In addition, I have denoted skater errors by player and scoring chances by "SC" in the goal description. I assigned a skater error if the player did something significantly wrong that led to the goal such as a turnover or not covering their man. As for scoring chances, that's dependent on where the shot was fired. Anything between the two faceoff dots towards the top of the crease would count. Anything outside of that has not. I've erred against counting a chance if it's borderline, for what it's worth.
Lastly, I have provided links to the video I looked at for each goal from NHL.com. These links will auto-play the video, so be forewarned when you click on them.
The 17 Goals Allowed by Johan Hedberg in 2012: A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft?||Video Link||Skater Error|
|1/6||44||Over the blocker||Goc drops it for Samuelsson in the zone. He drives into the right circle and fires a wrister past Hedberg.||Yes||Link|
|1/6||45||Past the left pad||Blown hits lead to a 4-on-2 rush. Repik passes it to Barch in the high slot. Barch's wrist shot gets past sloppy Hedberg||Yes||Link||Janssen
|1/10||46||Low, past the right pad||Jokinen gets sprung into the zone on a 2-on-1. He makes pass back to Glencross, who one-touches it low past a stretched Hedberg. SC.||No||Link|
|1/10||47||Over the right shoulder||Brodie skates with it to the top of the right circle and unloads a wrist shot that picked the corner PPGA.||Yes||Link|
|1/10||48||Low, through the legs||Stempniak gets it in the high slot, fires a low wrist shot that takes a weird bounce and gets through Hedberg's five-hole.||No||Link||Sykora|
|1/10||49||Low, through the legs||Iginla gets into the slot, gets blocked on first shot, takes another chance, and on the third, he gets it through the five-hole. SC.||Yes||Link||Clarkson|
|1/11||50||Over the right pad||Hemsky gets the puck at the top of the left circle. The shot gets through traffic and Hedberg. PPGA||No||Link|
|2/4||51||Over the right pad||Hedberg stops Rinaldo from distance, Simmonds gets to the rebound. Hedberg's pad denies him, but Simmonds whacks at it in mid-air to score. SC.||No||Link||Greene|
|2/4||52||Past the glove||Carle attempts a long shot that gets blocked away. It bounces right to an open Jagr, who slams the puck past a sliding Hedberg. SC.||No||Link|
|2/4||53||Past the blocker||Jagr turns and sees Giroux entering the high slot. He makes a pass, Giroux one-times it with authority, and it's in the back of the net. PPGA.||No||Link|
|2/4||54||Over the goalie||Hedberg stops Carle's one-timer. The rebound gets to Voracek to the right of the crease. He roofs it.||No||Link||Taormina|
|2/9||55||Low, through the legs||Loose puck in the slot, Stewart gets to it and backhands it through Hedberg's five-hole. SC.||Yes||Link||Foster
|2/9||56||Off the blocker||Perron fires a shot aiming far post, Hedberg gets a piece of it with his blocker - but it trickles in.||Yes||Link|
|2/9||57||Past the glove side||Roman Polak fires a long, high shot from the right point. Berglund legally deflects it down right in front of Hedberg for a score.||No||Link|
|3/10||58||Past the blocker||Parenteau sees Tavares all alone by the slot. Pass, one-timer, score. SC.||No||Link||Sykora|
|4/3||59||Low, through the legs||Streit's shot from distance is blocked by Greene. Rebound goes to Moulson, who moves right and gets a backhander through Hedberg's five-hole. SC.||No||Link|
|4/17||60||Past the blocker||Campbell gets the puck, skates to the left dot, and fires a wrist shot to the far post to beat Hedberg. PPGA.||Yes||Link|
Location of Goals Allowed
All locations are relative to Hedberg himself, not necessarily where the puck goes into the net. It's pretty simplistic, but it'll do for general information.
Out of the 17 goals, I counted 7 as soft goals allowed. Approximately 41.2% of all goals allowed in effectively an 8 game set being soft is not even a decent percentage. However, it must be emphasized that I'm combining a bunch of different performances at a time where he didn't play regularly. I wouldn't take it to mean that Hedberg was awful in 2012; just that he had some errors.
Four of the seven soft goals came in his first two appearances in 2012. The two goals allowed against Florida weren't good ones. GA #44 was stoppable, and while the play that led to GA #45 was created by Fourth Line of Failure, Moose didn't look good at all on Krys Barch's shot. Yes, Krys Barch scored that - and he wasn't even close enough for the shot to even be a chance. The next appearance for Moose was that awful night in Calgary. Hedberg replaced Brodeur after he allowed two goals on five shots. Hedberg proceeded to give up four goals on nine shots. It was a bad night for New Jersey and GAs #47 and #49 were just hideous goals to allow. GA #48 looked soft at first glance but upon repeated viewings it appeared the puck took a weird bounce off the defender, so I gave Hedberg the benefit of the doubt on the basis that the bounce fooled Hedberg. Still, it was an auspicious start to the new year.
Hedberg got better, of course. He wouldn't have yielded a soft goal until February against St. Louis, which also wasn't one of his better nights in terms of the goals allowed. GA #55 came off a loose puck in the slot, but Hedberg saw the whole thing and the shot itself was several feet away from the crease. If it was literally right in front of Hedberg, then it wouldn't be that bad to allow as it would have been a point-blank shot. But he saw it, he knew it was coming, and he got caught with his five-hole open. GA #56 was a shot that could have been stopped but Hedberg didn't get enough of it. Funny enough, the game winning goal, GA #57, came off a deflection that Hedberg had no chance on. Such is sport.
In between those two games and in the few after that one, Hedberg was just fine. After Calgary, Hedberg only got beat once in Edmonton. As you can see in GA #50, Hedberg didn't and so he had zero chance at that one. February 4 was an infamous game as the Devils ran up six goals on Philly and then took the third period off. It may have been understandable but the Flyers clawed four goals back. Hedberg wasn't really at fault on any of them and I'm glad now as I was then that the damage was limited to only four. After St. Louis, Hedberg gave up three goals in five games. None were soft except for the last one. In his one playoff appearance against Florida, Hedberg stepped in for Brodeur after he allowed three goals. Yet, Hedberg would be beaten for GA #60. I'm not sure why Hedberg decided to make himself narrower as he saw the shot come, but he did. That was stoppable and it unfortunately turned out to be the game winning goal since the rest of the team didn't really fight back after Florida's comeback.
Nevertheless, it's hard for me to say that this meant that Hedberg stunk in 2012. He didn't. He had two shutouts and only got beat on one-timer by a wide-open John Tavares in March. Hedberg's soft goals were limited to four games and he only started in two of them, meaning the games weren't going so well when he stepped in. Even with the high percentage of soft goals, the majority of them weren't bad goals allowed. I combined all four months because of the very small set of games month-by-month. Considering that, it's hard for me to conclude he wasn't as good as some of his numbers indicated. I would just say he had a bunch of errors in some games while being very good (or victimized in the case of the February 4th game) in the others.
Incidentally, most of the goals allowed didn't come from scoring chances. I counted only seven from shots in between the dots towards the crease. A couple of the ones that weren't chances were just outside of the area: GAs #45, 48, 53, and 60 were just a bit above the dots. GA #54 was next to the crease so one could argue that should count. Still, it's interesting that more than half of the goals allowed weren't all that close.
Lastly, blocker side proved to stand out the most in terms of where the puck got past Hedberg. Five went past the blocker itself. A couple went to his right either high (1, GA #47 - a soft goal) or low (2, GAs #46, 57 - both soft). I openly wonder whether that side is going to stick out when I total up all of the other months in next week's summary.
Now that you've seen some or all of the goals against and you got my opinion on them, I want to know what you think. Do you agree with my count of seven soft goals? If not, then which ones did you disagree with and why? Did I miss any others? What did you think of the other goals allowed? Do you feel some sympathy for what happened to him on February 4? Would you agree that it's hard to be too critical about the soft goals since Hedberg didn't play so much in 2012? Overall, what did you think of Hedberg's play in 2012? Please leave your answers and all other thoughts about Hedberg's play from January through April in 2012 in the comments. Thank you for reading.