The grand finale!
I hope you all enjoyed reading these articles as much as I enjoyed writing them. Feel free to check out the first part (forwards) and second part (defensemen). For a refresher on the GAR metric, please refer to the first part of the series.
The following chart illustrates the GAR values and Annual Average Value (AAV) of goaltenders so far in 2018-2019:
Top-10 GAR Goaltending Leaders (as of 2018/11/07):
I don’t think that anyone is completely surprised to see Vasilevskiy, Dubnyk, Lundqvist and Raanta on this list. However, there is a monumental gap between the first spot and the tenth spot, with Raanta (5.6) responsible for saving half as many goals as expected when compared to Gibson (11.2). This should serve as evidence as to the importance of Gibson for the Ducks. The 8-year, $51 million dollar extension that he signed in the off-season is looking like a solid move for Bob Murray. It could be in vain if the rest of the team does not complement his spectacular play. It should also be noted that Gibson (36.5 shots against per game), Howard (35.1), Lundqvist (34.8), Varlamov (33.5), and Greiss (33.5) rearguard teams that are in the bottom-10 teams in terms of shots against and shot differential.
Of the best values in goaltending contracts, there are generally two broad categories (1) ELCs and RFAs and (2) Value UFAs. In the case of the former, drafted and signed players under the age of 21 are locked into a three-year contract with an AAV of $925,000. It’s hard to find as much ELC and RFA value for goaltenders, given the nature of the position. The two that come to mind are Rittich (CGY) and Saros (NSH), who both provide excellent RFA value from the backup position. Saros is in the first year of his 3-year extension (1.5m AAV) and is the heir apparent to Rinne. With the way Mike Smith has performed this year, and the urgency to make the playoffs, David Rittich (2.23 GAA; 0.927 SV%) should contend for a starting role and be rewarded with a pay bump next year.
Especially with the goaltending position, there is a TON of value to be found from UFAs. The top-5 bargain UFA signings are as follows:
- Jack Campbell (LAK): $187,500/GAR
- Laurent Brossoit (WIN): $203,125/GAR
- Keith Kinkaid (NJD): $245,098/GAR
- Casey DeSmith (PIT): $281,250/GAR
- Alex Stalock (MIN): $325,000/GAR
There are some very interesting names on this list. The current goaltender GAR leader, Jack Campbell, was a first round draft pick (11th overall) by the Dallas Stars. He was relegated to the AHL his entire career at Dallas, with the exception of 1 NHL game in 2013-2014, where he was shelled for 6 goals. He was basically a slightly-above average AHL goaltender for the Texas Stars, with an 91% save percentage and 2.8 GAA. Upon signing with the LA Kings in 2017-2018, he has performed admirably in relief of Johnathan Quick (2.46 GAA and 92% save percentage). Time will tell with Brossoit, who has played for three teams in six years (CGY, EDM and WIN). In limited action in relief of Hellebuyck, he has put up career-high numbers (1.68 GAA and 95.7% save percentage). Again, it is a small sample size, but current appears to be excellent value (625k) for the backup position.
Be sure to check out the best current GAR values of forwards and defensemen as well as follow me on twitter for any other hockey related statistical ramblings. I’ll be posting updates to these GAR value leaderboards throughout the season.