Most underused goaltender in the NHL?
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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our thoughts on the most underused goaltenders in the NHL.
Aaron Dell and I'm not sure it's close.
Since the beginning of 2016-17, Dell has posted a .929 save percentage and stopped 14.91 goals above average. Among 54 eligible goaltenders (2,000+ minutes at 5v5), Dell ranks 9th and 12th respectively. He has played very well.
During that same time frame, Jones owns a .912 save percentage and has stopped -16.62 goals above average. That ranks him 52nd and 50th. Not great!
Despite Dell clearly being the better option, Jones continues to get the vast majority of the starts. Not only are the latter's numbers poor, but he legitimately looks bad on many nights.
At the very least, the Sharks should be splitting starts. The sooner they come to that realization the better off they'll be.
I think the most underused goalie in the NHL is David Rittich. He's only been in 15 games, but he's 8-3 with a 922%. It's not like Mike Smith has been garbage, and obviously the Flames are doing well, but Smith is about 100 and Rittich has shown that he can be a starter. I think you have to go with the younger, more talented guy. Smith was always a huge question mark on an otherwise contender level team, so why not go with the kid who has outplayed him?
Underused is interesting for goalies because if they are underused is it because the guy ahead of them is too good or is it because the coach does not trust them? The reasons don't matter too much but what about Lehner on the Islanders?
He's played enough games to not be underused by that criteria but is he going to play enough given his performance? Goaltending is voodoo and it's hard to say what any team let alone the Islanders would get if Lehner was playing more but given what he's shown so far this season with Trotz s his coach has he increased his value given he's a UFA and affordable?
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