Earlier in the season, there was a lot of debate over which goalie was getting what game in net. It’s faded away a bit, mostly because people are surprised to see James Reimer between the pipes at all nowadays. But I decided to take a couple of minutes to see if such a disparity actually existed, and/or currently exists.
Rather than going into deep statistics, I decided that this could be solved using a simpler concept. At first, I took every game both Bernier and James Reimer started in, figured out their opponent’s position in their conference at the end of the night, and their position to day, and averaged them out. But then I realized; do the Wins and Losses really matter to goaltending? After all, they only control goals against.
What I went with instead was goals for per game, for the opponents. I skipped the “Night Of” for the first two weeks of the season because they weren’t going to be anything close to accurate with samples that small.
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For those curious about what my first attempt at this post said, teams that Bernier faces average a standings placement of 8.02 in the conference on game night, and 8.34 in the present. Reimer’s opponents are 9.08 at the time, and 8.83 today.
But the actual meat of the tables I’ve gone with shows an even tighter gap. Teams that faced Bernier scored about 2.70 goals per game at the time, and 2.72 now. Reimer’s opponents had 2.73 goals per game at the time, and 2.71 now.
The idea, at least for a while, was that James Reimer was being given games where he was destined to fail. The reality of the fact is that we’re talking about a two and a half goal gap over 82 games using night-of rates, and not even a single goal using present rates.
There was an idea floating around for a while that Reimer was being stuck with more back-to-back situations as well, but the reality there is that the gap is only six to four, which is very insigificant.
The last real hope for this argument would be the rate of shots that the two actually faced from these teams. As it turns out, Reimer faces 37.07 shots per 60 minutes while Bernier faces 35.007, but that’s also not a severe enough gap to phone home about.
From a quality perspective, it seems like the goalies have been given an equal opportunity to succeed. The bigger question comes in quantity, which clearly, is still dominated by Bernier.
Photo courtesy of @markhmasters