The Case Against Starting MacIntyre Tonight


As you all know, I’m a huge fan of Drew MacIntyre. Not just a fan, but somebody who truly believes that he’s more than just an AHL starter, and capable of playing in the NHL. The Leafs play a back-to-back this week, facing Detroit today and Tampa Bay tomorrow, so it’s not without logic for one to assume that James Reimer will get one game, and MacIntyre will make his debut in the other.

Stealing shamelessly from Steve’s pregame post, Nick Kypreos suggested that because the Bolts are likely to be the harder team, and because MacIntyre is familiar with a lot of the call ups playing on the Red Wings today, he should be the one going in net.

It’s a sound theory, except for one problem.

Familiarity isn’t an edge in hockey, because the advantage you have from facing them is counter-acted by the fact that they’re now familiar with you as well. You’re not a James Bond, a private investigator, or even a creepy stalker; this is familiarity created by mutual experience. So for your familiarity to have value, you need success in those situations. Looking at his matchups against the seven Griffins in the Wings lineup over the past year (a six game playoff series, and three regular season agmes) this isn’t the case at all.

The first nine columns represent shots on net, by game. The others are self explanatory.

P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 RS1 RS2 RS3 GP G A PTS S SH%
Nyquist             4     1 0 1 1 4 0
Sheahan 2 1 6 1 1 2 3 2   8 1 2 3 18 5.6
Tatar 5 7 1 4 5 2       6 5 2 7 24 20.8
Glendening 2 0 2 4 5 6 1 2   8 5 4 9 22 22.7
Emmerton               0 3 2 0 0 0 3 0
Pulkkinen 2 4 0 0 3 1 3 3 1 9 1 1 2 17 5.9
Lashoff   1 2 1 0 0       5 0 0 0 4 0
Total 11 13 11 10 14 11 11 7 4 39 12 10 22 92

Overall, MacIntyre has a 0.870 SV% against these players. Tomas Tatar is expected to be in the top six tonight, and Luke Glendening should get minutes on a scoring third line. Both of these guys are shooting at over 20% on MacIntyre with over 20 shots taken. Glendening’s last performance saw him score two in two shots, despite Drew playing well otherwise.

The experience tonight is a negative one. It’s more valuable for Reimer to get a vote of confidence in the form of a “redemption” game than it is to give MacIntyre his first NHL start because he has experience against these guys, in the form of playing significantly below his usual level.

Photo Courtesy of Christian Bonin / 

  • SkinnyFish

    Red Wing player is streaking down the wing with the puck. MacIntyre thinks to himself “Is that Franzen or Nyquist? I’ve never stopped a Franzen shot before, so I hope it is Nyquist. Oh no wait it’s Tatar! Excellent my previous experiences with him have made me wise to his ways. All I have to do now is show him high glove is open and then snatch his shot! Coach Randy will keep me up in the NHL for sure once he’s sees how good I am!”

    *Meanwhile, as MacIntyre was contemplating who it was that was shooting on him (because they all wear the same jersey and the numbers are on the back, not the front, and even if he could see their numbers the AHLers are wearing different numbers in Detroit than they were in Grand Rapids), the Red Wings player scored because MacIntyre was too distracted.