Last week I ranked NHL teams from best to worst based on shootout performance. Today I’ve compiled the shootout data of all current NHL goaltenders and ranked them from best to worst based off their individual performances.
When talking about the shootout people tend to focus on the skaters and how it’s up to them to end the game with the flick of their wrist, but what about goaltenders? Everyone has seen Datsyuk make a fool out of Vokoun with his signature move, but how many people have seen Mike Smith absolute rob him on the exact same move? Goaltenders make unbelievable saves all the time in the shootout and they go largely unnoticed because of how much attention is given to the shooter.
Let’s look at the best current goalies in the league who have faced at least 50 shootout attempts against:
#3 – Henrik Lundqvist
It should come as a surprise to nobody that Henrik Lundqvist is ranked one of the top shootout goalies in the league. Despite his sparkling 0.749 shootout save percentage, however, the Rangers have only won 58% of their shootouts when he’s defending the crease. Lundqvist has held up his side of the bargain but Rangers skaters have often hung him out to dry resulting in a lot of point being left on the table.
#2 – Marc-Andre Fleury
My previous post revealed that the Penguins are the second best shootout team in the league and Fleury has been a huge part of that success. While often criticized for his year-over-year (or regular season-to-playoff) inconsistency Fleury has proven that he’s always up to the task in the shootout. His 0.751 save percentage is second highest among all active goaltenders and as a result the Penguins have won 2 of every 3 shootouts when Fleury is in net.
#1 – Jhonas Enroth
Yes, you’re reading that right. With a 0.757 save percentage Jhonas Enroth is the best active shootout goaltender in the league. Being a backup for most of his career means he hasn’t faced the same amount of action as Fleury or Lundqvist, however, he did meet the 50 shot against requirement and deserves the title.
Not convinced Enroth is the best active shootout goaltender? Last season he saved 23 of 24 shots in the shootout (0.958 SV%), winning all 6 games. Don’t forget, this was with a very weak Sabres team that only won 23 games on the season. Jhonas Enroth might not be the best regulation goalie in the league but he’s doing something right in the shootout and other teams should take notice.
THE BEST OF THE WORST
Niklas Backstrom – With a save percentage of 56.4% it’s essentially a coin toss if Backstrom’s going to stop the next shooter. The Wild have an impressive 35-21 shootout record without Backstrom but a 23-34 record when he’s in net so it’s easy to see where blame lies. Backstrom is easily the worst active goaltender in the shootout.
Cory Schneider – Despite having the highest save percentage and lowest goals against average of all goaltenders (min. 75 GP) over the last 5 years Schneider just isn’t the same type of animal in the shootout. His save percentage of 61% is the 5th lowest of all active goaltenders.
The full rankings for active NHL goalies (min 50 SA) can be found here:
Photo credit to Graham Hughes