10 Years of Shootouts Reviewed: The Best and Worst Active Goaltenders in The Shootout

Montreal Canadiens' Alex Galchenyuk takes a shot on Buffalo Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth during second period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Saturday, November 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

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:

PLAYER GP W L W% SA GA SAVES SV%
Jhonas Enroth 16 11 5 68.8% 70 17 53 0.757
Marc-Andre Fleury 72 48 24 66.7% 237 59 178 0.751
Henrik Lundqvist 86 50 36 58.1% 327 82 245 0.749
Antti Niemi 60 35 25 58.3% 214 55 159 0.743
Semyon Varlamov 38 24 14 63.2% 127 33 94 0.740
Sergei Bobrovsky 30 18 12 60.0% 102 28 74 0.725
Kari Lehtonen 64 38 26 59.4% 228 63 165 0.724
Corey Crawford 46 26 20 56.5% 158 44 114 0.722
Ryan Miller 82 52 30 63.4% 284 81 203 0.715
Carey Price 51 25 26 49.0% 178 51 127 0.713
Tuukka Rask 41 18 23 43.9% 160 46 114 0.713
Pekka Rinne 54 27 27 50.0% 200 58 142 0.710
Ben Scrivens 12 4 8 33.3% 58 17 41 0.707
Ben Bishop 27 14 13 51.9% 105 31 74 0.705
Viktor Fasth 14 9 5 64.3% 54 16 38 0.704
Braden Holtby 20 13 7 65.0% 87 26 61 0.701
Jaroslav Halak 47 24 23 51.1% 159 49 110 0.692
Jonathan Quick 67 38 29 56.7% 233 72 161 0.691
Dan Ellis 20 10 10 50.0% 68 21 47 0.691
Roberto Luongo 90 41 49 45.6% 340 108 232 0.682
Jonas Hiller 45 21 24 46.7% 194 62 132 0.680
Jonas Gustavsson 17 8 9 47.1% 53 17 36 0.679
James Reimer 19 9 10 47.4% 62 20 42 0.677
Jimmy Howard 50 21 29 42.0% 175 57 118 0.674
Brian Elliott 39 21 18 53.8% 134 45 89 0.664
Craig Anderson 41 21 20 51.2% 149 50 99 0.664
Karri Ramo 14 6 8 42.9% 53 19 34 0.642
Steve Mason 48 17 31 35.4% 169 61 108 0.639
Devan Dubnyk 29 13 16 44.8% 104 38 66 0.635
Mike Smith 54 24 30 44.4% 175 64 111 0.634
Cam Ward 43 13 30 30.2% 131 48 83 0.634
Ondrej Pavelec 43 19 24 44.2% 150 55 95 0.633
Robin Lehner 16 7 9 43.8% 54 20 34 0.630
Michal Neuvirth 21 10 11 47.6% 69 26 43 0.623
Scott Clemmensen 27 11 16 40.7% 99 38 61 0.616
Cory Schneider 26 9 17 34.6% 82 32 50 0.610
Ray Emery 26 7 19 26.9% 88 36 52 0.591
Jonathan Bernier 21 9 12 42.9% 67 28 39 0.582
Jason LaBarbera 24 13 11 54.2% 82 35 47 0.573
Niklas Backstrom 57 23 34 40.4% 188 82 106 0.564

Photo credit to Graham Hughes

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