Every hockey game is a battle of skill, strategy, and endurance. Players must showcase their strength on the ice while staying alert for sudden attacks from their opponents. However, when it comes down to winning or losing, one crucial factor often makes all the difference: the goalie’s save percentage.
For those who are new to the sport, save percentage is simply the number of saves made by a goaltender divided by the total number of shots faced. In other words, it measures how successful a goalie is at stopping pucks in comparison to how many get past them into the net.
“In hockey, the goalies can be the difference-makers in close games, so having a good save percentage is essential for team success.” -Unknown
What counts as a “good” save percentage varies based on context. For instance, different leagues (such as collegiate vs. professional) may have different averages that players strive to beat. Additionally, certain teams may emphasize offense over defense or vice versa, which can impact how much pressure falls onto their goaltenders.
If you’re curious about what makes a save percentage truly impressive, keep reading! We’ll explore some general guidelines for interpreting this stat and highlight a few notable NHL goalies whose skills stand out even among the best.
Understanding Save Percentage in Hockey
What is Save Percentage?
In hockey, the save percentage refers to the percentage of shots on goal that a goaltender saves. It is an important metric used to measure the performance of a goaltender.
A high save percentage indicates a strong performance by a goalie while a low save percentage suggests that the goalie may need to work on their technique or positioning.
Why is Save Percentage Important?
The save percentage statistic provides valuable information to coaches and teams when evaluating the effectiveness of a goaltender. This statistic can help identify areas where improvement is needed and assist in making decisions about which players should start or be benched.
Additionally, fans use this statistic as a way to gauge the strength of a team’s defense and goaltending before placing bets on games. In sports betting, a team with a stronger save percentage is often favored over a team with a lower one.
How is Save Percentage Calculated?
The formula for calculating save percentage is simple:
“Goals Against” divided by “Shots Faced.”
If a goaltender faces 25 shots on goal and allows two goals, their save percentage would be calculated as:
- Goals Against: 2
- Shots Faced: 25
- Save Percentage: (25-2)/25 = 0.92 or 92%
A save percentage above 90% is generally considered to be very good. However, the average save percentage varies depending on the league and level of play. For example, the NHL averages around 91%, while lower divisions might see averages closer to 85%.
It’s important to note that while the save percentage is a valuable statistic, it does not tell the whole story about the performance of a goaltender. Other metrics such as goals against average and the quality of shots faced should also be considered when evaluating a player’s ability.
Factors That Affect Save Percentage
Quality of Defense
The quality of defense in a team has a huge impact on the goalie’s save percentage. The better the defensive skills, the less likely it is that shots will get through to the goalie. This decreases the number of shots that the goalie needs to stop and increases their chances of making saves, which ultimately lead to a higher save percentage. Conversely, if the defense isn’t strong, more shots are likely to get through to the goalie and this can result in lower save percentages.
Former NHL goaltender Eddie Lack says, “Defensive structure and awareness allow goalies to see the puck better.” This highlights how important having a solid defense is for a goalie to have success in maintaining a high save percentage.
Opponent’s Shooting Ability
The opponent’s shooting ability is another crucial factor that affects a goalie’s save percentage. If the opposing team has skilled shooters who consistently take accurate shots that are difficult to block, then the goalie’s save percentage is likely to suffer. However, if the opposition doesn’t shoot as well or frequently misses the net, it becomes easier for the goalie to make saves, leading to a higher save percentage.
According to former NHL goalie Martin Biron, “You always want to know your opponents’ shooting tendencies before you play against them. Some players might favor shooting blocker side, while others prefer going glove.” Understanding these preferences can help a goalie prepare and perform better, resulting in a higher save percentage.
Goalie’s Skill Level
A goalie’s skill level is obviously one of the most significant factors that affect their save percentage. The better a goalie’s reflexes, positioning, and overall technique, the more likely they’ll be able to stop pucks. As a result, the goalie’s save percentage will increase along with their skill level. However, if the goalie lacks techniques or possesses poor form, their tendencies to give up more goals than usual can lead to lower save percentages.
Former NHL goaltender Kevin Weekes says that “technique and rebound control are essential elements for maintaining a high save percentage.” He also emphasized proper training, saying “Practice is crucial to sharpening one’s technique. If you don’t train properly, your positioning won’t be what it should be and this can greatly affect a goalie’s ability to make saves.”
A goalie’s playing style can significantly impact their save percentage. Some goalies have more aggressive styles of play, which can result in them challenging shooters higher out of the crease when attempting to make a save. This sometimes leads to an opponent scoring on an empty net after beating the goalie’s move resulting in decreasing their save percentage. Meanwhile, other goalies may adopt a more defensive posture, relying on anticipating adverse situations before being able to make saves routinely.
In the words of former NHL goaltender Brian Boucher, “Knowing who you are as a goalie and understanding how you approach each game is important.” Being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses can help goalies determine which aspects of their playing style needs to be maintained or improved upon while making adjustments to boost their save percentages accordingly.
- Saving pucks is the supreme responsibility of a hockey Goalie. A good save Percentage showcases his prowess between the pipes, command over positional play, reflexes, agility keeping in mind physical exhaustion during matches etc. To achieve/maintain higher grades of Save Percentage, improvement/optimization of these above-discussed factors must always be kept in mind.
The Highest Save Percentage Ever Recorded in NHL History
Martin Brodeur’s Record
When it comes to the best save percentage ever recorded in NHL history, Martin Brodeur holds the current record at 0.691, achieved during the 2002-2003 season while playing for the New Jersey Devils.
Born on May 6, 1972, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Brodeur is considered one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history. With a professional career spanning over two decades, Brodeur holds numerous records and accolades, including three Stanley Cups, four Vezina Trophies, and two Olympic gold medals.
“He’s proven time and again that he’s an incredible goalkeeper,” said former Boston Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque about Brodeur. “He always plays with so much poise and confidence out there.”
Dominik Hasek’s Record
Dominik Hasek, the Czech ice hockey legend who played as a goaltender, held the previous highest save percentage record at 0.937, which he achieved twice during his illustrious career. The first time was during the 1998-99 NHL season, while he was playing for the Buffalo Sabres, and the second time was during the 2001-02 season, while playing for the Detroit Red Wings.
Hasek had a unique style of play, often referred to as ‘the Dominator’, which involved him flailing and diving around the goal crease, making acrobatic saves that were seemingly impossible. He ended up winning six Vezina Trophies, two Hart Memorial Trophies, and two Stanley Cups during his long career in the NHL.
“The way he could change direction and control his body was crazy,” said former NHL forward Joe Sakic about Hasek’s playing style. “When he was on, he seemed unbeatable.”
Tuukka Rask’s Record
The third-highest save percentage ever recorded in NHL history belongs to Tuukka Rask, who achieved a 0.934 save percentage during the 2013-14 season while playing for the Boston Bruins. Born on March 10, 1987, in Savonlinna, Finland, Rask is known for his calm demeanor and efficient goaltending style.
Rask has yet to win a Vezina Trophy or Stanley Cup but has been named to the NHL All-Star team twice. He remains an important part of the Boston Bruins’ roster and will undoubtedly achieve more milestones in the NHL throughout his career.
“Tuukka Rask is just so fundamentally sound,” said former NHL player and current analyst Keith Jones. “He takes away so much net with his size and always tracks the puck well.”
How These Records Were Achieved
To achieve the highest save percentages of all time, players like Brodeur, Hasek, and Rask had to demonstrate unparalleled skill, dedication, and consistency over many years in the league. Goaltenders must have excellent reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and quick lateral movement in order to make saves against some of the best goal scorers in the world.
Additionally, goaltenders need to have strong mental toughness and be able to shake off mistakes quickly as there are no teammates to back them up if they let in a goal. They also need to communicate effectively with their defensemen and be able to read plays effectively to anticipate incoming shots and breakaways.
Certainly, the equipment that goaltenders wear has also evolved significantly over the years, with better padding and lighter materials that allow them to move more easily in front of the net. However, the basic skills required to achieve a good save percentage remain the same – positioning, reflexes, communication, and mental strength.
Achieving a high save percentage is one of the most demanding tasks in all of sports and requires a combination of physical skill, mental toughness, and strategic insight. Records like those set by Martin Brodeur, Dominik Hasek, and Tuukka Rask will be remembered for years to come as a testament to the greatness of these incredible athletes.
How Does Your Favorite Goalie’s Save Percentage Compare?
As a fan of hockey, it’s likely that you are invested in the success and performance of your team’s goalie. One of the key stats used to evaluate a goalie is their save percentage (SV%). But what exactly is considered a good save percentage in hockey, and how does your favorite goalie compare to others in the league? Let’s dive in.
Comparing Save Percentages Across the League
The average save percentage for goalies in the NHL tends to hover around.910-.915. However, this can vary based on factors such as the team’s defense and playing style. It’s important to compare SV% within the context of the specific team and division.
When looking at individual goalies, a save percentage above.920 is generally considered very good, while anything below.900 could be cause for concern. Of course, there are always exceptions to these general guidelines, so it’s important to dig deeper into each goalie’s performance metrics before making any definitive conclusions about their skill or value to the team.
How to Interpret Save Percentage Stats
In its simplest form, save percentage is calculated by dividing the total number of shots against a goaltender by the number of goals allowed. For example, if a goalie faces 20 shots and allows 1 goal, their save percentage would be.950. While this is an easy calculation to understand, it doesn’t necessarily paint the full picture of a goalie’s performance.
If a goalie consistently plays behind a strong defensive team that limits scoring opportunities for the opposing team, their save percentage may be higher than a goalie who regularly faces a high volume of shots. Similarly, facing high-quality shooters will make it more difficult for a goalie to maintain a high save percentage. These factors should be taken into consideration when interpreting a goalie’s SV%.
Factors to Consider When Comparing Save Percentages
In addition to evaluating a goalie’s save percentage within the specific context of their team and division, there are other factors that can impact how we interpret these stats. For example:
- Playing time: A goalie who has only played a few games may have a high save percentage due to small sample size bias. It’s important to look at total minutes played as well as the number of games played to get a better sense of a goalie’s consistent level of performance.
- Special teams play: Goals scored on power plays or penalty kills are considered differently than goals scored during even strength play. In some cases, it may be beneficial for a goalie to allow a goal on the power play in order to stay out of the penalty box themselves. This means that while special teams play is an important part of a game, it shouldn’t necessarily weigh any more heavily on a goaltender’s overall performance evaluation than even-strength play.
- Injury history: A goalie who has suffered from frequent injuries may struggle with consistency in their save percentage. While past performance doesn’t guarantee future results, knowing a player’s injury history can provide insight into how much risk they carry in terms of staying healthy and performing consistently throughout a season.
Using Save Percentage to Evaluate a Goalie’s Performance
While save percentage is an important metric for evaluating a goaltender’s success, it’s not the only factor that should be taken into account. Overreliance on one stat can lead to inaccurate conclusions about a player’s value and potential. Other factors such as a goalie’s GAA (goals against average), shutouts, and overall playing style should also be considered when making a holistic assessment of their performance.
“From his first skate to now, he’s evolved into one of the best goalies in the National Hockey League. He has an elite level mindset, it doesn’t matter what happens, he stays focused.” – Islanders coach Barry Trotz on goalie Semyon Varlamov’s success
While save percentage can provide valuable insight into a goaltender’s performance, it should always be viewed within the broader context of the specific team and division as well as other factors that may impact the accuracy of this metric.
What is a Good Save Percentage for Amateur and Junior Hockey Players?
In hockey, a goalie’s save percentage is an important metric used to evaluate their performance. The save percentage is the amount of shots saved by the goalie divided by the total number of shots they face. A good save percentage indicates that the goalie is making saves on most shots and helping their team remain competitive in a game.
The ideal save percentage for amateur and junior hockey players varies for different levels of play. However, generally, a save percentage of.900 or higher is considered good.
Save Percentage Standards for Different Levels of Play
In NHL, as per statistics classifying goaltenders by career percentage:
- Average: 91% – 92%
- Good: 92% – 93%
- Great: 93% – 94%
- Elite: Above 94%
This scale can be adjusted downward based upon the level of competition one plays at. For example, an elite high schooler might have a slightly lower save percentage than an elite professional player.
For youth leagues (under 12), a good save percentage would range from.850 to.890. At the high school varsity level, goalies should aim for a save percentage between.880 to.910. College-level players should target.910 save percentage. While playing juniors, players generally look for saving.90+ percent of shots faced.
How to Improve Your Save Percentage as an Amateur or Junior Player
To increase your save percentage, it is necessary to focus on some aspects such as reflexes, angles, positioning, communication with teammates, mental preparation, etc.
- Reflexes: Improve your reflexes and reaction time by working on drills that strengthen these essential elements.
- Angles & Positioning: Your positioning and angles when you face the shooter is all important. To stay in optimal position, practice watching the puck with both your eyes, moving laterally from side to side along the goal crease, following players as they move through the zone and adjusting if necessary.
- Be Vocal: Maintain communication with your teammates and inform them of the situation around you so that everyone is aware of what’s happening and where their opponent could be coming next.
- Mental preparation: Be mentally prepared before every game and visualize how you are going to react in certain situations during the play. Also, don’t take any shot lightly no matter how far the player is or slow the puck comes towards you.
Common Mistakes That Can Lower Your Save Percentage
Some common mistakes that often lead to bad save percentages include improper glove and blocker placement, giving up rebounds, playing too deep in the net, poor physical conditioning, losing track of the puck, not communicating effectively with defensemen, etc.
“When a goalie plays behind a team which misses lots of passes, his performances are affected.” – Marc-Andre Bergeron
It’s also crucial for young athletes starting out at the position to practice proper technique early on to prevent bad habits. Coaches should work with them to detect areas for improvement and implement changes in the student’s style of play to develop advanced skills in the long run.
Regardless of the level of competition, your chances of stealing games will increase with a better save percentage. While having a high save percentage might not be the only measure of success for goalies, it is undoubtedly an essential one that teams look to while evaluating their players’ performances.
Tips for Improving Your Save Percentage in Hockey
If you play goalie in hockey, your success depends largely on your save percentage. A high save percentage means that you’re stopping a lot of shots and keeping the puck out of the net. But what is a good save percentage in hockey?
According to NHL stats, a good save percentage for a starting goaltender is around.915-.920. This means that they are stopping nearly 92% of shots taken against them.
To achieve such an impressive save percentage, here are some tips:
Improving Your Positioning
One of the most important aspects of playing goalie in hockey is positioning. If you’re not in the right spot, it’s going to be much harder to make saves. Here are a few tips to help improve your positioning:
- Pay attention to your depth – Being too far back in the crease can give shooters more open net to shoot at. Conversely, being too far out of the crease can leave you vulnerable to dekes and wraparounds.
- Maintain a good angle – Make sure that you’re always facing the shooter and staying square to the puck.
- React quickly to rebounds – When rebounds come off your pads or stick, move into position as quickly as possible.
Developing Your Reaction Time
As a goalie, reacting to the puck quickly is crucial. Even the slightest delay can give the opposing team time to capitalize on a scoring opportunity. Here are some ways you can work on improving your reaction time:
- Use reaction drills – Set up cones or targets around the net and have someone shoot pucks at them. This will help you to react quickly and accurately to shots from different angles.
- Work on tracking the puck – During warm-ups or practice, follow the puck closely with your eyes as it moves around the ice. This will help to train your brain to respond more quickly when a shot is taken.
- Fight against complacency – Even if there are long stretches of play where you’re not seeing many shots, stay alert and focused. You never know when the opposing team might break out for a good scoring chance.
Strengthening Your Mental Game
Playing goalie can be a major mental challenge. It’s important to develop strategies to keep yourself calm and focused, especially during high-pressure moments. Here are some tips:
- Breathe deeply – Taking slow, deep breaths can help to calm your nerves and clear your head.
- Maintain a routine – Come up with a pre-shot routine that works for you and stick to it consistently. This can help you feel more in control of the situation.
- Stay positive – Try to focus on the things that you’re doing well instead of the mistakes you’ve made. Adopt an attitude of resilience and determination.
“As a goaltender, sometimes you’re going to give up goals. The key is to try to minimize the damage, don’t get rattled and continue playing hard.” -Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Achieving a high save percentage in hockey requires a combination of technical skill, physical ability, and mental toughness. By focusing on improving your positioning, reaction time, and mental game, you can give yourself the best possible chance of success as a goalie.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is considered a good save percentage for an NHL goalie?
A good save percentage for an NHL goalie is generally around.915 or higher. This means that the goalie is stopping at least 91.5% of the shots they face. However, what is considered a good save percentage can vary based on the era and style of play in the NHL.
Has the average save percentage for NHL goalies changed over the years?
Yes, the average save percentage for NHL goalies has increased over the years. In the 1980s, the average save percentage was around.880, while in recent years it has been closer to.915. This is due to a combination of factors, including changes in equipment, coaching strategies, and player skill levels.
What factors can affect a goalie’s save percentage?
Several factors can affect a goalie’s save percentage, including the quality of their team’s defense, the number of shots they face, the skill level of the opposing team’s players, and the goalie’s own skill and technique. Injuries, fatigue, and mental preparedness can also have an impact on a goalie’s performance.
Is a higher save percentage always better for a goalie?
Not necessarily. While a higher save percentage is generally seen as a positive, there are instances where a goalie may have a lower save percentage but still be considered a valuable player. For example, a goalie who faces a high volume of shots may have a lower save percentage but still be making a significant impact on their team’s performance.
How does a team’s defensive play impact a goalie’s save percentage?
A team’s defensive play can have a significant impact on a goalie’s save percentage. If a team has a strong defense that is able to limit the number of high-quality shots the opposing team takes, the goalie’s save percentage is likely to be higher. Conversely, if a team has a weak defense that allows a lot of shots, the goalie’s save percentage is likely to be lower.
What is the save percentage of the best NHL goalies in history?
The save percentage of the best NHL goalies in history varies depending on the era in which they played. However, some of the best goalies in NHL history have had save percentages above.920, including Dominik Hasek, Martin Brodeur, and Patrick Roy. These goalies are considered some of the greatest of all time due to their skill and consistency in net.