2022–23 NHL goals saved above expected comparisons across the league: Week 5

Among all NHL goaltenders, a few new names stood out this week as the best of the class. With the usual top performers all seeing a slight setback this week, new faces emerged with strong performances to take the goals saved above expected crown. Let’s see all the action from the past seven days here.

Goals saved above expected as of November 15, 2022

If you’ve seen these plots before, please feel free to scroll right down and start checking out the visualisations. Otherwise, here’s a quick explainer on how to read the GSAx charts.

One way to objectively compare goaltenders is to evaluate their goals saved above expected (GSAx). For every shot, there’s an assigned expected goal (xG) value, and as a goaltender makes or doesn’t make saves based on expected values, the difference between their xG against and their actual goals against will start varying compared to other goaltenders.

With the randomness of goaltending seemingly happening not just season over season but at times even week over week, we can plot every goaltender’s GSAx to see how they stack up compared to the rest of the league. Using data visualisation, comparing goaltenders can be done quickly with a lot of context in each chart.

For the first week, GSAx plots were presented from October 7 through October 18—the data being combined into a longer week. From here on out, each set of charts will be weekly from Wednesday’s games through to the following Tuesday’s games. This is to capture the additional slate of games typically played on Tuesdays, for no other reason than to have the most data available in a timely, yet weekly manner.

In addition to weekly GSAx plots, season-to-date charts will also be looked at to see how goalies stack up against one another over the course of a season. This will help highlight which goaltenders are among the best and who should be frontrunners for the Vezina Trophy. All data is from

Weekly goals saved above expected plots

The plots are split into each division, and then teams are ranked in order of the highest total team GSAx to the lowest. Each goaltender will then sit along the x-axis based on their GSAx totals. The colour of each goaltender is determined based on total shots against compared to the whole league (as opposed to per division)—the more shots a goaltender faces, the brighter and yellower their point; the fewer shots, the darker and bluer.

Similarly to the shots against colour being league-wide, the x-axis per plot is also scaled league-wide, based on the two individual goaltenders with the highest and lowest GSAx. This makes visual comparisons between the four plots a bit easier.

Pacific Division goaltenders

For the second week in a row, Martin Jones was the best goalie in the Pacific Division. Although his performance didn’t amount to any wins for the Seattle Kraken, he has been steady in net as of late and can’t really be faulted.

Following Jones was Stuart Skinner. Another strong performance by Skinner was paralleled by a weak outing by Jack Campbell, which is now an established trend for the Edmonton Oilers and less so the effects of a small sample size.

The Calgary Flames also had countering performances with Daniel Vladar having positive GSAx while Jacob Markstrom was negative. However, the Pacific’s worst goalie this week was Thatcher Demko. Not the first time he’s “earned” these honours.

Central Division goaltenders

The Central had a couple of huge performances, and for the first time this season, it wasn’t from one of Connor Hellebuyck nor Jake Oettinger. In fact, both were negative this week in GSAx.

It was instead Juuse Saros who led not just the Central but the NHL in GSAx this week. He was followed closely by the Minnesota Wild’s tandem of Filip Gustavsson and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Jordan Binnington was this week’s busiest goaltender and he managed to end up with a respectable above-zero GSAx.

As good as Saros was for the Nashville Predators, Kevin Lankinen was not. He logged the Central’s worst GSAx this week, with Connor Ingram not far ahead.

Metropolitan Division goaltenders

Another new name stepped in the Metropolitan Division as well. The top spot has been held by Carter Hart for essentially the whole season so far, but this week he was the Metro’s worst goalie.

Leading the group of goaltenders instead was Pyotr Kochetkov. In his two appearances for the Carolina Hurricanes this week, he was stellar, earning a shutout against the Chicago Blackhawks in his most recent start as well.

Semyon Varlamov and Joonas Korpisalo were also among the Metro’s best this week, making it their first appearances near the top of the class.

Atlantic Division goaltenders

Another division, another new leader. The Atlantic also had a new name leading the way. This week, it was Spencer Knight. He was by far the best goalie of the division with no one else particularly close.

On the other end of the spectrum, Ville Huuso majorly stumbled after being one of the best goalies last week. Just one week later, he became the league’s worst in terms of GSAx. Definitely a wild swing for him and the Detroit Red Wings.

Also notable in the Atlantic was Andrei Vasilevskiy picking up a negative GSAx as well as the Tampa Bay Lightning were one of three Atlantic teams to not have any goaltender come up above-zero in GSAx.

Season-to-date goals saved above expected plots

Now turning to season-to-date plots, let’s check out how the season stacks up. The colour palette for the season-to-date charts is also changed to differentiate them from the weeklies.

The plots are rescaled to account for different maximum and minimum GSAx values, but as above, all four divisions are scaled together to make the season-to-date comparisons easier. The scale for the season goes from -15 to 15 GSAx. With every passing week the scale keeps widening in both directions, meaning good goalies are remaining good, and bad goalies remain bad.

Pacific Division goaltenders

Over the season, Skinner’s steadiness has him now leading the Pacific on his own. With Jones’ ascent and Logan Thompson somewhat faltering as of late, Skinner stands out as the sole goalie in the Pacific who’s been consistently good.

At the bottom, Thatcher Demko and Campbell have both struggled to dig themselves out of their holes, while John Gibson has strung together a few good games to no longer be a part of the Pacific’s worst.

As seen throughout the season, the Pacific has struggled with getting good goaltending as most of the goalies have sub-zero GSAx. We’ll see over the season who starts stealing some wins for their teams cause right now they’re not coming as often compared to other divisions.

Central Division goaltenders

Despite Hellebuyck’s off-week, he’s still the best goaltender in the Central by a large margin. The Central has some of the tightest packed goaltending numbers in terms of GSAx. Most goalies are neither great nor awful. For the most part, everyone’s in a respectable range for GSAx.

The Central’s worst goaltending right now stems out of St. Louis, with Binnington and Thomas Greiss, but their GSAx looks average in other divisions. I would attribute this more to goaltending not being a major weakness in the Central more so than it being a strength.

Metropolitan Division goaltenders

The division with the widest spread remains the Metro. Hart’s off-week was counterd by Ilya Sorokin still having a good one, so for now Sorokin is the division’s leader.

On the other end , Elvis Merzlikins continued to have less-endearing numbers and thus his GSAx is one of the worst in the league.

Sandwiched between the three goalies mentioned above, all of the other Metro goalies are closer to on another. Basically, the gap between the Metro’s two best goalies versus the rest is just about the same as the gap betweeen the worst versus the rest too.

Atlantic Division goaltenders

It’s not a lot of separation, but it’s definitely something as the Boston Bruins are on top of the Atlantic Division. Linus Ullmark has been steady so far and he boasts the best overall GSAx in the Atlantic.

There’s a lot of major swings in the division with goaltenders being injured for some teams, and goaltender being wildly inconsistent for others.

However, similar to the Central, this led to some tight packing for most of the goalies. Few names stand out as outliers in the division, but unfortunately for the worse, you can’t help but notice Eric Comrie and Alex Nedeljkovic.

Fantasy outlook on GSAx

Weekly GSAx

Over the past week, the performances from Kochetkov and Gustavsson could be worth turning to for waiver wire pickups. Both play on decent teams so picking up wins is definitely a part of the strategy in adding either of them. Jones is another name to look at as well. He’s being added to many more rosters on Yahoo! but is still available as an option.

GoaliePercent Rostered on Yahoo!Weekly GSAxShots Against
Pyotr Kochetkov21%3.9549
Filip Gustavsson16%3.2169
Martin Jones63%2.3851

Season-to-date GSAx

A couple of new names are possibly worth looking at for longer term adds. Sam Montembeault is starting to heat up and might be seeing more consistent starts for the Montreal Canadiens. Jones could be someone to watch for as well with the Kraken seeing a much better start to their sophomore season than their inaugural. Lastly, if he’s available, Knight is another option who could provide steady value given how he’s being used with the Florida Panthers right now.

GoaliePercent RosteredSeason-to-date GSAxShots Against
Sam Montembeault11%4.89171
Martin Jones63%3.50309

Goaltending galore

It’s always entertaining to see how goaltending goes week over week. From outstanding performances to game-winning saves, there is no lack of action in the NHL’s goaltending world.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks to see who’s next to stack their pads to the top of the GSAx list.

Check out the past GSAx charts here.

Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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