2022–23 NHL goals saved above expected comparisons across the league: Week 11

With the NHL’s Christmas break seeing the league pause for a few days of festivities, most teams ended up starting just one goalie this week. The reduced number of games means that swings in goals saved above expected aren’t as high as other weeks, but there’s still some standout performances in a tight field. Let’s check out how things panned out!

Goals saved above expected as of December 27, 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.

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

The range of this week’s charts go from -5.0 GSAx to 5.0 GSAx—again, this is not unexpected given the Christmas break. For a goaltender to be above or below, some truly good or truly bad performances would have been required. That said, some goalies did make three appearances so it’s not impossible; however, it wasn’t the case.

This week, the top two teams in the Pacific played just one goalie. Lukas Dostal continues to play above average after making his season debut mid-December. Stuart Skinner was just a bit behind, having himself a stellar week too. His big performance came in the final edition of this season’s Battle of Alberta, where he kept the Calgary Flames at bay.

The three middle teams played their tandems with varying degrees of success, while the bottom of the division mirrors the top where single goalies made appearances. James Reimer was not just low in the division but rather had the lowest GSAx of the week in the NHL.

There was a bit of symmetry in the Pacific were just over half the goalies had positive GSAx. This is a rare sight for a division that has largely struggled so far in 2022–23.

Central Division goaltenders

Juuse Saros had himself a week as he led the NHL with the most GSAx with 4.01 while facing the most shots. The Nashville Predators won just one of three games, but it was hardly due to poor goaltending. No other goalie in the Central had a particularly close week.

Aside from Saros, the Central Division actually had a pretty tightly bound week. No other goalie was particularly good nor bad.

One goalie to note is Alexandar Georgiev, who’s steadily added to his GSAx behind a depleted Colorado Avalanche roster. Also of note, Connor Hellebuyck ended up right around breakeven on GSAx, which for him is below-average.

Metropolitan Division goaltenders

A goalie that’s found himself high up in GSAx every now and then is Darcy Kuemper. With the Washington Capitals red-hot, Kuemper has been contributing in net and this week saw him well above-average.

In fact, both Capitals goaltenders did better than every other Metropolitan Division goalie, taking the one and two spots in the division as Charlie Lindgren amassed 2.19 GSAx himself behind Kuemper’s 3.77. Lindgren put up this mark while facing just 26 shots, and he had a big win where he let in just one goal.

The Columbus Blue Jackets seem to always have a bad goalie performance every week. This time, it was Daniil Tarasov, who posted the worst GSAx in the division.

Atlantic Division goaltenders

This must be one of the most aesthetically pleasing GSAx plots to-date. With the except of the Boston Bruins—who used two goalies— every other team played just one goalie. They all lineup to make a great looking curve with Linus Ullmark playing spoiler to a near-perfect curve.

Aesthetics aside, the division was led by Cam Talbot. Similar to Saros, Talbot was the both the busiest and the best. All other goalies trailed along the curve down to Ilya Samsonov at the bottom of the division over the holidays.

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 remains from -20.0 to 25.0 GSAx, with a few goalies at the top while many more are straddling the bottom.

Pacific Division goaltenders

Thanks to Stuart Skinner’s week, his GSAx on the season is comical compared to the rest of the division. The division has been crowded for much of the season with the bulk of the goalies being below zero GSAx.

While some goalies such as Martin Jones and Logan Thompson have been up among the top in some weeks, Skinner has consistently been the only goalie to be atop the division for pretty much the entire division.

Thompson and Jones were highly positive at one point but they’ve since dropped off, leaving Skinner as the lone star goalie of the Pacific. Unfortunately for the Edmonton Oilers, their on-paper starting goaltender Jack Campbell has been on the low end for the entire season, making for the Oilers’ mediocre season.

Central Division goaltenders

The best division in terms of goaltending this season is the Central. With various starting goaltenders all putting up solid GSAx numbers, this division has four goalies with greater than 10.0 GSAx, and Georgiev is creeping right up too.

The top five teams in the division have clear-cut starters and backups, and all starters are appropriately outperforming their counterparts. The same can’t be said for the other three teams as it’s a mixed bag of middling-to-bad results. Two starters in particular are being outdone by the backups, highlighted (or low-lighted?) with Marc-Andre Fleury playing more hockey with worse results than Filip Gustavsson, as well as Jordan Binnington being edged out by Thomas Greiss.

Of the four goalies just mentioned, only Gustavsson has a positive GSAx, and that’s been due to his fairly solid play as of late.

Metropolitan Division goaltenders

Ilya Sorokin has led the league in GSAx, and he slightly added to his totals. He remains the only goalie with more than 20.0 GSAx and he’s by and large a, if not the frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy this season.

For much of the season, Carter Hart had been the second runner of the Metro, but he’s been usurped by Darcy Kuemper and Pyotr Kochetkov. For the Carolina Hurricanes, the goaltending display by Kochetkov lately has helped them string together wins and rise atop our TWC NHL Power Rankings with strong statistics across the board.

Atlantic Division goaltenders

As mentioned above, the Bruins used two goalies this week, and Jeremy Swayman‘s performance was good enough to get him to the positive side of the GSAx spectrum. Despite Ullmark having a worse week—only by comparison—he still finished positively and marginally added to his lead in the Atlantic.

The division remains one of the tighter divisions with most goalies closely bunched together. Despite having some big names such as Andrei Vasilevskiy and Sergei Bobrovsky, their goaltending does leave more to be desired from two of the highest paid goalies in the NHL. That said, the former is still faring well enough all things considered—the latter, not so much.

‘Tis the season for saves

Boxing Day might come with savings, but the NHL will give you saves. As the calendar turns over to 2023, the league has its established goaltending leaders.

As goal scoring remains elevated in the league, it’s going to continuously get harder and harder for goalies to end with positive GSAx, but nevertheless the best goalies still do it every week.

Check out the past GSAx charts here.

Week 1 | W2 | W3 | W4 | W5 | W6 | W7 | W8 | W9 | W10

Want to go to the next game? Take advantage of this exclusive SeatGeek code for $20 off! Use the promo code “WINCOLUMNCGY” when you checkout!

Back to top button