I looked at Lundqvist’s year-to-date stats back in late November and found that his play this year has been statistically weaker than every season since 2007-08 (which was the first season I could get the necessary data). I have added in the last five weeks of data and re-configured my graphs to make them a bit more reader friendly:
Above is Henrik Lundqvist’s year-to-date 5v5 save percentage since 2007. This time around, I have removed all of the data from previous seasons and condensed them into three descriptive stats: minimum, average, and maximum.
The minimum and maximum are the worst and best year-to-date Sv% he has had on a given date. E.g., in October the maximum line is constructed from various points in the 2007-08, 2009-10, 2011-12, and 2015-16 seasons.
The average line, on the other hand, is his year-to-date 5v5 Sv% based on all 10 seasons’ worth of data. So the point on the line for October 31 is his 5v5 Sv% based on all saves and goals allowed in October in all 10 seasons.
Overall in 2016-17, Lundqvist has been at or near his minimum career performance nearly all year. This trend is even more apparent on a similar graph for Goals Saved Above Average per 60 mins (GSAA/60):
GSAA/60 is a stat that compares how many goals Lundqvist allowed compared to the number of goals he would be expected to give up based on the quantity and quality of shots he faced. A positive GSAA/60 means that Lundqvist performed better than a league average goaltender while a negative GSAA/60 means he performed worse than league average.
Lundqvist has hugged net neutral in this metric for much of the year, meaning that he has stopped as many goals as a league average goalie would be expected to stop given his work load. This has largely been the worst year-to-date GSAA/60 he has posted in 10 seasons.
I had previously mentioned an interest in looking into how Lundqvist’s Win Threshold % and other such stats that have been affected by his play this year. While it’s not the exact same thing, I have gone ahead and broken down his per game performances into different GSAA bins for 2007-16 versus 2016-17:
There is a significant “small sample size” warning here for 2016-17, but it does show a budding trend that Lundqvist has had many subpar performances this year. The 0.00 to -0.99 portion of the chart is abnormally high this season with the difference largely affecting the larger number bins, which correspond to play that is very likely better.
As I had mentioned in the previous post, I have noticed that Lundqvist is letting in more soft goals that he would have in the past. I feel that the December 1st match-up against the Buffalo Sabres is a perfect example of this. Lundqvist let in a very soft goal from the neutral zone early in the first. The second goal he lets up is the result of over-committing to a save and being completely out of position as a result. Just prior to that goal is a highlight of him over-committing to another play but fortunately coming out of it okay. He over-committed like that another two to three times during the game. Unfortunately the fourth Sabres goal comes off one of those over-commitments.
In this game we saw the worst of Lundqvist’s problems this year: A loss of focus through the entire 60 minutes and what seems to be a lack of trust in the defenders in front of him. While this might have been the worst performance I’ve seen him have all year, many of the mistakes he made have popped up in other starts he’s had this year.
Now there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Looking back up at the GSAA/60 and 5v5 Sv% charts, it is noticeable that Lundqvist has a major upswing in performance from January 1st onwards. His worst GSAA/60 from the past goes from approximately 0.00 around Jan 1st to nearly 0.50 once February rolls around. Similarly, his Jan to Feb 5v5 Sv% transition is approximately an 8 percentage point jump. So while I worry about his play (both due to stats and by the eye test, which I hope to elaborate on in another post), I do have hope that he can turn things around in January based on his consistent ability to turn his play up a notch post-New Year’s.