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Vulgar Statistics: Why Does Jhonas Enroth Suck?

01/28/14
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It’s no secret that Jhonas Enroth has struggled to win games this season.  “Games,” in fact, is quite literal as he has only one win.  He’s 1-11-4 to Ryan Miller’s slightly better 13-19-3.  The popular narrative has been that the team just doesn’t score in front of Enroth, but is that actually true?  And more to the point, why does Jhonas Enroth suck?

Well…he doesn’t really suck, he’s actually a fairly average NHL starter.  The problem is that he’s not Ryan Miller who is crazy-pants good.  Enroth has posted a worse save percentage at even strength than Miller, .915 to Miller’s .928.  However much of the narrative has become about the team’s performance in front of each goalie, something that is not really either’s fault, but I felt worth looking into for the sake of curiosity.

Miller has actually faced tougher competition:

  • Points Percentage: .578 to .566
  • CF Percentage: 50.2% to 49.9%
  • Opponent Save Percentage: .925 to .922

However, Enroth has faced teams that are better at preventing goals with an average opponent’s goals allowed per game of 2.70 to Miller’s Opponent’s 2.76.  Somewhat paradoxically the team has played better possession-wise under Enroth (44.69% CF to 43.39% for Miller), but shot worse despite playing against worse goaltending (6.25% to 6.90% in front of Miller).

Final Thoughts

Obviously it pretty much comes back to the fact that Miller is an elite talent and Enroth probably isn’t.  Yes, the team has had trouble scoring under Enroth, but considering the low shooting percentage, and that the 1.89 goals per game (I discounted shootouts) under Miller doesn’t exactly rise above the 1.50 under Enroth, the problem with the backup goalie is merely a magnification of the problems with the team as a whole.

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