Vulgar Statistics: Farewell Patrick Lalime
As many of you are aware, Patrick Lalime decided to recently call it a career. He is probably most often characterized by Sabres fans as being a super nice guy, but not a very good goaltender. I’ve detailed before the fallacies in that perception, but I recently did some tinkering that put things in a slightly different light.
Lalime was criticized for his inability to win, starting 38 games, playing in 47, and amassing a record of 9-26-5. Fair enough. But I began to wonder what Lalime’s stats would look like if he won just half of his starts (a solid number for a backup netminder). The method was spotty at best which is why I’m not charting anything here. I basically made a list of the 38 games that Lalime started and decreased the number of opposing goals in random games until he had an equal number of wins and losses. Obviously there would be some variance depending on which games were chosen to do this with, but not enough to really matter.
The results didn’t really surprise me. If Lalime had made the saves neceessary to be a .500 goalie, that would have involved posting about a .920 save percentage and 2.38 goals against average. If you’re too lazy to look it up, Ryan Miller has put up better numbers in precisely one season. Essentially the team in front of Lalime was so awful he would have had to put up all-star numbers just to break even.
I won’t lie, Lalime straight up ticked me off sometimes with his play and had a couple games that were truly awful. Sometimes he looked mentally checked out. That having been said, he put up with way worse from the team in front of him than he ever gave them, and I can’t fault him for that. Lalime’s retirement seems entirely natural to me. I wish things hadn’t ended the way they did, but it is pretty apparent that it is time. Good luck at RDS Patty Lala.