Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

A Look To Sochi: The Goaltending Race

As the NHL players make their way to Sochi for the upcoming Olympic games four Blue Jackets players will play for team Russia, and one of them is none other than the Number One Cop In Town, Sergei Bobrovsky.  The other goalie for team Russia is Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov. How do these two goalies compare to each other? Here is a look at some important stats between Bobrovsky, Varlamov, and the United State’s starting goaltender, Detroit’s Jimmy Howard.

This Season

GAA

S%

GP

Record

Shutouts

Win%

Varlamov

2.49

.924

45

28-10-5

1

.622

Bobrovsky

2.53

.917

35

20-13-2

2

.571

Howard

2.69

.913

32

11-12-9

2

.343

 

Career

GAA

S%

GP

Record

Shutouts

Playoff GP

Win %

Varlamov

2.58

.915

192

95-68-23

12

19

.494

Bobrovsky

2.50

.917

156

83-47-18

6

7

.5321

Howard

2.40

.917

266

142-79-35

18

42

.5338

 

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

So what can we gather from these stats? The first stat I look at is the win percentage for each goalie.  From these stats, it’s clear that Varlamov has the highest win percentage this season.  Varlamov and Colorado have been on fire this season, so that makes sense.  When one looks at career win percentages, however, Varlamov’s is less than 50%, and the lowest of the three goaltenders here. Bobrovsky’s and Howard’s win percentages are very close, but Howard takes the crown for best career win percentage by .001, or .1%. This means Howard has been the most winning goaltender in his career. However, his win percentage for this season is only 34.3%, the lowest of these three, and Bobrovsky is in the middle of the other two for win percentage both this season and in his career.

The next most important stat in my mind is the save percentage. Career-wise, all three of these goalies are very close, with Varlamov trailing Bobrovsky and Howard by .002, or .2%. This season, however, Varlamov is ahead of Bobrovsky by .7%, and above Howard by 1.1%. Howard is last in save percentage this season, and Varlamov is first, but Varlamov is last in career save percentage. What does this mean for the Olympics? It means that Bobrovsky and Howard have been saving about the same percentage of shots throughout their career, whereas Varlamov has saved less.  But, going in to the upcoming Games Varlamov has been saving quite a few more shots than either Bobrovsky or Howard.

Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

A similar pattern occurs in the goals against average category. Howard’s is the highest (worst) this season, but the lowest (best) career-wise.  Varlamov’s is worst over his career, but best this season. And, once again, Bobrovsky is in the middle on both, meaning better in his career than Varlamov, but not as good as his Russian compatriot this season.

Lastly, have a look at the games played category. All three teams represented here have played 56 games this season, meaning each of these goalies has missed some time.  Varlamov has missed the least this season, playing in 45 of his team’s 54 games this season. The games played are most important in the career category though.  This is because, going in to the Olympic Games, it shows which of these goalies has the most experience, at least in the NHL. The answer, by quite a lot, is Howard. He has played 74 more games than Varlamov, which is almost an entire season more.  He has played 110 more games than Bobrovsky, which is about a season and a half more. Experience doesn’t necessarily mean a better player, but often it helps to have a longer career and more experience under your belt as you head into the Olympic Games.

So, what do all these stats mean? Certainly the US has a more experienced goaltender, who has been better than Russia’s over his career, but not as good this season.  Varlamov has not been as good as Bobrovsky, and certainly not as good as Howard over his career, but he has been very hot this season.  It should be a good show of goaltending talent in Russia, so keep an eye out for who comes out on top!

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Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets Jimmy Howard Semyon Varlamov Sergei Bobrovsky

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