Is Martin Brodeur costing New Jersey a playoff spot?

January 17, 2014

(Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

New Jersey dominates the puck as good or better than some of the best teams in the league. Ignoring special teams and lead-protecting situations, the Devils have taken 1,341 shot attempts (including those blocked) while allowing 1,128, giving them the fifth-best differential in the league. The teams ahead of them — Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and San Jose — are not only in the playoff picture, but could be considered among the favorites to win the Cup. So why are the Devils 20-18-10 and out of the current playoff picture? Martin Brodeur.

If we look at Brodeur and fellow New Jersey netminder Cory Schneider, it is clear that Schneider has not only been providing better starts but he hasn’t gotten nearly the goal support Brodeur has. The Devils have scored 37 goals in 23 games when Schneider is between the pipes; Brodeur gets almost double that amount (71 goals scored in 26 games). That helps explain why Brodeur is 13-9-4 with a .905 save percentage and Schneider is under water at 7-9-7 despite stopping 550 of the 595 shots he has faced (0.924 save percentage).

Player

GP

GF

GA

SF

SA

Sv%

Martin Brodeur

26

71

61

664

644

.905

Cory Schneider

23

37

45

589

595

.924

Looking at it another way, based on shots against and goal support, Brodeur has to post a save percentage of 0.890 to give New Jersey a chance to win while Schneider needs to stop 93.8 percent to have the same chance. If Schneider had the same goal support with which to work, he would need to stop less than nine of every 10 shots faced for a win and we could likely see him getting some mentions for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the best goaltender in the league.

New Jersey is just one point out of a wild card spot with 33 games left. Ending the goalie platoon and handing the reins over to Schneider full time gives the Devils their best shot at another postseason berth.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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