Yesterday, I wrote about how it seems like there is an unusually long list of players who could potentially be Conn Smythe candidates this year. I also mentioned in the post that Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick is probably the favourite right now, and posed the question as to whether Quick has been good enough to win the award even if Los Angeles loses to the Devils.
A lot is still dependent on what happens in the Cup Final itself, and Quick has received a decent amount of attention for his sparkling play this Spring, but if you look at the numbers, you’d realize that he hasn’t received nearly enough praise.
Think about some of the greatest post-season goaltending performances you’ve ever seen. Think about guys like Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Dominik Hasek and Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Remember how unbelievable Giguere was in 2003? You know how a lot of times, we’ll compare great playoff goaltending performances of the last few years to his, just to remind ourselves how damn good he was that Spring?
Well guess what, the numbers suggest Quick has been just as good. Seriously.
If you look at the best save percentages in one post-season since the NHL began recording the statistic in 1982-83, and narrow it down to goalies who played at least 14 games (the amount Quick has played in this year’s playoffs) during that specific post-season, you’ll see something that may surprise you. Quick’s remarkable .946 save percentage is right at the top of the list, tied with one Jean-Sebastien Giguere, circa 2003. (It’s also interesting to note that Mike Smith’s .944 save percentage in 16 playoff games this season would be right behind them, in the No. 3 position).
If you break it down by Goals Against Average, a stat that goes back about 90 years, Quick’s 14-game run appears even more impressive. The best Goals Against Average in one post-season, minimum 14 games played, belongs to Quick, by himself, and his 1.54 GAA so far this year (Ken Dryden had a 1.55 GAA in 14 games of the 1976-77 Playoffs). Even if you expand the list to just a minimum of 10 games, Quick’s 1.54 would still rank in the top-five ever.
Sure, there are some debatable points about these statistics. Yes, Quick still has the most important round of the playoffs to play. Yes, the Kings’ defence has been good and yes, the players in front of him have made it tough on the opposition.
But at the end of the day, a goaltender’s job is to stop the pucks that make it on net, regardless of what’s going on around him on the ice. And so far in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Jonathan Quick has been doing that as well as any other goaltender in recorded post-season history.
Now here are your morning links:
- Jonathan Quick is following Tim Thomas’ blueprint on path to Stanley Cup Final (NESN).
- How the Kings and Devils match up (Los Angeles Times). The Times predicts the hometown Kings in 6, how about you?
- Five keys to the Stanley Cup Final series (NorthJersey.com).
- Both the Kings and Devils bring similar styles into the Final (Sporting News).
- Ilya Kovalchuk is fitting into a leadership role for the Devils (Bettor.com). Just a couple of years ago, how crazy and weird would that headline sound? How quickly things can change in pro sports.
- Devils’ Stanley Cup tickets a hot commodity (The Star-Ledger). Heck, how weird would that headline sound just eight months ago?
- Despite reports that the Canadiens will scoop him up, the Flames remain hot for Bob Hartley (Calgary Sun).
- Speaking of coaches, how about Wayne Gretzky in Edmonton, asks the Edmonton Sun. How nostalgically awesome would that be?
- Five Senators who could be traded (Ottawa Sun).
- Stanley Cup Media Day notebook (Puck Daddy).