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05-19-2013, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
It's really hard to explain, particularly because it doesn't show up in shot quality as strongly as one would like either, but the effect is definitely there. Look at Khudobin, and like Mike said, the season with Auld. Julien also did this with other goalies before these two. Thomas was a mediocre NHL goalie before Julien, and with Rask, we have no other relevant sample to use for comparison.
I have to echo QPQ here that you're cherry-picking and overstating the Boston shot quality case. Why shouldn't we consider Fernandez and Turco as well? The non-Thomas, non-Rask Boston save percentage under Claude Julien with this year's numbers included is still only .909 on 2007 shots, which is still below league average for the time period.

And again I'd like to point out the inconsistency of using backup numbers for Thomas under Julien while not considering backup numbers for Thomas pre-Julien. In '05-06 and '06-07 Thomas at .909 while his Boston teammates combined for .891. .909 vs .891 is almost exactly the same thing as .926 vs .909, which is Thomas vs. non-Rask teammates under Julien. Do backup numbers and shot quality matter, or do they not?

The fact that Khudobin made three more saves than an average goalie in 388 shots this year is far from any kind of decisive blow in this debate. Khudobin's save percentage split was .916 at even strength and .939 on the PK. That's not what you expect to see when a coach is propping up a goalie with a strong defensive system, that's often what you see when an average goalie hits an unsustainable hot streak on special teams (although it is a very small sample size, so it's impossible to really make any conclusions at all from that data). Compare that to Rask in 2012-13: .938 at EV and .865 while shorthanded, which looks a lot more like a very good goalie probably getting a bit of a shot quality boost at 5 on 5.

BOS EV SV% under Julien: Thomas .933, Rask .933, Everybody else .922

If it is entirely a case of Julien making his goalies look good, then he's the most valuable individual in all of hockey. Boston's save percentage under Julien is .924 compared to .911 league average, making them 180 goals better than average over 458 GP. That means that Boston outperforms expected save percentage by 32.2 goals per 82 games, and going by the quick rule of thumb that 3 GD costs about $1 million means that Julien is worth $10.7 million more per year than an average coach. That's well above the highest cap hit of any player in the league, and that's compared to average, not replacement, which means he would actually be even more valuable than that.

Even assume Julien's impact is only responsible for half of the team's outperformance, and he's still being underpaid by a factor of at least 4 or 5, which still makes him one of the most valuable hockey people in the world. And if we go further to suggest that it's only one-third or one-quarter from coaching effects, to make his salary vs. performance seem much more reasonable, then we're in essence agreeing that Thomas and Rask are both excellent goalies with true talent levels of .010+ above league average, which means they're good enough to be talked about in a top 40 context anyway.

I can get behind some Boston shot quality effect, but not enough to say that Rask and Thomas aren't very good goalies. Seems to me there's either a huge market failure here involving probably the greatest coach ever, or else just maybe Boston managed to get their hands on two top goaltenders at the same time and boosted their stats slightly with strong defensive play.

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