Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Trouble with Luongo

I don't want to pile on Roberto Luongo. People who are calling for his head are being reactionary and counter-productive. This season is still in the very early stages and most people are aware that Luongo is a notorious slow starter.

However, given the fact that I live in Vancouver, I hear alot of this nonsense and honestly it's interesting to follow. The one thing I have noticed is the manner in which Luongo has been failing, dating back to last year's playoffs. It seems to me that when he loses, he breaks down in spectacular Hindenburg-ian fashion. I figured I'd have a look at the numbers.

Now, it may be a relatively small sample size, but I wanted to compare Luongo's numbers in games which he won to games which he lost and how those compare to the league averages.

2011/12 NHL Average
In Losses, teams had an GAA of 3.68 and Save Pct of .877
In Wins, teams had an GAA of 1.77 and Save Pct of .942

These numbers are obvious and predictable. So, how did Roberto Luongo fare in these categories last year, quite exceptionally actually.

In 22 Losses he was well better than the League with a 2.88 GAA and .903 Save Pct
In 38 Victories, he was closer to the League numbers with 1.67 GAA and .942 Save Pct

Last season Luongo managed to (on average) keep games fairly close even in a loss. He was far better than the normal in this regard and coupled with his slightly above numbers in his team's victories, he put together a Vezina nominated season.

These stats have all gone out the window since the start of last year's post-season. As stated, it is a fairly small sample size, but he has played 32 games since then, pretty much half of a full season. If these numbers are a "blip", it's a pretty big one. Since the playoffs started, his numbers;

17 Wins are 1.69 GAA and .950 SavePct.

...again, noticeably superior to the League averages.
On the other hand, since the playoffs began he has;

14 Losses and a 4.68 GAA and .838 SavePct.

His Goals Against Average in losses is a full goal higher than the NHL average. If I was a Canuck fan, I would be alarmed at that. As a comparison, let's look at the only other goalie to play as often since the playoffs started, Tim Thomas.

In Thomas' 19 Wins since the playoffs began;
1.56 GAA and .954 Save Pct.

In 12 Losses,
2.79 GAA and .906 Save Pct.

Thomas is well ahead of the average in games he won and ridiculously ahead in games he lost. Suppose that adds up to a Stanley Cup win. Perhaps Roberto Luongo had a bad few games in the playoffs, perhaps it's a trend that will continue. Either way it looks like he is prone to catostrophic collapses in games, at least over the last half-season worth of games.


Jackie Quasar said...

"Hindenburg-ian fashion" You wordsmithian, good sir! Kudos!


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