Photo: Amanda Bowen
A sampling of TSN hockey experts and NHL GMs were recently polled to rank the top 50 players in the league. Alex Ovechkin (5th), Nick Backstrom (22nd) and Braden Holtby (49th) were the three Caps to make the list. The rankings for Ovechkin and Backstrom seem reasonable (Backstrom might be a little high), but Holtby did not get due respect here.
There were five goalies in the top 50: Carey Price (3rd), Henrik Lundqvist(25th), Pekka Rinne (29th), Jonathan Quick (35th), and Holtby (49th).
Holtby is a better goalie than both Rinne and Quick.
Goalies can be difficult to evaluate, and their performances from year-to-year fluctuate, but the prevailing school of thought at the moment is it’s best to evaluate goalies using 5v5 adjusted save percentage and/or 5v5 high-danger save percentage, both as defined by War on Ice.
The following graph shows each goalie’s adjusted and high danger save percentage over the past three seasons.
Holtby is clearly a tier above Quick and Rinne. Pointing to postseason success doesn’t give Quick a bump either: Holtby is actually the better playoff performer when you isolate their individual performances.
It’s nice to see Holtby start to get recognition around the league, but this panel of voters still doesn’t realize how good he is.
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