Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

PK Struggles: Defense or Goalies?

Last year the Thrashers were outscored by roughly 60 goals and they are on pace to almost exactly match that this year. The difference is that last year most of the damage was happening at Even Strength and this year the damage is happening on special teams. That league worst PK is hiding some of the improvements in the ES Offense. Tidy up the PK and this team is probably on pace for the 80 point season I expected out of them.

Why does the Thrashers PK stink so bad after adding Marty Reasoner in the off season? The biggest reason is in net I think. So far this season Hedberg has played in half of the Thrashers games. That a much higher percentage of games than in the two previous seasons. What does that have to do with the PK? Hedberg is one of the absolute worst goalies in the NHL while on the PK. Don't believe me, consider these rankings.

2008-09 PK Save Percentage
Ranked 34 out of 50 goalies Lehtonen
Ranked 50 out of 50 goalies Hedberg

2007-08 PK Save Percentage
Ranked 17 out of 44 goalies Lehtonen
Ranked 42 out of 44 goalies Hedberg

2006-07 PK Save Percentage
Ranked 18 out of 45 goalies Lehtonen
Ranked 44 out of 45 goalies Hedberg

When it comes to PK SV% Hedberg is ranked dead last, 2nd to dead last and 3rd to dead last over the last three seasons. Lehtonen and Hedberg play in front of the same PK units and yet Lehtonen is MUCH better on the PK than Hedberg--and Kari just missed two months and the Thrashers PK went into the toilet--coincidence? I'll let you make your own judgment.

Here's another way to look at it. What is the team PK% when each goalie is in the net?

75.4% Lehtonen
72.4% Hedberg
66.7% Pavelec

82.4% Lehtonen
76.5% Hedberg
63.2% Pavelec

Basically when Hedberg and Pavelec have been in netthe last two season the Thrashers PK has been incredibly bad. Pavelec in particular is curious case because his ES SV% wasn't so bad last season but his PK SV% is just brutal. Lehtonen has ranked ahead of both guys each season playing in behind the same defensemen. Pavelec has ranked worst in both seasons playing behind the same defense. How much blame goes to the D and how much to the goaltenders?


  • I think you hit on something that has been missing from discussion concerning our goals allowed. People quickly blame the defense but I think you're right, our goaltending (Hedberg, Pavelec) is sub-par. Lehtonen is a little better, but not a star goalie like he used to be. Why didn't Lehtonen play tonight anyway?

    By Blogger Thrashers Recaps, at 1:42 PM  

  • Hedburg knows the answer to your question:“My third period was probably the worst... and I think it cost us the game,” And it did, wasted a good effort in a winnable game. Count signing him as another of Waddell's follies:Clemmenson and Boucher were available(for example)for less than half what Moose is paid. The excuse for not playing Lehtonen Friday night was extremely lame: he wasn't in "game shape" after his injury and the Xmas break. Excuse me, DiPietro played last night after a longer layoff and two surgeries. And, watching the Blackhawks last night, I heard Eddie Olyczk tell a story about Khabibulin, when he was a young goalie in Winnipeg, taking shots for hours on Xmas Day. Either Lehtonen is being overly protected by the Thrashers or he just doesn't have the work ethic to be a top-tier NHL goalie and I'm beginning to think its the latter.

    By Blogger Big Picture Guy, at 2:50 PM  

  • Do you remember the most common line combinations for our forwards of the 07/08 and 06/07 seasons?

    By Blogger Thrashers Recaps, at 3:37 PM  

  • These are quite alarming numbers for Pavelec (we already knew how terrible Hedberg is and how it was another blunder by DW to resign him), do you think the sample size is large enough for Ondrej that we have to worry about? Do you have a ranking of all NHL goalies on the PK to see if we can find a trend style-wise? It's weird cause I would have thought more agile goalies to do better on the PK compared to bigger goalies such as Lehtonen or GIguere. I mean Pavelec is big but I see him as more mobile than Lehtonen... Anyway, great analysis as usual !

    By Anonymous FrenchKheldar, at 4:26 PM  

  • Another loss at the hands of Hedberg! First, Carolina with 3 goals in a row by Eric Staal, and blew a lead; and then last night again, we had a 2-0 lead, and it is blown in Toronto by a score of 4-3. I can't say that Enstrom's penalty at the end of the 3rd period didn't help much either. Not to mention, Hedberg faced 47 shots. So, defense was not helping much still.

    I think Waddell should go after another goalie!! Why not? Vancouver did last night, and is taking a big chance on Jason Labarbera. They are only going to lose a 7th round pick, but they need an experienced goalie in Vancouver until Luongo can come back.

    Defense, goalies, what do we do first. I think our guys are scoring and shooting, but our defense and goaltending are among the worst in the league. We need better defense and a better goalie!
    And why is Lehtonen on the bench after Hedberg played so horribly against Carolina in the 3rd period?
    God, I am almost to a point that we should bring up Carozzi or one of the other young goalies and try them; we can't do any worse!!!!

    By Anonymous Steve, at 8:01 AM  

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