With training camp about seven weeks away, the Philadelphia Flyers know they need better seasons from several of their players, including goaltender Carter Hart.
Hart burst onto the NHL scene with two very strong seasons. He looked like one of the league’s best young goalies.
He has struggled, however, in the last two seasons — and all of the blame isn’t on the weak defense around him.
For proof, check out a relatively new advanced goaltenders’ stat that measures a goalie’s true value. It shows that Hart needs to improve significantly this season.
The stat — Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) — takes several factors into consideration, including shot distance and angle, the goalie’s positioning, and the number of defensemen and sticks in the area when a shot is attempted.
Complicated? A bit. But it can give better perspective than the goals-against and save-percentage numbers — stats that are sometimes inflated by having a good team around you … or deflated if a goalie is surrounded by weak teammates.
Among NHL goalies who played at least 25 games last season, Hart finished 36th in the NHL with a GSAx of minus-6.9.
The GSAx includes potential outside factors that can affect a possible goal. In short, a goalie’s save percentage measures a goalie’s stops against the number of shots, while the GSAx measures saves against the quality of shots.
Hart, who turns 24 this month, had a 3.16 GAA and .905 save percentage last season. Not very good, though he did make strides from the previous year (3.67, .877). His so-so 2021-22 season has been attributed primarily to the team’s play in front of him, but the GSAx takes that into consideration and shows he has lots of room for improvement.
Like many advanced stats, it’s important to give perspective.
According to The Hockey Writers, any single-game performance above a 1.00 GSAx is great, while a single-game 3.00 GSAx is off the charts.
Over the course of a full season, a high-quality goaltender will have a 10.0 GSAx, while a 20.0 GSAx is usually Vezina-worthy.
The Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin, 26, won the Vezina as the NHL’s best goalie. He not only had a 2.07 GAA and a .935 save percentage, but he recorded a 37.24 GSAx, which was by far the best in the NHL.
Here were the top 10 goalies in GSAx, according to evolvinghockey.com:
- Igor Shesterkin, Rangers: 37.24.
- Frederik Andersen, Carolina: 28.47.
- Ilya Sorokin, Islanders: 21.64.
- Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay: 17.6.
- Jacob Markstrom, Calgary: 16.06.
- Darcy Kuemper, Colorado: 15.77.
- Ville Husso, St. Louis: 14.18.
- Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg: 13.59.
- Juuse Saros, Nashville: 12.59.
- Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles: 12.01. Breakaways Among goalies who played 25 or more games, former Flyers Sergei Bobrovsky (11th, 11.58 GSAx) and Anthony Stolarz (19th, 4.63) were ahead of Hart … Martin Jones, Hart’s backup last season, had a GSAx of minus-11.25. Jones signed a one-year deal with Seattle for $2 million earlier this month. … Another Metro opponent could be getting better. The New York Islanders appear on the verge of signing free agent Nazem Kadri. … Training camp opens Sept. 21. … The Philadelphia Flyers and new coach John Tortorella begin their preseason schedule Sept. 24 against Boston at the Wells Fargo Center. They play three home games and three on the road in the preseason. … According to FOX Bet, Colorado, at plus-400, is favored to win the 2023 Stanley Cup. If you bet $10 and the Avs capture the Cup, you would win $50. The Flyers are plus-5,000 — bet $10 to win $510.