Friday, April 17, 2009

Grading the Sabres: Goaltending

by Anne

I've decided that I don't want to just bury the season and forget about it. Instead, I've decided to grade each player based solely on how I feel they performed this season.

Next up are the goaltenders, all three of them.

Keep in mind that these grades are grading how well the player filled their role as it seems to have been defined for them from this fan's perspective.

Here they are, in numerical order:

Ryan Miller

59 games 34-18-6, .918 SV%, 2.53 GAA
5 shutouts

Miller had 34 wins in 59 games. Last season he had 36 in 76 games. If that isn't an indication of his stronger play behind a weaker defense, I'm not sure what is. He was our best player by far this season, he was consistent, he was reliable. Of course he let in a few softies, but it happens to the best of them. The team played for Miller and Miller played for them it would seem. We missed the playoffs because he was hurt, plain and simple. If he hadn't been hurt, what are the odds we wouldn't have had at least two or three more wins, enough to make the playoffs? I really can't think of anything bad that Miller did this season. He demanded a lot from his teammates. He spoke up a lot last season and this season. The biggest difference was, Miller was playing like an elite goaltender this season and he had the swagger to back up his calling out of his teammates. He signed a big contract and played to it. If he hadn't been hurt, I'm guessing he would've played around 70 games this season and based on the number of possible points he got out of the 58 games he took the win or loss in, that alone would've given us 89 points. Toss in Lalime's five wins and thee OT losses and...well... that's all I have to say about that.

Anne's Grade: A

Mikael Tellqvist

(all stats as a Sabre)
6 games 2-1 .928 sv % 2.35 GAA

Ummm... I know he only played in 6 games but his stats in Phoenix were about the same. I don't really have much to say about his play except his rebound control didn't seem phenomenal. We didn't have a huge sampling to choose from for his Sabres stats so I'm probably not thinking rationally when I ask my next question. He's been reported to be a good guy around the locker room as well. You can never have too may Swedish goaltenders in an organization, right Jhonas? So, can we keep him, Darcy? Can we?

Grade (as a Sabre): A-

Patrick Lalime

24 games 5-13-3, .900 sv%, 3.10 GAA

We needed Patty to be better. We also needed the team in front of him to score more. Its hard to place all of his sixteen losses on him, but he can't be completely let off the hook. He plays a more athletic and frantic style of goaltending and that didn't really seem to help his teammates when they're used to Mr. Calm in net. If I had to choose between keeping Lalime and Telly Monster, I'd definitely take Telly Monster. Does this mean that Lalime is bad? No, but maybe he isn't a good fit. That being said, he's still worlds better than T-Bone was.

Grade: C+

Our goalies average out to a B+. That seems about right. They allowed fewer goals than last season and if Miller can continue to play the way he did before AND after his injury and if we can have a reliable back-up (TELLY MONSTER?) for the entire season, this team will definitely make the playoffs.

These are just my grades, what are your grades? Think I'm dead on? Way off the mark? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


  1. I think you graded everyone very fairly. Great analysis! *clapping wildly*

  2. Oh and thanks for including that pic of Ryan with the small sneak of eyebrow wonk... I can go to bed happy now :)

  3. Aww...I love Patty Lalime though. What a great smile. Yeah yeah I know that doesn't mean anything when he's in net, but I like having him around. I feel like he's so nice and wants to be better and he will keep giving it the old college try!


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Glossary... Sort of

  • "Ryan Miller Shutout" - A 58 minute, multi-goal shutout lead that is blown when Miller allows one meaningless goal
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