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"Sabres/Northeast Division Buzz"
Twitter @SabreHess • 28 Years Old • Male
With Jhonas Enroth signed the Buffalo Sabres should have their first steady backup since Martin Biron and Ryan Miller split the twine post lockout. Gone are the days of Brodeur, Fuhr, Belfour, or Kipprusoff playing 70-75 games a year. Recent history has shown goaltenders wearing down over the course of the season and faltering in the post-season. In fact only 3 goalies (Fuhr, Broduer, and Parent) have ever started over 72 games and won the stanley cup. Looking back at this past NHL season the value of backup goaltenders, seems to be on the rise. Here are the 15 eastern conference teams and the points gained by their backup goaltenders (determined by having acquired the 2nd fewest points of all roster goalies).

1) Philadelphia: Boucher 40pts (29 starts)
2) New Jersey: Hedberg 32pts (27 starts)
3x) Pittsburgh: Johnson 29pts (20 starts)
3x) Winnipeg: Mason 29pts (28 starts)
5x) Washington: Varlamov 27pts (25 starts)
5x)Tampa Bay: Smith 27pts (20 starts)
7) Toronto: Giguere 26pts (26 starts)
8) Boston: Rask 24pts (27 starts)
9) Florida: Clemmensen 23pts (25 starts)
10) NY Islanders: Dipietro 22pts (26 starts)
11) Buffalo: Enroth 20pts (13 starts)
12) Ottawa: McElhinney 19pts (22 starts)
13) NY Rangers: Biron 16pts (15 starts)
14) Montreal: Auld 14pts (12 starts)
15) Carolina: Peters 7pts (8 starts)

Given the amount of points acquired and the number of starts for each goaltender, below is the list of backup goaltenders in the Eastern Conference by points per start.

1) Buffalo: Enroth 1.538 pts/start
2) Pittsburgh: Johnson 1.450 pts/start
3) Philadelphia: Boucher 1.379 pts/start
4) Tampa Bay: Smith 1.350 pts/start
5) New Jersey: Hedberg 1.185 pts/start
6) Montreal: Auld 1.166 pts/start
7) Washington: Varlamov 1.080 pts/start
8) NY Rangers: Biron 1.066 pts/start
9) Winnipeg: Mason 1.035 pts/start
10) Toronto: Giguere 1.000 pts/start
11) Florida: Clemmensen 0.920 pts/start
12) Boston: Rask 0.888 pts/start
13) Carolina: Peters 0.875 pts/start
14) Ottawa: McElhinney 0.863 pts/start
15) NY Islanders: Dipietro 0.846 pts/start


Notice that other than the Devils at #5 and Boston at #12 the top 8 backup goalies in terms of pts/start represented 7 of the 8 playoff teams. Obviously there are other factors to consider here too, as hockey is the ultimate team sport...but these numbers give a general outlook as to the value of each backup. For a more complete value, salary would also have to be taken into consideration. As if Dipietro finishing last on this list wasn't bad enough, his 0.846 pts/start comes with a hefty 4.5mil cap hit...yikes! Perhaps the most underrated guy on this list is Brent Johnson. When Crosby and Malkin went down last year, many lauded Pittsburgh's defense game and the stellar play of Fleury in net. Not to take anything away from Fleury, but Johson held the fort down quite well in relief all while carrying a cap hit of only 600k...excellent value for the Penguins.

A few of these teams will have different backup goaltenders this year, specifically Ottawa, the Isles (Dipietro should be the starter), Toronto, Washington, Montreal, and Philly. How will the addition/subtraction of new goalies in the east affect the playoff race?
July 22, 2011 9:13 PM ET | Delete
Who's the new kid? Well done. Great digging for stats.
July 22, 2011 9:20 PM ET | Delete
July 22, 2011 9:21 PM ET | Delete
July 22, 2011 9:25 PM ET | Delete
Garth is sitting in his moms basement going rut row. Nice work kid.
July 22, 2011 10:27 PM ET | Delete
July 23, 2011 7:45 AM ET | Delete
Thanks for the kind words. I'm sure Garth is secure in his role as Sabres blogger numero uno...and it is not my intention to usurp him. That said, i would love to be able to contribute to Hockey Buzz on a more permanent level. Keep reading my blogs my.hockeybuzz.com/sabrehess and thanks for the support!
July 23, 2011 9:00 AM ET | Delete
We'll keep reading if you keep writing. If you don't want to join the comment wars on the main blogs, you can always just drop your link and leave. If not, one of us will post it for you if we like what we see.
July 23, 2011 9:17 AM ET | Delete
Thanks for the advice, i guess i should pop on the comments pages more often.
July 23, 2011 1:45 PM ET | Delete
what the clown said...solid!!!
July 25, 2011 9:43 AM ET | Delete
Nice job. I wonder if Garth read's this.... He could learn. Maybe...
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