Over the course of last season, it was clear to most New Jersey Devils fans that Cory Schneider should have been the main goaltender. #35 as #1, if you will. The save percentage doesn't lie; 92.1% is superior to 90.1%. The good news is that will be the case going into 2014-15. The Devils signed two goaltenders this summer. The first was Scott Clemmensen, who will likely be in competition with Keith Kinkaid for the backup role. The second was Schneider getting a significant contract extension. No goalie gets a seven-year deal worth $42 million to not be the primary player at their position on the team. Schneider will be the Devils' main man in the net for quite some time.
Therefore, Schneider will become the main focus of these annual casual qualitative analyses for years to come. While Schneider only played in 45 games last season, it will at least set a baseline for comparison. Sure, there's the other guy. He was very bad and conceded a lot of soft goals, even against his own recent seasons. Schneider not only posted the superior save percentage but didn't give up nearly as many stoppable shots. He's more in line in what may be considered "acceptable." I want to say somewhere below 30% of total goals being soft may be considered not too bad, based on past summaries. While the majority of goals against aren't a goalie's fault, a goalie does make mistakes, have bad nights, and/or gets beaten straight up once or twice in an otherwise outstanding effort. Schneider's performances mostly fell into the latter last season, but over the course of a season for a season, there will be a not insignificant percentage of bad goals out of total goals allowed. I suspect this would be true among the Tuukka Rasks and Henrik Lundqvists of the world of hockey. We can use Schneider to confirm going forward. Today, let's summarize Schneider's goals allowed in 2013-14.
The Month-by-Month Posts
If you want to see the breakdown of how the review went by month or a more detailed explanation of what this all is, please check out the following posts:
The Skater Errors
Let's begin with the errors made by skaters on goals allowed by Schneider. I was rigorous in determining what was and was not an error by a skater. Essentially, did the player do or do not something that otherwise would have prevented a goal being scored. A less stringent - or more aware - viewer may have counted more.
Ultimately, out of the 88 goals Schneider allowed, I found 34 of them had at least one Devil making an error. Of those 34, seven were soft, which you'll see later in this post. Schneider's worst months in terms of goals allowed were in December and March of last season. I wasn't so surprised that those were also months where there were plenty of errors. That infamous 7-GA game in Detroit in March was littered with them. Those two months totaled 22 errors, a majority of the 34 goals allowed with errors on them. Again, bad stretches can hurt. Here's the chart on who specifically made these errors:
A goal with an error on it may not be just by one Devil alone. The majority of them were, but there were five goals that had two Devils making a mistake. Hence, that player was tagged with a "multi error" and so there were 39 errors by Devils skaters on 34 goals.
Among this list, I'm not totally surprised by Marek Zidlicky, Andy Greene, and Mark Fayne lead the list. Both had the puck on their stick a lot, both played a lot, and so errors would be inevitable. I still thank Fayne's giveaway in the Florida game in March was the most hideous, as an aside. Back on track, I was surprised to note that I didn't tag Bryce Salvador so much. He was awful for possession, but Schneider just kept making saves. A harsher eye may have tagged Salvador for more. As for forward, Adam Henrique was the only standout. He was rough for a stretch in December, where he had all four of his individual errors. That was enough to keep him in the lead.
Overall, a skater making an error isn't enough to state whether someone was or was not good on defense for the season. The takeaway from this isn't that Salvador was better than Greene on defense when Schneider was in net. Still, it's worth noting who did what. Taken as a whole, this helps identify how often Schneider was hung out to dry for a goal allowed, so to speak.
The 88 Goals Against Schneider by Location
Glove side, glove side, and glove side. OK, the shots that got in low and to Schneider's left aren't technically "glove side," but that side was picked on more than most. Maybe it does work as Schneider did concede more to his left with shots at medium and high heights. In fact, a plurality of all goals allowed were high and to his left. Those would be rising shots that got past his glove, went over his glove, or went over his shoulder. As far as the whole left-middle-right comparison, Schneider was beaten a total of 46 times to his left, just over half of all goals allowed. Height, on the other hand, was a bit more balanced. 33 goals allowed were low, 32 were high, and 23 were in that middle area. It was refreshing to see Schneider only beaten 11 times through the five hole. While 45 games of goals allowed isn't exactly a good population size, it may be worth a closer look to see whether that can be lowered or limited in some way. Of course, it would be even better to compare against the location of all shots Schneider stopped over the season. Then we can determined whether being beaten 20 times high to his left was a function of facing a lot of shots there or something else entirely.
The Soft Goals Allowed by Cory Schneider in 2013-14
Here's the basic summary of the soft goals allowed, including goals allowed in the scoring chance (SC) area, soft goals allowed in the scoring chance area, and soft goals allowed with a skater error.
Over the whole season, I counted 20 soft goals by Schneider. If anything, you may feel he gave up fewer based on what I termed as soft in my month-by-month posts. Even if you don't, that's way better than the other guy and, to me, perfectly acceptable. The only month that surpassed that 30% mark was in April, and that was more of a result of a low population (few games, few goals). Schneider may have had a few bad games, but he didn't give up much more than a couple poor goals in each month. Here's the month-by-month count of soft and non-soft goals allowed in a graphical display, which makes that clearer:
See, only a few per month. At most, they may have been memorable but not enough to be all that concerning. Especially with someone else on the team conceding more.
Touching on goals allowed from scoring chance areas, I counted 53 out of the 88 from last season for Schneider. There could have been more if I included deflections and re-directions from that area, but I did not. It still is a majority of total goals allowed. I do not think a goal allowed taken in those areas means a shot isn't stoppable. Approximately 22% of those goals allowed from scoring chances were soft. For what it's worth, those 12 soft goals represented 60% of all soft goals. That's more curiosity than conclusion, though.
For Schneider's review, I made a point of it to note extra-man situations separate from even strength. There was a number of late goals allowed when the other team pulled their goalie. There was also a penalty shot goal allowed. I combined them into this soft goal by situation chart as "Misc." That replaces shorthanded goals in this chart as Schneider did not concede any shorthanded goals last season:
Unless I got something wrong - I corrected an error from October's review that erroneously marked a goal as shorthanded - there were only five extra-skater goals allowed and one penalty shot goal allowed. I tagged the penalty shot as soft and the one extra-skater goal that wasn't an equalizer as the other. Only four late equalizers isn't much over a season but given when it happened, I can understand that it felt like more. In those cases, those weren't soft goals.
Schneider was excellent on the penalty kill and it carried over into total power play goals allowed. 15 isn't much to begin with, only three being soft is excellent. It's entirely questionable how Schneider will perform on the PK in this coming season. But this is further evidence of how awesome he was on it. The even strength speaks for itself, which looks also quite good on it's own.
Schneider will be the team's primary goaltender for several seasons to come, if not for each and every one of the next eight seasons. These results are quite good in comparison to the other guy. They're almost down right refreshing to see. The main question is: is this good enough on it's own? I think so. In conjunction with an overall save percentage around 92%, I think a bit over 20% of all goals allowed being soft is OK. It seems strange that an average of about one out of five goals allowed would be bad is fine, but that's just an average over a season. As Schneider plays more - and he will - there will be varying gaps between bad goals. Again, all goalies suffer from bad games, rough stretches, and just errors at times. So there's going to be some level higher than zero. Provided it's limited, then it's manageable. Of course, the best way to judge a goaltender is on the percentage of shots he stops. So if Schneider can put up similar seasons in future to what he did in 2013-14, then I look forward to the future with #35. In that sense, finishing this summary makes me look forward to next year's to see what does and does not repeat.
Now I want to know from you. What's your opinion on Schneider after reading through this summary? Is roughly 22% of all goals allowed being soft an acceptable percentage? Do you expect that level from Schneider in the following season? Why do you think Schneider was beaten to his left more than his right? What else did you learn from the summary? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Schneider in the comments. Thank you for reading.