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Reviewing the Goals Against Keith Kinkaid: 2014-15 Summary

Keith Kinkaid took over the backup goaltending position in nineteen appearances with the New Jersey Devils. While forty goals is not much for someone who played so infrequent as Kinkaid, this post summarizes what was learned from reviewing them all.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Consdering where he was last season, Keith Kinkaid undoubtedly had a successful 2014-15 campaign.  He got an opportunity to become the backup goaltender for the New Jersey Devils.  He not only took the spot, but he never looked back to Albany.  Kinkaid was rewarded with a two-year contract extension back in April. Kinkaid certainly made a lot of saves and if he was blown out, then it was largely the fault of the guys in front of him.  I will say that it is likely that Kinkaid will hit a rough patch like all goalies, and it's rough on backups because they only play so many games.  But the two-year deal is a sign of security that he will not likely lose that spot.  Again, it was a successful season for Kinkaid.

Of course, not all goalies are perfect.  They concede goals and Kinkaid allowed forty of them.  Over the past few weeks, I have been reviewing each of them by using the video at NHL.com.  I recorded how the puck got past Kinkaid, what kind of shot it was, where the shot was taken, the situation of the shot, and whether Kinkaid should have stopped it (a.k.a. a soft goal).  As Kinkaid only played nineteen games, I did it bi-monthly as opposed to monthly.  This post is the summary of the following three posts:

Soft Goals

Kinkaid GA Summary Charts

If you have been following along with these posts, then this should not surprise you.  Kinkaid never gave up a lot bad goals in any given two-month period.  While eight soft goals may seem like a lot, 20% of all goals being soft is not all that bad.  Furthermore, by nature of the role, Kinkaid was not playing regularly in any given month.  If anything, one would expect an error from one night to carry over to the next one. That was not the case with Kinkaid.   The only month that looks poor is December and that is just a function of so few goals being allowed in any case.  Soft goals are hard to watch and arguably fixable; however, I do not think Kinkaid is particularly poor in this regard.  That is a good start to his career and let's hope it continues.

Goal Against Locations

In reviewing the goals against a goalie, it always made sense to identify where the goaltender got beaten.  It can be easy to claim so-and-so is weak in a particular area; the goals would determine whether that is true or not.  While Kinkaid has played only nineteen games, where did the goals against him go in relative to him?

Kinkaid GA Summary Charts

While his action was minimal, I can at least say there is not a particular spot that sticks out.   Every spot where he could have been beaten - high middle is over his head, medium middle would just be difficult - was about equal between five and seven goals.  The glove (left) and blocker (right) sides were equal at eighteen goals against each. Height favored lower shots thanks to the five hole, which is a slight exception with only four goals against. That's actually a good finding considering I can think of one goalie in recent memory who just gave up way too many through the legs.  But that's in the past and Kinkaid is here for now.

Skater Errors

Of course, with some goals against, it's obvious to identify a skater that made a critical error.  This could mean a giveaway. This could mean clearly not covering the right opposing player.  If the error was clear and likely could have prevented a goal against if it was not made, then I recorded it as a skater error.  Here is the summation of

Kinkaid GA Summary Charts

Eighteen out of all forty goals against Kinkaid involved at least one skater making an error, or 45% of all goals against Kinkaid. Someone more versed in looking at tape can probably find more errors in the run of play that led to the opposition scoring. These were the ones I noted.  Relative to the total amount of goals Kinkaid allowed, they did spike in December and February.  That could be a function of the games Kinkaid was in rather than anything related to say, a coaching change.  The skater errors in February were from that awful game in Montreal, and December's matched January's in gross only with a higher proportion because Kinkaid got beaten more in January.   Lastly, only three of the eight soft goals - or, in other words, a goalie error - involved a skater error.  That's three that could have not happened with a better effort, but it is what it was.

Kinkaid GA Summary Charts

The above is a list of who made the errors.  A multi-error means the skater was involved on a goal against where more than one skater got tagged with an error.   There were only three of those, with two skaters each.  The other fifteen where errors where I noted only the one skater.

Surprisingly, there were not a lot of forwards.  I can believe that a defenseman making an error can be more costly given their position.  Yet only five forwards with some kind of error is notable.   There is a wider range of defensemen, with Andy Greene leading the way.  While it is not a good thing to lead in this category with any goalie behind him, Greene plays a lot and in tough situations.  He's human and so when he falters, it does hurt.  That said, some of the errors by the rest - like Mark Fraser's giveaway in Montreal - were just hideous.  Still, this points to the fact that even Seth Helgeson and Fraser were not seriously costly on the scoreboard when #1 was in net.  In other metrics, sure, but not goals.

Scoring Chance & Shot Information

A scoring chance is defined as a "homeplate" from the crease to the tops of the left and right circles, with the faceoff dots acting as the edge.  War on Ice has a good visualization of what that looks like at the end of their glossary. If the shot was taken in that area, I marked it as a scoring chance.  This does include rebounds, it does not include re-directions or deflections.  They have to be actual, attempted shots.  Here is the summation of all of the goals against Kinkaid that were taken in this location, split up by situation.

Kinkaid GA Summary Charts

Scoring chance goals against peaked in December and made up the majority of all goals against except for April (and November, technically). It should be no surprise that both shorthanded goals against Kinkaid were on scoring chances.     For the other on-ice situations, scoring chance goals made up the majority: seven out of twelve power play goals, sixteen out of twenty six even strength goals.  In total, 63% - almost two-thirds - of all of the goals against Kinkaid were off scoring chances.  If we remove goals against off deflections, then this percentage would be considerably higher.

How many goals against Kinkaid were off deflections? This season, I can tell you because I recorded shot type and where the shot was located.  For deflections, I recorded where the initial shot was taken prior to the deflection.  I also recorded the type of shot that was taken; here are both counts (Note: Left and right are Kinkaid's left and right).

Kinkaid GA Summary Charts

To answer the initial question, the answer is seven.  Seven goals against Kinkaid were off deflections, re-directions, or tip-ins as they are called.  Going back to that scoring chance chart, twenty five goals out of thirty three non-deflected goals against came from scoring chances.  It is not a coincidence that those areas of the ice are the most dangerous ones.  Those shots from the slot or at the crease are among the most common. Curiously, shots from inside the left circle (inside the scoring chance zone) beat Kinkaid much more than the right circle  A couple of them were shortside shots, if I recall correctly.  But what of the difference?  It could be a function of location. Outside of the scoring chance zone, the right circle outside of the area was as costly as the left point.  A foot or two can make the difference between what is and is not recorded as a chance and some of them were just outside of the zone.

Going back to shot types, wristers led the way with twelve followed by one-timers and those always-difficult-to-deal-with deflections.  Rebounds were also common, but Kinkaid was beaten more with created shots than players being in the right place at the right time to get a touch on the puck.   Interestingly, jams - players who are trying to force a puck through a goalie in tight quarters - only succeeded once. That one time was when Vanek poked a puck past the out-stretched stick of Kinkaid, not a traditional jam play as one would see in a game.  It's good to see, Kinkaid was good at controlling the puck when he could get an opportunity to do that.

Kinkaid GA Summary Charts

Lastly, I did denote two other shot-related counts. The first involves the Royal Road. This is a term coined by Steve Valiquette for puck movement across the center-line of the offensive zone.  Crossing the Royal Road forces the goalie to move, which opens up space for shooters if they can catch the goalie while moving.  I expected to see plenty of passes across the middle as it is something a team can strive for while attacking.  I only found twelve out of forty goals against involved a pass that did that.  Maybe there will be more under the other goalie? I do not know.  Flukes are what you would expect: goals against that could not be repeated under most normal circumstances, a weird, wacky, uncontrollable bounce.  Like the last goal against Kinkaid in Tampa Bay.  That was the third and final one of the season.  I think they are worth noting, but I do not think they will represent a significant number of goals against a goalie who plays more than a few games.

Conclusions & Your Take

After reviewing the goals against, I feel the same I do about Kinkaid that I did before the review. He did well to earn the #2 goaltender spot in New Jersey.  I am pleased with his contract extension, which means the Devils are set in net for the next two years.  I was not really surprised by what I found in terms of soft goals.  That he was equally beaten to his left and right means to me that he is not weak on one side.  There are some curiosities with what shots got past him and where they were taken. However, that could also be a function of the skaters - of which, close to half of all goals against Kinkaid involved at least one error.

While nineteen games is not enough to judge a goaltender, we can only judge based on the available evidence. We do not live in a perfect world where we can demand more data; a goaltender's position is driven by whether he does the job well in net to warrant more trust.  Kinkaid has earned that and so far with what's available, there is nothing to be concerned about.  If, or rather when, he has some real struggles, it'll be interesting to see if there are any common threads which could speak to what Kinkaid is or is not good at.  So far, he has shown to be a solid backup and that's perfectly fine for the Devils.

What did you learn from Kinkaid's goal against review? Did it change the way you saw Kinkaid? Did it reinforce what you already thought about him?  What did you think of the new summary format?  Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Kinkaid and his goal against review in the comments. Thank you for reading.