Toronto Maple Leafs: Outgoing vs Incoming Danger Saves

The Toronto Maple Leafs will play game one of the 2016-2017 season with a different goaltending tandem than they played game 82 of the 2015-2016 season.

There were 61 goaltenders who played at least 670 minutes of 5v5 ice time last season. The 670 is used to isolate the group of goaltenders that includes new Toronto Maple Leafs backup Jhonas Enroth in the minimum amount of time.

Have the Toronto Maple Leafs identified a stronger goaltending tandem solely focusing on the danger zones?

There are three danger zones generally accepted in the weird and wonderful world of goaltenders: Low Danger, Medium Danger and High Danger. Greg Balloch has a read from September, 2015, on adjusted save percentage which shows an old image from War-On-Ice on what these zones look like.

In its simplest form, the image shows that closer to the net (and in front of the goal line) is high danger and shots lower as you move out, with the exception of a straight line from the center of the crease to the point.

Here are the ice-times at 5v5 via Corsica:

Enroth: 677

Andersen: 1757

Sparks: 753

Bernier: 1673

Low Danger Percentages


Backup Advantage: Enroth

Starter Advantage: Andersen

Both of the incoming goaltenders come away with a win in the low-danger category, with Enroth being the shining star of the group.

Whether or not Enroth could sustain such a high low-danger percentage over a larger workload behind the Leafs system is unknown, but in a small sample from last year he’s the best of the bunch.

The most important victory is Andersen over Bernier, because Andersen is going to shoulder the larger amount of ice-time.

Medium Danger Percentages


Backup Advantage: Enroth

Starter Advantage: Andersen

Enroth and Andersen take the win again, though Enroth struggled significantly more at medium danger shots compared to his 14th overall rank in low danger.

Andersen became a mid-pack percentage goaltender at medium danger shots, while Bernier marginally improved from 58th (low-danger) to 55th (medium danger).

The three qualifying goaltenders immediately above Andersen were Pekka Rinne, Jake Allen and Jonathan Quick. The three qualifying goaltenders immediately below Andersen were Roberto Luongo, James Reimer and Scott Darling.

Again, with pending workload, Andersen demolishing Bernier is encouraging while all Jhonas Enroth had to do to beat Garret Sparks was not finish dead last in the category.

High Danger Percentages


Now we hit high danger.

Backup Advantage: Enroth

Starter Advantage: Andersen

When the shots are statistically more threatening, both of the Leafs new goaltenders excel.

Garret Sparks, after plummeting to 60th of 61 goalies at medium danger, falls the final rung on the ladder and hits the concrete floor for high danger. Bernier took a nice jump up in the rankings, but it’s not nearly enough to save him in the battle against Andersen.

A quick search would have shown us that Andersen and Enroth finished the year with a higher overall 5v5 save percentage, but a closer look brings even more confidence. They’re better than who they are replacing in every danger zone.

Based on last year’s performances, the incoming goaltenders are a significant upgrade and it isn’t really close.

The Leafs are set to receive better goaltending this season regardless of where the rubber gets launched from, which is likely going to keep them out of the 30th position in the league.

When the Buffalo Sabres went after the best draft odds at Connor McDavid they ditched their better goaltenders. When the Leafs went after the best draft odds for Auston Matthews, they ditched James Reimer. The key to a successful tank is to make sure you have putrid goaltending.

Goaltending makes a difference, and the Toronto Maple Leafs have a much more positive direction starting the 2016-2017 season than they did in 2015-2016.

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