Sunday, August 09, 2009

Nikolai Khabibulin and the Shootout

I'm sure the above is not an entirely fair picture of Khabibulin's complete shootout skillset, but it happen to be my only memory involving Khabibulin and the shootout.

I decided to look a little bit deeper than one youtube clip and see what Khabibulin's shootout numbers look like.

Khabibulin has a lifetime 0.628 save % in the shootout, with 32 GA on 86 shots. For context, this is 12th out of the 14 goalies who have faces 80 or more shootout chances. Among the 23 who have faced 60 or more shots, Khabibulin ranks 17th.

For Khabibulin to move up to the middle of the pack, let's say 7th among that group of 14 goalies (that spot occupied by the previous Edmonton starter, Dwayne Roloson. Roloson has a career 0.706 shootout save %, 30 GA on 102 shots), he would have had to make between 6 and 7 more saves than he did in 86 shots.

That said, the sample size here is fairly small - in baseball I think most would agree that a chunk of 60 or 80 PA's is not enough to give you an indication of a player's "true" on-base percentage. How big does the sample size need to be with the shootout before we can have confidence that the goalie's shootout save percentage is likely to be reasonably close to his "true talent" shootout save percentage?

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