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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Importance of Being Giguere

James Mirtle wrote me an email back on Dec. 29th that I never really got around to answering:

I was thinking today -- with Giguere out and Wall in goal, this will give the hockey world a good glance at the Ducks with just an average 'tender in net. My impression from watching a dozen Anaheim games is that Giguere is getting a little too much Vezina dap for what he's actually done -- but I'm curious, how big a part of the Ducks success do you think is due to their goaltending?

You know, I've tried like five times to write a good response to that e-mail, but honestly, it's a tough question. So in lieu of me actually answering it, I'll instead just provide one jaw-dropping stat to consider:
Ducks when Giguere gets the start: 25-3-4
Ducks when Giguere does not start: 6-9-4

Discuss.

[EDIT: Moneyp makes a good point in the comments--that the second statistic does include a 2-7-2 stretch with no Beauchemin and hardly any Pronger. Even so, though, that still leaves a 4-2-2 record behind a healthy defense when Giguere does not start (a glorified .500).

I guess the question I really have for Duck fans is this: Given the fact that our two most prominent UFAs-to-be (Selanne and Giguere) are both having monster seasons, GM Burke may be facing a choice of which one to try to retain this coming offseason. If you were the GM, which free agent would you be putting your energies towards re-signing?

I gotta say, as much as Teemu has been killing with his league-leading 31 goals, I'm still probably leaning Giguere for that question. How about you?]

4 comments:

moneyp said...

I think those numbers are a little skewed by the fact that the time without Giguere was also more or less the time without Pronger and Beauchemin, where O'Brien and DiPenta was our second-line D pairing. Even if he was playing, that winning percentage would have gone down somewhat.

But yeah, the main difference between Giguere and Bryz is that Jiggy can steal games when the team isn't playing well.

VeryProudofYa said...

For a brief stint at the start of the year, wasn't Jiggs facing more shots than anyone in the league?

I also recall from a while back, that he had the highest save percentage against the "tough" shots. Things have probably changed since then, with Mason's emergence and Marty Brodeur's fantastic play.

JavaGeek said...

I did a nifty regression on healthy players and goal differential:

Difference/game = -0.26 + 1.62 * GIGUERE (R^2 = 12%)
Difference/game = -0.66 + 1.72 * PRONGER (R^2 = 9%)
Together: (worse model)
Difference/game = - 0.67 + 0.77 PRONGER + 1.25 GIGUERE (R^2 = 13%)

Note: -0.26 is not statistically different from -0.66 in this model, neither is 1.62 and 1.72. Neither is 0.77 and 1.25, but on the surface it appears Giguere is getting slightly better results.

From a statistical perspective we don't know who is getting the wins Pronger or Giguere...

IMHO, I think Pronger is more valuable than Giguere...

Earl Sleek said...

IMHO, I think Pronger is more valuable than Giguere...

Also I think it is tougher to replace a Pronger with as good a defenseman than it is to replace Giguere with as good a goaltender (simply thinking of market conditions--availability of talent in the league at each position).

But simply on the ice (ignoring the market supply), we have observed Pronger playing in front of shaky goaltending (early EDM last year) and we have observed Giguere playing behind some weaker defenses (oh, the '03 playoffs?), and of course Giguere gets the nod there.

It's a difficult comparison for sure, though. Quality netminding is so vital for any team success that it's tough not to put most credit or blame towards the goalie.

Incidentally, I would expect Giguere to score slightly better than Pronger, but by no means should we confuse Michael Wall for an NHL netminder.