[Wild About Numbers]: Resurgent Ilya Bryzgalov Is Making The Doubters Eat Their Words

SB Nation

The Wild's deadline acquisition has performed better than anyone could ever have expected.

Chuck Fletcher traded for Bryzgalov in the lead up to the trade deadline to plug the hole left in the team's goalie depth by Niklas Backstrom's season-ending surgery and Josh Harding's unpredictable health issues. There had been a lot of speculation that the Wild were pursuing Ryan Miller or Martin Brodeur (two targets that I was opposed to for different reasons) but in the end, Chuck was happy to give up a late draft pick for the pending UFA veteran to play back-up behind Darcy Kuemper.

He had barely arrived in town when sections of the local media set about making sure that his history of sour relations with the press and bizarre quotes and not his actual playing ability were the main talking points around him.


That article features some amazing stuff:

So the question for Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher is this:

What in the humongous big universe were you thinking?

You can't trust a guy willing to demean the game and his teammates while being paid an exorbitant sum. Fletcher had better hope he doesn't have to trust Bryzgalov this spring.

The points in this article basically amount to: "Bryz said crazy things once, why won't he say more crazy things so I can use them as quotes for my column?".

So, is Bryz making Souhan eat his words? He sure is!


A lot of people have been raving about Ryan Miller and how great he is now that he finally gets to play behind a real defence. Seeing as he was pegged as a big target for the Wild, let's do a quick comparison between him and Bryz this season:

Ilya Bryzgalov

Ryan Miller

Before Trade

GP

TEAM

5v5 SV%

GP

TEAM

5v5 SV%

20

EDM

91.78%

40

BUF

91.93%

After Trade

GP

TEAM

5v5 SV%

GP

TEAM

5v5 SV%

10

MIN

92.77%

15

STL

92.37%

Overall

GP

5v5 SV%

GP

5v5 SV%

30

92.24%

55

92.00%

  • I'm using 5v5 Sv% because it has been established as the best indicator of goalie talent. Wins and GAA are all but meaningless in that regard and overall Sv% can be dramatically affected by shot quality
  • Obviously we're dealing with smaller sample sizes for Bryzgalov here because he missed the first part of the season.
  • Since being traded, Bryz has out-performed Miller at 5v5 by 0.40%.
  • Overall this season, Bryz has out-performed him by 0.24% in 15 fewer games.
  • So, Bryz hasn't been better by much but when you consider the price paid for each of them, the hype around Miller this year and the derision of Bryzgalov in the media....those numbers are quite remarkable.


-Let's see how Bryzgalov's performance this season has ranked league-wide:

Player

GP

Sv%

1

Tuukka Rask

56

94.20%

2

Josh Harding

29

94.20%

3

Anton Khudobin

34

94.10%

4

Cam Talbot

20

94.10%

5

Thomas Greiss

22

93.90%

6

Semyon Varlamov

62

93.50%

7

Darcy Kuemper

26

93.40%

8

Ben Scrivens

38

93.20%

9

Alex Stalock

22

93.20%

10

Ben Bishop

62

93.20%

11

Jonathan Quick

47

93.20%

12

Sergei Bobrovsky

55

93.20%

13

Carey Price

57

93.10%

14

Ilya Bryzgalov

30

93.00%

15

Jonathan Bernier

55

93.00%

16

Chad Johnson

25

93.00%

17

Frederik Andersen

27

93.00%

18

Henrik Lundqvist

61

92.90%

19

Jhonas Enroth

28

92.90%

20

Corey Crawford

57

92.80%

21

Kari Lehtonen

63

92.70%

22

Mike Smith

62

92.70%

23

Roberto Luongo

54

92.60%

24

Braden Holtby

45

92.60%

25

Jimmy Howard

49

92.60%

26

Steve Mason

59

92.50%

27

Eddie Lack

41

92.50%

28

Al Montoya

28

92.40%

29

Jonas Hiller

50

92.40%

30

Ryan Miller

55

92.30%

31

Justin Peters

21

92.30%

32

Brian Elliott

30

92.30%

33

Cory Schneider

44

92.30%

34

Craig Anderson

51

92.20%

35

Karri Ramo

37

92.10%

36

Jaroslav Halak

51

92.10%

37

Ray Emery

26

92.10%

38

Marc-Andre Fleury

62

92.00%

39

Antti Niemi

62

91.90%

40

James Reimer

34

91.80%

41

Carter Hutton

39

91.70%

42

Peter Budaj

23

91.50%

43

Curtis McElhinney

27

91.40%

44

Evgeni Nabokov

39

91.40%

45

Niklas Backstrom

21

91.30%

46

Jonas Gustavsson

26

91.20%

47

Robin Lehner

34

91.10%

48

Cam Ward

28

91.00%

49

Marek Mazanec

25

91.00%

50

Tim Thomas

46

90.90%

  • Bryz is tied with Jonathan Bernier, Chad Johnson and Frederik Anderson for 14th.
  • He is only 0.20% behind Ben Scrivens who is ranked 8th.

*

I should note, I don't think Bryz is as good as he is playing right now and over a longer period his performance would likely return to Earth. But when you are trading for a goalie at the deadline, what you want is great performance in a small sample, which is exactly what the Wild are getting from Bryzgalov.

There are still games to play this season and then the big test of the playoffs but, barring a disastrous collapse in form, getting Bryzgalov for a 4th round pick should be looked on as one of the best deadline deals of recent times.



Follow me on Twitter for more hockey talk and analysis and make sure you listen to the debut episode of the Hockey Wilderness Podcast from yesterday.

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