Darcy Kuemper versus the ex-goalies, Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek

Yesterday, we featured a story about Vitek Vanacek and the New Jersey Devils’ absurd winning streak. Later, on Discord, Ian Vanacek and I talked a bit about how much he was responsible for the Devils’ success. For the record, Ian Vanacek was absolutely right when he said, “Without a doubt one of the best Devils teams in the NHL early in the season.”

In response to our story, we received what I call a genre of comments.where he is He is seated. This could apply to any player who left Washington to enjoy success. It is understandable to compare their performance with that of their successors in Washington. It is inevitable that it will. I will do it. Actually, let’s all do it now.

Let’s compare Washington’s former goaltenders. Ilya Samsonov And Vitek VanacekTo the new number – one, Darcy Kuemper.

in the record

Vanek: 8-1-0
Samsonov: 6-2-0
Kuemper: 5-8-1

Winner: Vanacek. A lot, obviously. He’s part of a historically good team with fun, young players as well as Dougie Hamilton’s dorky old ass.

Meanwhile, Ilya Samsonov was Toronto’s winning workhorse before going down with an injury on Nov. 5. And Kuemper played more games with a worse record. Bad start for DK.

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With confidence

Well, not Samsonov, although he may return next week. I would like to note that Samsonov played more technically than Vanesek, who was still sharing time with Mackenzie Blackwood and Akira Schmidt, one of the best names in the NHL.

Winner: KuemperPlayed in a league-high 14 games. He is tied with Boston’s Linus Ullmark for the league’s most-used goaltender. Ullmark has a narrow lead in minutes played because he doesn’t pull much.

Putting a percentage

I think this is the most common way to evaluate goal scorers, which is probably the first clue that I’m doing some stupid, over-analyzing thing again.

Vanek: .916
Samsonov: .921
Kuemper: .911

Winner: Samsonov. But maybe his short season will raise your eyebrows. Hold that thought. At least on this scale we can agree that Kuemper is worse. I mean, we don’t need to agree; It is a fact.


We are not doing this. GAA is not a goalkeeping statistic; It’s a team statistic. Goalkeepers are responsible for stopping the shots they face; They are not responsible for how many bullets they face. This is the part of my Discord donnybrook with Ian that I’m most uncomfortable with.

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Winner: Haset It is not up for debate.

Work pressure

Now things get interesting. Here’s how many goals each goaltender has faced using Moneypuck’s calculator:

Vanek: 21.4
Samsonov: 21.9
Kuemper: 37.9

Winner: Kuemper. I don’t know whether or not Winner It’s the right word. Kuemper has faced more minutes and way more shots than his peers. That is mostly a function of the teams playing in front of these goal scorers. Here are HockeyViz heat maps of how opponents are shooting at each goaltender. Red means the opponent will shoot more from that position.

I was directly shocked when I saw this. Kuemper and Samsonov: Well, whatever, but wow on Vanesek. His career is much lighter than other NHL goaltenders – at 23 percent. That is very brave work. He really won the lottery when he signed with the Devils.

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In context

So here’s how many more goals each goalie allowed than we expected them to allow, again using Moneypuck’s math. Expected goals are subtracted from actual goals.

Vanecek: 0.4 (21 goals against 21.4 goals against)
Samsonov: 4.9 (17 goals against 21.9 assists)
Kuemper: 1.9 (36 goals against 37.9 expected goals)

Winner: Samsonov. Wow, dark horse. The injured man on the popular wrestling team passed the pressure of their jobs over the closest Vanesek and Kuemper, with Kuemper getting a narrow edge.


Vitek Vanacek played in games they won but didn’t win a lot of games, if you catch my exhausting slide. Darcy Kuemper has done well at the back of a team that has struggled with goal support recently. And Ilya Samsonov played well before his injury, a trait that carries over to this season and his career as a whole.

Goals remain elusive.

This story wouldn’t be possible without Moneypuck, Natural Stat Trick and HockeyViz. Please consider joining us to support those sites.

Header Photos: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB, Alan Dobbins/RMNB, Vitek Vanacek


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