Among the various Oilers’ callups last season were a pair of players who were highly regarded as scorers in their respective draft years: Gilbert Brule and Rob Schremp.
The two players both scored three points: Schremp did it in just four games, Brule in eleven. Clearly than, Schremp played better, yes?
The short answer is no. I watched every game Schremp played, and the majority of Brule’s games as well, so I’d feel comfortable saying that without looking at any of the underlying numbers. That said, there are two good reasons to look at the numbers:
- This article would be really short if I just described what I watched (Brule was better than Schremp – The End).
- They highlight rather radically how a player can benefit or suffer at the hands of on-ice save/shooting percentage.
With regard to that second point, on one end of the scale we have Gilbert Brule.
- Shots For/Against: 41/50 (-9)
- Goals For/Againt: 3/6 (-3)
- On-Ice Even-strength Shooting %: 7.3%
- On-Ice Even-strength Save %: .880
Like virtually every young bubble player in the history of young, bubble players, the shot clock is tilted against Brule (although not atrociously; Liam Reddox, for example was a much worse +152/-232). So Brule – again, like virtually every developing player – wasn’t driving possession (if you haven’t taken the hint yet, I’m very ‘meh’ about this; players like Gagner and Cogliano have the same problem while they develop).
Anyways, moving on the save percentage behind him was abysmal (remember – this is even-strength SV% only). By way of contrast, the (occasionally) re-animated remains of Curtis Joseph put up the worst numbers of any goalie in the league in this category with a .892 SV%. Patrick Lalime put up .897. Andrew Raycroft put up .905. These are the lousiest numbers in the league. Dwayne Roloson managed .926, and the team average was just below that at .925. The key thing worth noting here is that an increase to the team average would have seen Brule on the ice for only 4 goals against; that may not sound like much, but it represents a 33% reduction in goals scored against him.
While we’re on the topic, Brule’s on-ice shooting percentage was also well below the team average of 8.8%. Long story short – Brule’s better than his GF/GA numbers last season. I’d even feel comfortable saying that based on this he likely deserved a roster spot ahead of Liam Reddox (although Reddox did kill penalties, and Brule had a nasty habit of taking stupid ones).
- Shots For/Against: 21/27 (-6)
- Goals For/Againt: 4/2 (+2)
- On-Ice Even-strength Shooting %: 19.0%
- On-Ice Even-strength Save %: .926
Schremp bled shots against at a higher rate than Brule (a little over 20% in this admittedly small sample). Much like Brule, this is to be expected – players fighting for a roster spot very rarely help their teams win games.
Still, there were a chorus of “did you see how many points he put up and they sent him down!!!!!” cries from the fanbase when Schremp was demoted. Schremp’s good results were largely based on that ridiculous on-ice shooting percentage number – a number which, had it been sustained, would have marked Schremp as the greatest offensive talent in the history of the game. Gretzky in his prime, shooting against worse goaltenders couldn’t manage that number. That’s an even-strength save percentage for opposing goaltenders of .810. Ales Hemsky only managed 8.4%. Moving to bigger fish, Alexander Ovechkin recorded 9.0%, while Sidney Crosby put up 10.4%. Reducng it to Crosby’s number (which assumes that Schremp creates goal-scoring plays as well as Crosby) reduces his goals for total to 2. In other words: Schremp got very, very lucky.