Shootout Vulnerabilities

Toronto head coach Ron Wilson takes a lot of flak, but he’s still an innovative head coach. One of the things he does is track goaltender performance in the shootout, analyzing whether various goaltenders struggle with left- or right-handed shots.

That got me wondering – do the Oilers’ goaltenders have a weakness against left- or right-handed shooters in the shootout?

Nikolai Khabibulin

Nikolai Khabibulin L Goal L Stops L Success R Goal R Stops R Success
2010-11 2 5 28.6% 1 6 14.3%
2009-10 4 7 36.4% 0 1 0.0%
2008-09 5 5 50.0% 4 5 44.4%
2007-08 2 7 22.2% 5 5 50.0%
2006-07 7 15 31.8% 4 7 36.4%
2005-06 3 7 30.0% 2 3 40.0%
Totals 23 46 33.3% 16 27 37.2%

Khabibulin’s a pretty average shootout goalie; a good rule of thumb is that the average shooter scores one goal for every three attempts (i.e. the average goaltender stops two out of every three shots). Khabibulin’s bang on average against left-handed shooters, and just slightly below average against right-handed shooters. Given the sample size here, I wouldn’t conclude that he’s weaker against right-handed shots either; a difference this small could easily be randomness.

Devan Dubnyk

Devan Dubnyk L Goal L Stops L Success R Goal R Stops R Success
2010-11 2 6 25.0% 7 2 77.8%
2009-10 2 7 22.2% 1 1 50.0%
Totals 4 13 23.5% 8 3 72.7%

We’ve got a much smaller field of data for Dubnyk than we do for Khabibulin, but despite the small sample size I think we can say with a fair degree of confidence that Dubnyk struggles against right-handed shooters. Dubnyk stops more than three-quarters of left-handed shooters, while just under three-quarters of right-handed shooters score against him.

If I were Frederic Chabot, I’d be trying to figure out why that is. If I were Tom Renney, I’d be nervous about starting Dubnyk against the Leafs.