Today Team Canada’s decision makers gave new meaning to the word curious.
Entering the Canadian WJ camp, Mark Visentin was the odd-on favorite to win one of the two goalie jobs available for the Christmas tournament. Visentin’s experience along with the lack of experience along the projected blue meant that he was close to a lock for the starting job.
Some–certainly Oiler fans–felt that Tyler Bunz had an excellent chance to win the other job based on performance at the summer camp and early in the CHL season. Let’s compare the 4 goaltenders using Save Percentage, generally accepted as the best available comparison for goalie quality:
- Tyler Bunz .922 (backup .886)
- Louis Domingue .922 (backup .916)
- Scott Wedgewood .904 (backup .934)
- Mark Visentin .899 (backup .931)
In the game last night, all four goalies played well. Don Hay: "All four goaltenders played really well and I thought there was more jump than last night. Obviously we’d like to see more goal scoring, but the goalies played really well."
Based on what I’ve read and heard, the Team Canada brass put a lot of importance on the short training camp results and made their decision based on those performances.
Before we go too far, I’m not suggesting any of these goalies was a poor choice (although I would think the pressure on Visentin would be immense after last year’s event). However, I do believe it’s worth pointing out that larger sample sizes are more reliable and 25 games in the CHL is probably a better tell for individual performance.
I doubt it’ll make a difference, Canada could pick three teams and the third team could give the top team a run for its money in a sudden death tournament like this one. Still, for future training camps one would hope the coaching staff invites a logician into the room.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Nothing really, the list of kids who didn’t make this team and then went on to stardom is endless. Still, I think in this specific case we can reasonably suggest that the process may not be ideal. In a period or a game of hockey, strange things can happen.
The more sorties flown by a goalie the better the data.