Will NHL Goalies Be Rested in a Shortened Season?
One of the most important questions on the minds of fantasy hockey managers this week is whether or not goalies will be rested in a shortened season. And while there are many people willing to publish their hunches on what might happen, there are few people supporting their hunches with actual data. One data point we do have is from James Mirtle who notes that eight goalies played 40+ games during the last shortened season (the 48-game campaign of 1994-1995).
We’ve compiled data on goalies going back to the 1991-1992 season. And instead of focusing on games played, we have focused on the amount of minutes played by each goalie. More specifically, we took the top 10 goalies from every season (based on total minutes played) and computed the average minutes played in that season by the top 10 goalies. Since the number of games played in these seasons was not consistent, we divided this average by the total minutes played by the typical team in each season. Thus, for a typical top 10 goalie, we have the fraction of a season played by this goalie.
Consider the following graph (click for larger image) to be a measure of the workload by the NHL’s workhorses dating back about 20 years. Pay particular attention to the 1994-1995 shortened season and the years surrounding it. The graph is demonstrative proof that the last time the NHL played a shortened season, coaches let the goalies shoulder a significant load.