2008 Final Grade: Peter Budaj

2008 Final Grade: B-

2007 Grade: B+

Links:

{{budaj}} (hockey-reference page)

2007 report

2008 ITCS (aka highly unofficial) game log

Season Stats: 35gp 16-10-4 2.57gaa 0so .903svpct

Minutes: 1,911, 30 starts

1st Half: 26gp 14-8-2 2.63gaa 0so .901sv%

2nd Half: 9gp 2-2-2 2.37gaa 0so .911sv%

Playoffs: 3gp 0-0-0 3.33gaa 0so .909sv%

Best Month: December (9gp 5-2-2 2.30 0sp .917sv%)

Season: Budaj had a career-best 2.57 GAA

Report: There's been a recent influx of traffic here lately, so I think I should offer up some disclosure to any new readers. I am a Budaj guy. While many folks will say that Budaj had an off-year, his GAA actually dropped (from 2.86 to 2.57). Really, he never had much of a chance this year. He started the season as the starter, but that lasted just 9 games before Joel Quenneville started alternating Budaj and Jose Theodore. Budaj finally got a chance to play regurlarly in December. He started 9 of 10 games from December 13th to January 2nd. He was 5-2-2 over that span, with a 2.09 GAA and a .924 save percentage. But, the last three starts were losses and that was it for Budaj. Jose Theodore started the next game - a big 2-1 OT win against the Islanders - and Budaj was given just 5 starts the rest of the way (and 3 were due to an injury to Theodore). Budaj is a solid guy who relies on positioning more than reflexes. He's reported to be a student of the game, and he often seems to sniff out a play quicker than his defensemen do. His even strength goals against average was actually better than Theodore's (2.16 to 2.31). Unfortunately, Budaj got absolutely crushed when his team was shorthanded - his GAA was 8.59 (compared to 5.79 for Theo) and he gave up just 2 less PP goals than Theo despite playing 112 less PP minutes. I'm not really sure I have a good explanation for this - he was much better in 2006-2007 (6.75). He also struggled in OT, with just a .667 save percentage (compared to Theodore's stellar .938). That's probably why he was 2-4 in OT/SO games while Theodore was 9-3.

Fast Fact: 56 goalies had a higher salary than Budaj in 2007-2008.

2007-2008 Salary (and Cap Number): $700,000 ($700,000)

2008-2009 Status: Budaj has one year remaining on his contract. He'll be paid $800,000 next year, with a $700,000 cap number.

Outlook: With a week crop of free agent goalies and assuming the Avalanche don't trade for another goalie, Budaj's could be looking at any number of roles next year:

A) Theodore bolts and Budaj becomes the starter

B) Theodore returns and Budaj remains the backup

C) Theodore returns and Budaj gets traded

Honestly, there are so many variables, it's tough to predict just which this is going to go. Regardless of where he's playing, I think Budaj has the ability to be a capable NHL goalie.

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