The season-wide numbers last season for Reto Berra were reasonable on their face. Overall .918 SV%, .926% at even strength. Hey, that's decent for a backup right?
When we kind of inspect what happened on a game by game basis, a really mixed picture emerges. He only played 18 games, and only 10 of those were decisions. 10 of his 18 games, he had SV% lower than .900. For comparison's sake, Varlamov had 20 games below .900, out of 57 GP (56 decisions). Berra breaking .900 less than half the time is not a good rate at all. (If you're curious where this line of reasoning comes from, I'm utilizing a much more lenient definition of Rob Vollman's Quality Starts metric.)
That leads me to expect with more GP, last season, Berra's SV% would be likely to sink back down toward his career average of .901.
Let's face it here, a single full season of starting NHL goaltending is still rough to predict anything with. 18 games is shooting from the hip at best. But that never stopped an August piece now did it?
What does it mean for 2015?
Reto Berra faces a strong challenge from future subject of this series Calvin Pickard. The backup job, based on career development and how Roy has organized the depth so far in his tenure, should be Berra's to lose in camp this year. But man, it's entirely possible that he does just that, if Pickard shows as strongly as he's capable of doing.
Assuming that Berra doesn't get relegated to San Antonio by early October, the smartest bets on his games played will be very low--essentially back-to-backs and whenever Varly gets banged up--and his numbers being in the .900 SV% region. If the team in front of him still struggles to suppress shots, he could see another GAA over 3.
But my preference would be for him to be with the Rampage come season's beginning. It's unclear how much more AHLspice Pickard will benefit from, while Berra is entering his 29 year old season and is unlikely to grow into much more than he is now. Of course my UTMOST preference would be to be proven wrong and see both Berra and Pickard put up super-competent numbers all year. When I see doom coming being proven wrong is the best thing ever. But when we think probabilistically, as hockey demands us to do, that's a really unlikely outcome.
So where do all of you come down on this? Will we see Berra in an Avalanche uniform, or on a bus to Texas?