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Bet the House: Calvin Pickard

Welcome back to a summer series taking a look at what the next season holds, one player at a time. We're running it down numerically, which means that yesterday we missed #31: Calvin Pickard.

i don't know why this tickles me so
i don't know why this tickles me so
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

With apologies to Calvin Pickard for missing him yesterday, I can only blame myself. Who am I kidding. I can blame the Avs' website, which doesn't list him on the roster! Yeah! Wasn't me at all! At any rate just pretend you shouted at everyone about Beauchemin today and that this article was retroactively published yesterday and nobody will be the wiser.

Last season

You guys don't need me to tell you that Calvin Pickard exploded into the league last year as a rookie. He only played 16 games, true, so there's a humongous grain of salt to take all this with, but enjoy a few quick numbers.

  • .932 SV%, 5th in the NHL
  • .950 SV% at 5v5, 1st in the NHL
  • War on Ice splits out save percentages by "shot danger," which again comes back to the same definitions as scoring chances, involving rush chances, rebounds, and the "home plate" area. Pickard was top-5 in medium-danger chances and top-10 in high-danger chances (at even strength).
  • His SV% fell to .844 shorthanded, which is even with Reto Berra's. Somehow, by the way, Varlamov stopped 238 of 255 shorthanded for a .941 SV% on the penalty kill. What the actual shit.

Here's a 2-game moving average of his save percentage game by game (because war on ice won't generate one for 1 game at a time somehow). We can easily see how he started very strong, but when he returned later wasn't as good.

What does it mean for 2015?

No one fucking knows.

A full season of goalie data isn't always indicative of their actual talent. Yet, there are people out there who want to proclaim Pickard an NHL-level starter based on 16 games played in one season. He may never record a save percentage above .900 again and while that would surprise people, my point is that it shouldn't.

The biggest question for Pickard is which roster he starts the season with: Colorado's or Lake Erie San Antonio's. While the NHL backup job might be Berra's to lose, that also makes it Pickard's to take, if he can prove himself worthy. There's definitely an argument to be made for seeing a billion pucks at the AHL level, at which point he's called up to the bigs in case of injury to Varlamov, but that essentially puts Berra in a 100% wasted roster spot. A similar argument can be made that Pickard would benefit from a full year at the NHL pace, following an NHL schedule and training at the NHL level.

At any rate I'm excited for some preseason games (barf). That will be make-or-break for Pickard and Berra both, but especially Pickard as the goalie with the higher ceiling.