The NHL is going through a huge catastrophe this year and it's affecting every team in the league

Published January 26, 2023 at 2:55 PM

In today's hockey reality, there are many more goals scored than there used to be.

To give you a concrete example, in the 2014-2015 season, the top scorer in the NHL was Jamie Benn, with a total of only 87 points.

Last year, there were 18 scorers with 87+ points in a season, including eight players with 100+ points.

It's still amazing how much more offensive the game has become. With so many more points being scored, this change can also be analyzed from a goaltender's perspective, as performances at that position are plummeting at a rapid pace.

As one user on Twitter very well demonstrates, the average save percentage for NHL goalies has been in free fall since the 2015 season, but the most notable drop is largely this year, where that average is just shy of 90.0. This result has not been seen in nearly 20 years.

What is the reason for this drastic decline in goalie save percentages?

One avenue of solution could point to a decline in the quality of players at that position. There are fewer and fewer elite goalies and teams tend to increasingly favor a solid tandem of two goalies, rather than one who is a star.

It is also possible that the addition of two more teams to the National League may have diluted the talent in front of goal among the 32 teams.

Another possibility is that technological developments in equipment, as well as more sophisticated training at a younger age, have allowed players to increase their offensive skills.

However, in my opinion, the most valid reason for this sudden change in the NHL is at the blue line. It must be said that defensemen are scoring many more goals and accumulating many more points than before.

For example, in 2014-15, there were 11 50+ point scorers in the NHL among defensemen and only three 60+ point scorers.

Last year, there were 20 50+ point scorers in the NHL among defensemen and eight who had 60+ points. Add to that the fact that there were five 70+ point scorers and three 80+ point scorers. There was even one, Roman Josi, who finished with an astounding 96 points.

That's a phenomenal rise in offensive contribution from defensemen. To me, that's the main reason why goaltending has dropped off so dramatically in today's NHL.

What do you think about this?
January 26   |   76 answers
The NHL is going through a huge catastrophe this year and it's affecting every team in the league

Do you like to see the NHL become much more offensive, to the overall detriment of goaltending performance?

Yes3546.1 %
No4153.9 %
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