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Thread: Comprehensive Hiller Review

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    Default Comprehensive Hiller Review

    Over the weekend I broke down video of every goal Jonas Hiller has allowed this season.

    http://www.thegoalieguild.com/2013/0...illers-season/

    On 20 goals allowed, 13 of them (63-percent) beat Hiller to the blocker side. Eleven of 20 came on the PP, or 55-percent. That is nuts.

    My overall conclusion: Hiller isn't playing nearly as bad as the stats lead us to believe, but he was clearly rusty coming out of the lockout, and he's clearly struggling with the confidence and timing. The current minor lower-body injury is a chance to reset himself. I also feel that some of you might consider him as a nice buy-low candidate or option. I personally wouldn't go that far just yet, but it's a possibility...especially if the Ducks keep scoring.

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    Justin, this is incredible, great job! I just finished reading it when you posted it.

    Timely too, given all the "drop Hiller for Fasth now" posts we are seeing, ludicrous given how much of a notorious slow starter / strong finisher Hiller is.

    I noticed in the last Dallas game that he had a noticeable lack of the usual confidence, seemed to fight pucks, didn't get over fast enough on the Benn goal (he's usually among the best in the league in lateral movement as far as I've seen). I think this part of your article captures the situation perfectly:


    "By this point, I feel sorry for him. There are certainly issues with the blocker side, but with so many goals coming on the power play, he has had to deal with tons of “seeing eye” shots, deflections, pucks coming through a maze of bodies, and shots that he can’t get a good pulse on.

    Combine that with the rust he likely experienced coming out of the lockout, the strong early play of Viktor Fasth, and the fact that he clearly wasn’t his sharpest or in much of a rhythm, and these type of things certainly get magnified.

    But a goalie like Hiller won’t make any excuses."


    And of course, your wise final words:

    "I for one believe that he’ll be much better once he returns from his groin injury. Maybe not instantly, but I feel like his next five games will see him post above a .900 SV%, and his GAA will shrink as well.

    As you can see from the highlights, a lot of the goals he allowed were real tough saves to make. Once he gets a little more defensive support in front of him, and once he nails down one really strong win, he’ll start to track pucks better and make more of those timely highlight-reel saves we know he’s capable of making."


    I know how much you admire and respect Hiller and his game. It was in large part your feedback that caused me to pick him up as an early first rounder a few years back, over guys like Varlamov and Emery (when he first joined Philly) at the time, and solid advice it was. I imagine it's your respect for this goalie that caused you to write this piece, when so many are questioning him due to Fasth's solid start and his correspondingly poor start.

    Kudos again on a great piece.

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    Default Why the confidence?

    "I feel like his next five games will see him post above a .900 SV%, and his GAA will shrink as well."

    Why? He has a LBI. That can only throw off his play. Combined with the existing rust and apparently poor blocker habits and Fasth's great replacement stats, why should we have any confidence in Hiller's return?

    In this strange season, shouldn't we throw the "proven" notion away? Which would leave us with an okay, but off (anomaly) year: 15+W/2.80/.905? And in that case you're left with a middling goalie. More Reimer than Lundqvist.

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    What about a lower-body injury leads you to believe it will throw off his play? There are a ton of examples of goalies missing a few games with a slight groin pull, then coming back strong. Mike Smith is just one example. Halak could be another one tonight. There are obviously examples on both sides (Quick could be an example), but I think it's faulty to say his play is guaranteed to be "thrown off" when he returns.

    I'm not guaranteeing a strong return by any means...I just said I feel like it's possible. He's an elite goalie that is very streaky and runs hot and cold. The time off from the LBI could be the break he needs to get back on track. There are many reasons pointing to the rusty start, but that's not an indication of more struggles once he returns. A lot of the blocker-side goals were on the PK, through traffic, etc. That's why I feel he's a buy-low candidate in my opinion, that's all...just a candidate.

    I also only point to the next five games being better than the first six. I'm not doing any predicting beyond that for some of the reasons you state (Fasth, and the condensed schedule =].

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    good stuff, thanks Justin

    I think he's one of the better goalies in the league, he's just been plagued by poor defensive play and injuries the last couple years. Now he's got a youngster stealing starts and confidence from him. He needs to step up and win a couple big games where he faces 35-40 shots and stands on his head and I think we'll see a nice bounce back

    or that could be all wishful thinking on my part, but I've seen him play at an extremely high level so I know he can do it, whether he does or not is up for debate
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    I still remember last year (or was it year before), he went through a sick stretch where he was stoning the best Western conference teams despite a horrid D in front of him. One game he faced something like 49 shots from the Sharks, during one of those periods wehre they were destroying teams with 4-5-6 goals per game, and he shut them out.

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    G: Lundqvist/Hiller/Lehner

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    Not bad, not great.

    1) It is a small sample size. If you analyze just 20 goals from several goalies, you are going to find extremes where goalies are getting beat at different "holes" with a rate (percentage) that seems higher than normal.

    2) The powerplay thing is significant, as you note. But the goalie is playing within an environment and I would've liked to see more external evaluation of that environment. I realize you are a "goalie guy"... but a few more comments about the Anaheim PK could have been telling. For example, two of the player's logging a chunk of PK time weren't there last year: Winnik & Souray. Those two rank 2nd & 3rd among Ducks for most goals given up on the penalty kill. Goalies have to adjust to the viewing lanes to a shooter... and those can change with how a new skater shifts his body on a PK and how well he covers up. It takes a lot of time for a goalie to adjust to the way new skaters move in front of them. They have to re-establish how to look around and refind the puck.

    When I searched your article for "Souray", I find nothing.
    When I searched your article for "Winnik", I find one reference.
    Doesn't seem like enough for a couple players that have each been on for 5 or 6 PP goals against.

    3) At the end of the article you say: "I can only speak from memory, but when I think back to all of the goal breakdowns I’ve seen for NHL goalies, the average on the blocker side is between 20 and 30-percent at the most."

    What do you define as the areas you can get beat?
    Blocker-side, glove-side, 5-hole?

    The blocker-side is going to get beat more than the glove-side.
    And the 5-hole is the pure-sniper location & smallest.

    I guess I'd have to see your overall "areas" and how you get them to sum to 100%.

    If I had to guess on a break-down, I'd say:
    45% Blocker Side
    35% Glove Side
    20% 5-Hole

    4) You say: My overall conclusion: Hiller isn't playing nearly as bad as the stats lead us to believe, but he was clearly rusty coming out of the lockout, and he's clearly struggling with the confidence and timing. The current minor lower-body injury is a chance to reset himself. I also feel that some of you might consider him as a nice buy-low candidate or option. I personally wouldn't go that far just yet, but it's a possibility...especially if the Ducks keep scoring.

    Um - I don't like this phrasing.
    You are kind of covering all your bases.
    Some reasons for hope.
    Some reasons for pessimism.
    Some IF statements.

    I mean... come on... this is fence-sitting at it's best.
    Pick a side.

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    Pengwin,

    1. Break down other goalies in the NHL and for their first 20 goals allowed, find just one that has allowed more than 60% of their goals in the same "hole" or area. It's pretty uncommon, and even with a small sample size of five or six games, to give up 63% of the goals allowed on the blocker side is very telling. I support it with very good insight from Sean Murray, and it's something we've discussed as being an issue for Hiller in the past. Otherwise I wouldn't have taken the time to write the report. If a goalie gave up 13 goals to the glove side out of 20, everyone would be talking about it (think Reimer). Imagine if an NHL goalie got sniped 13 times out of 20 five-hole...he'd be out of the league.

    2. My focus was on breaking down Hiller's goals against, not the Ducks' penalty kill. I certainly could have mentioned Souray and Winnik's influence, but that's not the focus of the piece, which was plenty long enough to begin with. Beauchemin gets in the way a few times, Getzlaf gets in the way a few times, etc. I provide the analysis on Hiller...the rest is up to the reader to determine. I make it very clear that the Ducks' PK makes it real difficult for him to stop some of those goals, so if you want to do added research on actual players on those PK units, more power to you! But I'm just the goalie guy for a reason

    3. Areas you can get beat --- the holes, 1 through 7. There's a fair amount of 6-hole goals on Hiller (under the blocker arm) and those are considered weak or stoppable (if the goalie can see it). You break the goal up into five quadrants (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right, 5-hole) and determine from there. I've seen a ton of these before for a number of years, and usually that average is anywhere from 20-30% ... never seen a goalie give up 45-50% of his goals to any one spot or quadrant.

    Obviously sample size is everything here, but I'm guessing Hiller ends up allowing around 30% to the 1 & 6 hole. And even that is somewhat "high" in my mind.

    I don't necessarily agree when you say the blocker side is more vulnerable than the glove side. There's no legit proof of that. In fact, you'd probably find more goalies give up a higher average of goals on the glove side. It's different for every goalie of course.

    4. Sorry you don't like the phrasing of my final paragraph, but it's just a conclusion of things I discussed at the top of the piece. I'm never afraid to give an honest opinion, and I don't see this as fence-sitting at all. All I did was conclude what I discussed at the top, then opine he's a potential buy-low candidate for some of you guys (depending on your own opinions), and then I say I personally wouldn't go that far just yet. I even add the word "personally" in there to let you know that's my PERSONAL opinion. The earlier statements are conclusions, nothing more, nothing less. If you want to get all grammatical on the paragraph, maybe I should have said "IN CONCLUSION" instead of "MY CONCLUSION".

    Then I tag on the fact that the Ducks are scoring a lot of goals, and that always benefits a goalie's fantasy value. To me, that's not fence sitting at all. I show you what I've discovered, I state what I've said for years (stats are tricky, be careful), and then I say that while I believe some of you may consider him a buy-low candidate, I PERSONALLY wouldn't go that far yet.

    I always appreciate your feedback Pengwin, but here I think you went a little overboard. Is it really my job to pick a side? What are the two sides, anyways? It's not presented as an argument or debate, it's a breakdown of his goals allowed, and a discussion on trends found in that breakdown. Here's the stuff I found, you take it from there.

    I'm not here to make decisions for you, I'm here to present insight and analysis on stuff I see to HELP you make more informed decisions. To me, that's a huge difference.

    But again buddy, as always, I appreciate the honest feedback

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    I think the most important point of the article is to show that Hiller's "poor start" is actually not as poor as people may think just by looking at his numbers, especially when you compare those numbers to Fasth's. So many fantasy GMs seem to be writing off Hiller due to this poor start and Fasth's emergence, this article sheds light on why that might be premature, and does it be reference to pure fact (analysis of all the goals scored on Hiller thus far). That's huge for GMs making fantasy decisions involving not just Hiller, but Fasth.

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    Fasth is a very good goalie, but how many times do we see newbies come in and have a ton of success early, then regress once opposing teams get scouting reports done? I've written about it before with Corey Crawford in a piece called the Dynamic Entity.

    One could argue that Fasth's statistical regression is more likely to occur since this whole season is spent in the same conference. In a normal season, teams out East won't have the luxury of scouting goalies out west so quickly, so often we see rookie goalies have really good games against opponents outside their conference...because nobody really knows much about them.

    But every opponent Fasth faces will be a Western Conference team. The book is already starting to be written on him...teams are going to quickly figure out his strengths and weaknesses. Players will start to get familiar with his tendencies.

    Either way, while I PERSONALLY feel he's here to stay (he will sign some kind of one-way contract for next season and possibly beyond), I don't believe he's destined to definitely be a starting goalie next season. He may not get a chance to play enough games this year to warrant that type of opportunity. That being said, I do personally believe he'll slowly work his way into a larger role, and maybe even end up in that "starter" category, by the end of next season.

    One could argue that since he doesn't play any Eastern Conference teams this year, that's actually an advantage in the long run, because next season, he could have some really good performances against the East, despite being in that dreaded "sophomore slump" season.

    His age and experience and competitive edge are all great traits, not to mention his technical abilities. But just because Hiller has struggled in six games and Fasth is perfect in the W-L column doesn't mean that trend will last all season. These things have a way of evening out. Fasth is one of the best third goalies to own right now especially while Hiller is out, but if you're in a keeper league, give this situation some more time to play out. Give Hiller a chance to rebound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoalieGuild View Post
    Fasth is a very good goalie, but how many times do we see newbies come in and have a ton of success early, then regress once opposing teams get scouting reports done? I've written about it before with Corey Crawford in a piece called the Dynamic Entity.

    One could argue that Fasth's statistical regression is more likely to occur since this whole season is spent in the same conference. In a normal season, teams out East won't have the luxury of scouting goalies out west so quickly, so often we see rookie goalies have really good games against opponents outside their conference...because nobody really knows much about them.

    But every opponent Fasth faces will be a Western Conference team. The book is already starting to be written on him...teams are going to quickly figure out his strengths and weaknesses. Players will start to get familiar with his tendencies.

    Either way, while I PERSONALLY feel he's here to stay (he will sign some kind of one-way contract for next season and possibly beyond), I don't believe he's destined to definitely be a starting goalie next season. He may not get a chance to play enough games this year to warrant that type of opportunity. That being said, I do personally believe he'll slowly work his way into a larger role, and maybe even end up in that "starter" category, by the end of next season.

    One could argue that since he doesn't play any Eastern Conference teams this year, that's actually an advantage in the long run, because next season, he could have some really good performances against the East, despite being in that dreaded "sophomore slump" season.

    His age and experience and competitive edge are all great traits, not to mention his technical abilities. But just because Hiller has struggled in six games and Fasth is perfect in the W-L column doesn't mean that trend will last all season. These things have a way of evening out. Fasth is one of the best third goalies to own right now especially while Hiller is out, but if you're in a keeper league, give this situation some more time to play out. Give Hiller a chance to rebound.

    Thank you, voice of reason.

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    All I can say is that the flow of incredibly well informed and considered dialogue, and the sharing of the exchange that exists here in Dobber World is something poolies and hockey fans should relish. Great Thread!
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