Much has been made about the "goalie situation" in Washington. Its hard to believe that Washington fans could complain about anything regarding the Capitals, but alas people love complaining, and are very good at finding something to complain about. So what could anyone possibly complain about regarding the Capitals? Perhaps not surprisingly, the goalies.
Now this situation is ironic for two reasons. First, Washington has goalies, as a matter of fact one could argue that we have more goalies then we truly need, but this fact seems to escape people. Secondly, no matter how well he plays, or how much he can carry the Capitals on any given night, Jose Theodore can not seem to shake the fan hate off his back. I can not tell you the number of times I have heard a Capitals fan complain about Theodore, either by referring to him in "three-or-more" language, or by simply whining about how much better Semyon Varlamov is.
I have never been a HUGE fan of Jose, but I do think that he deserves way more credit then he is getting. In addition this year I think Jose Theodore has been the difference maker, and is one of the key reasons the Capitals are in first place overall, besides that sick nasty offense they got going on in Washington.
To prove my theory I decided to look up some numbers. I looked up the top 20 goalies by wins in the NHL. In addition to look at this list I also thought it would be of interest to note each goalies save percentage, since this is another big indicator of a goalies success. I also post the goalies number of games started as this is important for how I "rerank" the top 20, and the fact that a goalie can be the best goalie in the league but if he cant stay healthy and isn't a reliable starter then what good is he...
The list below is listed in the order that each goalie is ranked by wins. In parenthesis is the new ranking of that goalie based on number of wins/ games started. I chose this re-ranking system as a way to create a pseudo "win percentage" This win percentage is not perfect but I do think it highlights an important factor. A goalie can start 65 games but if that goalie isn't winning what does it matter. You need a goalie that can consistently start and win.
Rank by Wins, with New Rank by Win Percentage in Parenthesis ()
1. (8) Martin Broduer (NJD): GS: 65 (39-23-3) WIN% = .600 SV% = .914
2. (3) Ilya Bryzgalov (PHO): GS: 62 (39-18-4) WIN% = .629 SV% = .921
3. (6) Jonathen Quick (LOS): GS: 63 (38-21-4) WIN% = .603 SV% = .911
4. (4) Roberto Luongo (VAN): GS: 60 (37-19-3) WIN% = .617 SV% = .916
5. (9) Evengi Nabokov (SAN): GS: 62 (37-15-9) WIN% = .597 SV% = .921
6. (7) Ryan Miller (BUF): GS: 60 (36-15-8) WIN% = .600 SV% = .929
7. (13) Craig Anderson (COL): GS: 62 (35-21-5) WIN% = .565 SV% = .922
8. (10) Marc-Andre Fluery (PIT): GS: 57 (33-18-5) WIN% = .579 SV% = .906
9. (16) Mikka Kiprusoff (CGY): GS: 62 (31-23-9) WIN% = .500 SV% = .923
10. (15) Jonas Hiller (ANA): GS: 54 (29-21-3) WIN% = .537 SV% = .917
11. (19) Henrik Lundquist (NYR): GS: 62 (28-26-8) WIN% = .452 SV% = .918
12. (5) Pekka Rinne (NAS): GS: 46 (28-13-4) WIN% = .609 SV% = .908
13. (14) Jimmy Howard (DET): GS: 51 (28-15-9) WIN% = .549 SV% = .924
14. (1) Jose Theodore (WAS): GS: 37 (26-7-6) WIN% = .703 SV% = .911
15. (11) Cristobal Huet (CHI): GS: 45 (26-13-4) WIN% = .578 SV% = .899
16. (18) Chris Mason (STL): GS: 53 (24-21-8) WIN% = .453 SV% = .911
17. (17) Nicklas Backstrom (MIN): GS: 49 (24-24-6) WIN% = .490 SV% = .904
18. (12) Brian Elliot (OTT): GS: 40 (23-17-3) WIN% = .575 SV% = .906
19. (20) Thomas Vokoun (FLA): GS: 58 (23-24-11) WIN% = .397 SV% = .923
20. (2) Jaroslav Halok (MON): GS: 35 (23-10-3) WIN% = .657 SV% = .928
In addition I think its important to note these statistics for Washington's other two goalies:
Semyon Varlamov GS: 19 (13-3-4) WIN% = .684 SV% = .911
Michal Neuvirth GS: 16 (9-4-0) WIN% = .563 SV% = .911
As you can see from the list above, when ranked by WIN% Jose Theodore is far above the rest. While he has only started 37, he has won 26, and gotten at least a point in 32 games. Jose Theodore will never be Martin Broduer, but for the 2009-2010 NHL season, Jose Theodore has proven his worth.