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The Noon Number: Holt-ing Down the Fort

A look at how the Caps' number one netminder is giving the team a chance to win on a regular basis

Rob Carr/Getty Images

.714 - Braden Holtby's Quality Start Percentage on the season (15 of 21), fourth-highest among goalies with more than a dozen starts and way up from the .558 mark he compiled over the last two seasons.

So what is "Quality Start Percentage"? Via HockeyReference:

Quality Starts and Quality Start Percentage were developed by Rob Vollman, and are described in his Hockey Abstract. Here is a brief description, but we encourage you to pick up a copy of his book for additional discussion of this statistic (and many others):

Quality Start (QS) is when the goalie achieves at least the mean save percentage (for the season) in a game. For the 2013-2014 season that percentage is 91.5%. So, if Tuukka Rask allows only 2 goals on 28 shots (a 92.9% save percentage), that is considered a Quality Start. There is an additional criteria for low shooting games: if a goalie faces 20 or fewer shots, he only needs to get an 88.5% save percentage. The relationship between save percentage and winning percentage (and hence the definition of Quality Start) is shown here (prior to 2009-2010):

Save % Win %
0.913 or better 0.777
0.900 to 0.912 0.536
0.885 to 0.899 0.503
0.884 or worse 0.246

Quality Start Percentage (QS%) is simply the number of Quality Starts / Games Started. This gives you a sense of how often the goalie has a Quality Start. A good rule of thumb for this stat is that anything less than 50% is bad, anything over 60% is among the league leaders, and the league average for an NHL regular is about 53.4%. Also, according to Vollman: "Based on the average of every goalie with fewer than ten starts in a season, the average for replacement -level goalies is 42.8% but, in fairness, there is some selectino bias involved in this since playing that poorly will generally limit you to ten start in the first place."

Tl;dr - Quality Start Percentage is how often you're putting your team in a good position to win a game. And Holtby has been doing that a lot lately. To wit, over his last dozen starts (since the November 4 overtime loss to Calgary), Holtby has given the Caps 11 Quality Starts and gone 8-2-1/1.81/.940 in those games (the one non-Quality Start was the 4-3 loss to Vancouver).

For much more on how Holtby (and Mitch Korn) have gotten things very much on track over the past month or so, check out Alex Prewitt's dispatch from yesterday.