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NHL and AHL Shootouts 2005-2011

The AHL gives us an interesting testbed for goaltending statistics - while the NHL gives very few reps to goaltenders who are below replacement level, the AHL is primary below-replacement goalies, along with NHL-caliber goalies who have yet to be promoted. Here are the totals over the last six seasons:

Goals Shots Sv%
NHL Total 2078 6347 673
AHL Total 2480 7884 685
AHL No NHL 823 2569 680
< 300 Shots 827 2551 676
> 300 Shots 830 2764 700

The first line is the save percentage for all shootout shots taken in the NHL; line 2 is for the AHL. Line 3 is the AHL save percentage by goaltenders who did not play in the NHL; Line 4 is for players who faced 1-300 shots in the NHL; and Line 5 is essentially goaltenders who became regulars in the NHL. It's very likely that there's a true talent difference between those two groups.

Incidentally, if we look at goaltenders who faced between 25% and 75% of their total shootout shots in the NHL, they posted a 718 save percentage in the AHL and a 677 save percentage in the NHL. This is obviously in a much smaller sample size, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was also a not-insignificant difference in shooter skill in the NHL vs the AHL!