A few weeks ago when Frederik Andersen was really struggling I wrote an article looking at whether his struggles were out of the norm relative to the rest of his career and found that they weren’t. Andersen’s first five games with the Leafs did not have good results, but it was just the kind of rough patch that goalies will have from time-to-time, and I said that he’d likely bounce back. In the 11 games that Andersen’s played since then his SV% is .931. As has been typical of his career, after a period with bad results, Andersen followed up by playing very well.
The other Leafs goalie, Jhonas Enroth, has undergone a similar struggle. He’s made five appearances this season, posting a SV% of just .886. Should we expect him to bounce back too, or should we be worried that he’s hit a new career low?
When I looked at Frederik Andersen, I posted the following chart, showing a rolling five-game average of his SV% to that point in his career:
The chart shows what you’d expect for pretty much any goalie: that his performance fluctuates a lot, and that any particular five-game stretch doesn’t tell us too much about his real talent. Let’s take a look at the same info for Enroth:
You can see essentially the same pattern. There’s a lot of volatility in the results. Enroth has hit some very low valleys, but they’re almost always followed by high peaks. Enroth is currently going through one of the worst stretches of his career, but it’s still a good deal better than his very worst stretch about 40 games ago.
You could argue that his lowest points are lower than they used to be, and that’s true, but I wouldn’t read too much into it. Andersen also seems to be hitting lower low points recently, but both goalies have also hit some of their highest peaks in the past year or so as well. That’s just the way it goes. It’s possible that Enroth’s ability is deteriorating a bit, but it’s still too early to say for sure.
The Leafs also have a third goalie hanging around right now, as Karri Ramo has been practicing with the team and has even been given a stall in the locker room. That would seem to indicate that the Leafs are considering signing him when he finishes rehabbing from his most recent injury.
For the sake of comparison, let’s see what Ramo’s five-game rolling SV% chart looks like:
Just like the other goalies, Karri Ramo’s rolling SV% fluctuates quite a bit. He’s gone down around .880 or lower just as often as Enroth has, while his peaks show a similar pattern as well. There’s no real pattern here to suggest that Ramo is any more reliable than Enroth, or that he’s any less likely to put up five games as bad as the five that Enroth has just played.
Enroth and Ramo aren’t separated by much in career SV% (.909 vs .906, respectively), nor are they much different over the past three seasons (.909 vs .907). Enroth has been slightly better, and he’s a few years younger, which makes it less likely that his numbers will decline, but in general there isn’t a large talent gap between them.
All of this is to suggest that the Leafs should probably just stick with Enroth. His current rough stretch is very likely just a temporary blip, and he should be fine moving forward. On top of that, there’s no real evidence that Ramo would do a better job, so there isn’t much incentive for the Leafs to make the switch. Enroth’s been a reliable back-up goalie in the NHL for several seasons now, and he’s likely to remain so over the rest of this season.