The Ultimate Guide to What is a Good Save Percentage in Hockey?

What determines a good game? The performance indicates the level of interest in any game. So, everyone is concerned about performance. In hockey, the goalie plays one of the critical roles. Which goalie is performing well? Who is the top goalie in the NHL? Hockey teams and fans wonder. 

The difference between a top goalie and one still struggling lies in their performance. One of the methods to measure a goalie’s performance is to find out his save percentage, the number of times a goalie successfully made a save. 

So, what would be a good save percentage? Generally, a good goalie’s save percentage should be 0.915% or more significant than this. In the NHL, the average save percentage has been 0.910. So, if you want to stand out and perform better, you need to have a save percentage greater than the average. And this is what all goalies try to do.

Let’s break down the save percentage in the NHL and how it is calculated. Additionally, who is the all-time career leader in save percentage, and also for the season of 2021-22?

What is the save percentage, and how is it calculated?

Save percentage is one of the NHL statistics that define the percentage of the total shots a goalie has saved. To calculate the save percentage, you need to divide the number of saves by the total number of shots the goalie saved. 

The following table will help you understand the concept of the save percentage. 

PlayerSavesShots Against Save Percentage
Carey Price30301.000
Hendrik Lundqvist23250.920
Marc-Andre Fleury21270.778

Let us analyze the table. 

Carey Price has shown exceptional performance and stopped all the shots that he faced, so he stands on top. 

Hendrik Lundqvist saved 23 shots against the total 25 shots he faced and missed 2 shots. That makes his total save percentage 0.920%. 

Marc-Andre Fleury saved 21 shots out of the total 25 shots and missed 6. Therefore, his percentage is 0.778%, which is lower than the average goalie’s save percentage. And that is how we look at the goalies’ save percentages in the NHL.

What is a good save percentage?

So, what do you think will be a good save percentage? Good is consistently above average. A good goalie has a save percentage above the average.  So, a good save percentage will be 0.915% or even more. The average percentage is 0.910%. 

NHL best save percentage 2021 – 2022

Below is the list of best goalies having the best save percentage in the 2021-2022 season.

RankPlayerTeamSave PercentageGoal Against Average
1Charlie LindgrenSTL0.9581.22
2Louis DominguePIT0.9522.02
3Spencer MartinVAN0.9501.74
4Michael HouserBUF0.9482.00
5Daniil TarasovCBJ0.9372.40
6Garret SparksLAK0.9361.85
7Keith KinkaidNYR0.9352.00
8Igor ShesterkinNYR0.9352.07
9Ilya SorokinNYI0.9252.40
10Zachary FucaleWSH0.9241.75
Top 10 Best Save Percentages of NHL 2021-2022

Charlie Lindgren is the top goalie of the NHL season 2021-22 with a save percentage of 0.958%, which is a terrific performance.  

The goalies who showed the worst performance were:

  • Michael McNiven, with a 0.571%
  • Thomas Hodges with a 0.667%
  • Hugo Alnefelt with a 0.700%
  • Carter Hutton, with a 0.741%
  • Jack LaFontaine with a 0.780%

All the goalies must have a save percentage of at least 0.910, with 0.915% preferable. A percentage under 0.900 is unacceptable; if continued, it may send the goalie out of the team. 

This is because such a low save percentage is dangerous for the teams. Teams cannot win if a goalie lets in so many goals and has such a low save percentage. To help your team win,  you need to make more saves, and more saves result in a higher save percentage.

A 0.01% difference in the percentage equals ten to twenty goals per year. This decides a team’s position in the NHL standings, determining whether your team will qualify for the playoffs.  

Hence, these save percentages are incredibly crucial for goalies and the teams as a whole. The impact is enormous. 

Save percentage vs goals against average

Save percentage, and the Goals Against Average GAA are vital statistics for determining how well goalies perform in hockey games. 

The goal against average statistic determines how many goals, on average, were let in in a single game. The goal-against average shows a team’s performance collectively, while the save percentage is about an individual goalie’s performance. Both are essential in knowing the overall performance picture. A good goalie has a low goals-against average and high saves percentage. 

High-danger shots and high danger save percentage

As the hockey world advances, new methods and points of view are also developed. The save percentage is now also analyzed by the high-danger shots and the high-danger percentage. 

This means that not all shots are the same. There are some shots that the goalie must save because they are pretty straightforward. On the other hand, some shots are high-danger shots originating from high slot areas. These are the shots that are difficult to stop. 

For example, Ben Bishop has a 0.878 HD save percentage, and Jaroslav Halak has a 0.889%.  The lowest HD save percentage was of Roberto Luongo, who was 0.787 HD%. (Source)

Best save percentage for a career

The following table will show you the best save percentages of players careers.

RankPlayer NameYearsSave Percentage
1Dominik Hasek1990-080.9223%
2Johnny Bower1953-700.9219%
3Ken Dryden1970-790.9215%
4Tuukka Rask2007-220.9210%
5Ben Bishop2008-200.9205%
6Tim Thomas2002-140.9199%
7Jacques Plante1952-730.9197%
8Juuse Saros2015-230.9197%
9Andrei Vasilevskiy2014-230.9191%
10Roberto Luongo1999-190.9187%

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average save number per hockey game?

Goaltenders had an average of 25.00 saves all the time in a single hockey game.

Which percentage is considered below average or not good for a further career?

Above 0.920% is considered an elite save percentage and automatically brings the goalie to the NHL All-Star game. However, below 0.900 is considered a below-save percentage and a lousy percentage.

Conclusion

So, this is all about the save percentage, which is one of the critical indicators of the goalie’s performance in the NHL. NHL teams want a high save percentage with good offensive scoring and need to ice a backup that can give a high save rate (average 0.910 SV%).

Hence, a goalie’s save percentage must be 0.915% or more, and the average save percentage needs to be 0.910%.

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