At the trade deadline there was a rumor that the Avs were looking to trade Paul Stastny to the Kings for one of their two goalies (either Starter Jonathon Quick or the talented backup Bernier). Now people seem to be ratchiting up this kind of proposal once again, especially with the draft going on.

Read my lips: This is a dumb idea.

In fact, trading Stastny for any goalie (or any goalie that a team would be willing to trade away) would be a dumb idea.

There are some fans who this appeals to, and I can understand the appeal. From casual Avs fans’ perspective or, more sinisterly, someone who occasionally checks the teams scores in the paper, and has a bewildering grudge against certain players that apparently aren’t flashy enough for him so they tell anyone unfortunate enough to listen to him, or her, why that player isn’t a good fit without any evidence to really back it up, trading for a great goalie makes sense, and here’s why.

‘95-04 Roy Era:: Avs Great
‘04-06 Aebischer/Theo Era:: Avs deteriorate
‘06-09 Theo/Budaj/Raycroft era: Avs suck
‘09-10 Good Anderson: Avs good
‘10-11 Bad Andy/Budaj/Elliott: Avs suck

When looking at this, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that a team is only as good as it’s goaltender. It’s also the wrong conclusion, because it omits scores of other data that provide a ton more nuance and reason to the simplistic narrative.

There’s little doubt the Avs need to improve their goaltending situation. Right now the only NHL calibre goalie on the roster is Brian Elliott* (and that statement in and of itself is debatable).

I suggest you take a look at Jonathon Willis’ goaltender analysis for the Edmonton Oilers

I went ahead and did a similar analysis for potential Avs netminders next season.

Lets look at 7 different goaltenders that are available (via trade or FA) next season: Budaj, Elliott, Vokoun, Quick, Harding, Giguere, Conklin. Below I have listed their stats for the last 3 years combined at ES, PK (called PP) and a man up (confusingly called SH):

Goalie ES Sh ES GA ES sv% PPsh PP GA PP sv% SH sh SH GA SH sv%
Budaj 2535 221 0.913 545 90 0.835 71 5 0.930
Elliott 2954 275 0.907 687 91 0.868 120 7 0.942
Vokoun 4606 318 0.931 924 103 0.889 159 11 0.931
Quick 3772 296 0.922 867 110 0.873 119 11 0.908
Harding 1566 123 0.921 347 45 0.870 70 7 0.900
Giguere 2374 209 0.912 634 84 0.868 74 8 0.892
Conklin 1869 165 0.912 453 56 0.876 57 2 0.965

Now, let’s look at these numbers when applied to the Avs. Assume Elliott is the backup, and the other 6 goalies would be the starter. Each Starter gets 60 starts, and Elliott gets 22.

ES Sh ES GA ES sv% PPsh PP GA PP sv% SH sh SH GA SH sv% GA
Avs 10-11 2094 193 0.908 442 74 0.834 59 6 0.896 272
Vokoun/Elliott 2094 158 0.925 442 52 0.883 59 4 0.934 214
Quick/Elliott 2094 172 0.918 442 57 0.872 59 5 0.917 234
Harding/Elliott 2094 173 0.918 442 58 0.870 59 5 0.911 235
Giguere/Elliott 2094 180 0.914 442 52 0.883 59 5 0.912 237
Conklin/Elliott 2094 188 0.910 442 56 0.874 59 2 0.959 246
Budaj/Elliott 2094 186 0.911 442 69 0.844 59 4 0.933 259

Good news: no matter what the Avs do, even a Budaj/Elliott tandem, they are likely to improve. (Which makes sense, as the goalies last year had an abnormally horrid year, even for them). You’ll notice That Vokoun is the best option and an average year from him and Elliott would drop the Avs GA 58 goals. With 6 goals being equivalent to a win (standard issue for th Corsiatti and a calc I’m not going through here), that’s 9.5 wins (19 points). That’s a huge improvement from last year (14th in the west to 11th).

But the interesting stat is how much getting Quick over other options in FA wouldn’t save much of anything. You would get a 1 GA difference over Harding, and 3 over Giguere. Even over professional backup Ty Conklin, you only get 12 goals difference, which is 2 wins.

Of course, all those goalies have their risks... Harding is coming off major surgery, Giguere is getting older and his most recent stats aren’t as good as his 3-year ones. Conklin is a backup and old. But Quick has a downside too.... losing Stastny. All for marginal gain.

The Avs don’t even really get the cap space bonus out of it, because they are so far under the salary floor they are going to need to throw money at people just to reach it. Another $6.6M, when the forward market is wafer thin, is guaranteed to result in overpaying someone, worse than you may be overpaying Stastny right now (Case in point after Brad Richards the best Center UFA is Tim Connelly).

If Quick were on the UFA market, he’d make an excellent choice, but giving up an asset, especially one like Stastny, to get one would be very poor asset management. There are other goalies out there who are just as good who will sign for cheaper and provide equivalent goaltending worth.