Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic spoke with NHL.com’s Kevin Woodley about the relatively high save percentage numbers being posted by NHL goalies this season:
The 2021-22 NHL season reached its quarter mark Sunday and total save percentage was .913, a five-point jump from the .908 save percentage posted last season. It’s the first time since 2015-16 that save percentage has increased from the previous season, and if sustainable would be the biggest single-season jump since save percentage rose from .903 in 2000-01 to .908 in 2001-02.
The question for the current increase is why?
“Mostly, goalies rule is the reason,” Detroit Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic wrote in a text message, adding a crying-with-laughter emoji. “Honestly, I don’t know.”
Though there doesn’t appear to be one definitive answer, Nedeljkovic did have some ideas as to why, using his game from Tuesday as an example. He made 41 saves in a 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins, improving his save percentage to .923 in 15 games.
“I think save percentage is one of those stats that can be a little skewed sometimes because you can have a game like I did tonight with 40-plus shots, but they really didn’t have that many quality shots,” Nedeljkovic said Tuesday. “We did a good job shutting them down in the middle. You can definitely say it’s because goalies are getting better, just like players are at scoring goals. We’re doing everything we can to stop the puck, but it helps the stats too when teams just throw pucks at the net, especially with limited traffic.”