Getting to know Justin Peters

The Caps off-season signings of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen rightfully drew a lot more attention than the signing of Justin Peters as the teams’ backup goalie. Peters comes to the Caps from the Carolina Hurricanes, who drafted him in the 2nd round (38th overall) of the 2004 entry draft. In Carolina last year, Peters went 7-9-4 with a 2.50 GAA and of 91.9 save%.

The chart below, tweeted by Rob Vollman just before free agency opened, gives some context to Peters’ box score stats. Peters faced the toughest competition (the Y-axis in the chart below, determined by the average shooting % of opponents faced vs. the league) of any goalie who hit the open market on July 1st while also receiving relatively little goal supports (x-axis) Embedded image permalink

While the ability to measure the true quality of a goalie without factors such as team-effects skewing the numbers is difficult, 5-on-5 save %, while not perfect, is generally agreed upon as the best measure. The numbers below are combined totals from the past two seasons, showing how Peters compares to, for the sake of familiarity, Braden Hotlby and Michal Neuvirth.

Name 5 on 5 shots faced 5 on 5 save%
Braden Hotlby 1976 93.0%
Michal Neuvirth 617 91.9%
Justin Peters 895 91.1%

Small sample size warnings obviously apply here. Both the lockout and the fact that none of these guys held a job as a #1 goalie for the entirety of the two seasons limited the quantity of shots they each faced. However, the quick takeaway is that Holby is the superior goalie of the 3, while Peters is a backup-quality goalie.

Peters annual cap hit of $950,000 for the two years is currently 50th among NHL goalies, certainly a very reasonable contact. I consulted capgeek.com for a list of cap hit comparables for Peters. The chart below shows how Peters compares to 4 of those goalies since the start of the 2012-13 season.

Player Cap Hit Shots Faced 5-on-5 Save %
Thomas Greiss $1,000,000 619 93.4%
Ray Emery $1,000,000 893 92.2%
Justin Peters $950,000 895 91.1%
Anders Lindback $925,000 935 91.0%
Dan Ellis $900,000 1,070 90.2%

Again, sample size warnings apply. Peters 5-on-5 save% falls right in the middle of the 5 goalies, just as his cap hit does.

Justin Peters is a perfectly capable backup goalie, signed to a fair and reasonable contract.  Signing him sends the right message to Braden Holtby (that the #1 job is his) while also allowing Philipp Grubauer to get plenty of playing time as the starter in Hershey.

About Pat Holden

Pat writes regularly about hockey on Brooks Laichyear and Russian Machine Never Breaks. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com and The Washington Post. You can follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pfholden

Posted on September 16, 2014, in hockey, NHL, Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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