Over the next month, SB Nation New York will take an in-depth look at the New Jersey Devils 2011-12 season, one that saw them defy expectations and end up on the losing end of a Stanley Cup championship run. We kicked things off yesterday with our season review, and today we'll dive into our individual player reviews, starting with Johan Hedberg.
Johan Hedberg carved out his place with the New Jersey Devils during the 2010-11 season, when the backup goalie became the stopgap for an injured Martin Brodeur. His performance inspired the "Moose" chants during games, and fans began wearing antlers to the games he started.
This season, he continued earning that praise, serving perfectly as the backup to Brodeur during the 2011-12 season. Hedberg ended the regular season with a stellar 17-7-2 in 27 games, with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. He also led the team with four shutouts, finishing one ahead of Brodeur. The 39-year old is no spring chicken, but he gave New Jersey exactly what it needed - a solid second option in net that could help the team win games.
Hedberg's Goals Versus Threshold (GVT)
Goals Versus Threshold, also known as GVT, is a statistic used to determine the value of one player over a replacement player. For stat heads, it's an attempt to truly define the contributions of a player on the ice at any time. This stat works especially well for goalies, and helps define their impact on the ice. For an in-depth explanation of the stat, check out Hockey Prospectus.
Hedberg turned in a plus-6.2 GVT, which ranked among the top 30 goalies in the entire league. Hedberg needs to credit his defense for that stellar rating. While a goalie has the ultimate responsibility to stop the puck, the defense can dictate the quality of chances. Hedberg made some absolutely beautiful saves this season, but also turned in solid performances when needed.
Will He Be Re-signed?
Hedberg is once again an unrestricted free agent, and may be a desired target for several teams interested in a quality backup. He's shown the ability to post solid performances, and can even excel when forced into starting duty. The Devils have solid goaltender depth in the minors, but most don't have NHL experience. With Brodeur already 40 years old, and planning on coming back next season, the Devils may feel more comfortable having an experienced backup on the bench. He made $1.25 million last season, a hefty price tag for a backup goalie.
The Moose already proved himself, and his worth, the past two seasons. He's a great option at backup, and should get some serious consideration in the offseason if he wants to return.