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In this free agency, the Senators addressed their goaltending concerns by signing Joonas Korpisalo to a 5-year $20 million contract. The Sens are hoping that he can finally be their starting goalie to get them to the postseason. And I believe that he absolutely can be the guy who gets the team over the hump. In this article, I will break down why I believe Korpisalo is exactly the kind of goalie that the Senators need.
Elite At Stopping High-Danger Chances
Joonas Korpisalo is the kind of goalie who excels at stopping shots from high-danger areas. Last season, Joonas Korpisalo had the sixth-best high-danger save percentage among NHL starters according to Evolving-Hockey. The Senators have been a team over the last few years whose biggest weakness has been limiting chances to opponents.
The offence has not been a problem, but keeping opponents from dangerous areas has. While it’s not the perfect solution to rely on Korpisalo to stop the chances, it is better than what they had.
Strong Results At 5v5
Joonas Korpisalo is also a goaltender who was very successful at 5v5 this season. He posted a .923 SV% at even strength which was among the best in the league, and this is very valuable to the Sens because they have such strong special teams. Before the injury to Travis Hamonic occurred in January (1/3/23), the Senators had one of the very best penalty kills in the NHL. The Sens ranked 8th in the league with a penalty kill percentage of 82.1%.
Why is this important? While some credit needs to be given to the goaltenders for playing well on the kill, it is clear the Sens PK personnel was very good short-handed. For a goaltender like Korpisalo, who excelled at 5v5, the Sens’ strong penalty kill could cover up some of his weaknesses when killing penalties.
Joonas Korpisalo Has The Ability To Steal A Game
One of the main reasons the Sens were unable to make the playoffs this season was because their goaltending was subpar, and could not steal a game for the team. Fans need not be reminded of the terrible November stretch this team faces year in and year out.
This season from October 27th to November 23rd, the Sens put up a 2-11 record. Most of these losses were 1 or 2 (with empty net) goal games, where their goaltending ranged from average to terrible. The only exceptions to this was their games against Florida, where they got a team save percentage of .914%, and a game against Philadelphia where they got a team save percentage of .929%. The next highest SV% in a loss was .902 SV% with the average coming out to .865%.
The two wins that came in this stretch saw outstanding goaltending performances. The first was a 4-1 win over Philadelphia, where the team save percentage was .974%, and the second was a 4-1 win over Buffalo, where the team save percentage was .967%. The team needed their goaltenders to step up big, and they did on a couple of occasions.
Korpisalo is a goaltender who can put up these elite-level games in a season. This is especially true in the playoffs where he has had several elite-level games. Korpisalo singlehandedly willed the Blue Jackets past the Maple Leafs on a playoff run where he posted a .941 SV% and a 1.90 GAA in 9 games.
Has A Previous Relationship With Anton Forsberg
This may seem like a less important piece to the puzzle with Korpisalo, but it is more valuable than many realize. Having a goaltending tandem of two guys with a solid relationship that can rely upon and help one another is key. Korpisalo and Forsberg were teammates with each other in Lake Eerie (AHL) where they won a Calder Cup Championship.
This should also help Korpisalo adjust to Ottawa with Forsberg being a familiar face to talk with. Hopefully, the two of them will be spending plenty of time together this season in Ottawa.
While fans have the right to be uneasy at the idea of offering another goaltender long-term with a decently high salary, I have far more faith in Korpisalo compared to Matt Murray. Korpisalo wants to be here, and he is coming off one of the best seasons in his career.
We will have to wait and see how the Joonas Korpisalo/Ottawa Senators experiment goes, but I believe it will be a success for the Sens organization.
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3 responses to “Why Joonas Korpisalo Is The Type Of Goaltender The Senators Needed”
[…] Why Joonas Korpisalo Is The Type Of Goaltender The Senators Needed SensNews […]
You’ve certainly looked into the stats a lot more than I have, all I know is three clubs have given up on him, and watching him in the preseason tells me he’s an overactive goalie. Frequently slides out of position, relies on his long frame and speed to catch up to his small mistakes.
This is not a good style to have on a very weak defensive team like our beloved Sens. Prediction, he’ll be traded or bought out after 2 seasons, while Dorion prays our big lunk in the minors learns how to stop a puck.