A season à la Ken Dryden

A Ken Dryden-style season


Boston Bruins stunner Linus Ullmark is just two wins away from becoming the first goaltender since Ken Dryden in 1977 to sign a 40-game winning campaign with less than 10 losses in his record. 

Recall that Dryden finished the 1976-77 season with a record of 41 wins, six losses and eight draws. The stalwart lawyer had landed ten brushstrokes while maintaining a .920 save percentage (an unpublished stat at the time) and a 2.14 goals-against-average. 

Ullmark, who topped our computerized rankings for the 18th week in a row, is 38-6-1 with a phenomenal .937 save percentage and 1.90 goals-against average. 

Dryden had occupied the net for the Canadiens for 56 games. Ullmark, who is at 47 outings, will likely end the season with 49 games played; maybe 50. With only two or three games left, he can't afford to lose if he wants to hit the 40-game mark. 

Ken Dryden, 41-6-8/.920/2.14 in 1976-77.

87% Consistency 

Here's where it gets interesting! Dryden's consistency index (starts of .900 or more in efficiency) was 61.8% in 1977, but Ullmark is in another ballpark at 87%. He has played for .900 in 40 of his 46 starts.

That's amazing! 

In fact, only the legendary Jacques Plante has done better (87.5  %) in 40 or more starts in NHL history and that was with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1970-71 at age 42. 

But let's keep our feet on the ground. As the Swede of the Bruins does not really blossom until the age of 29, we will not compare his career to those of Plante and Dryden. It illustrates all the same how much what he accomplishes, this season, is out of the ordinary. 

The Vézina and the cup! 

In 1977, the Canadian was alone in the race for the Vézina, which was then the equivalent of the Jennings trophy today. The Jennings is in the pocket for Ullmark and his assistant Jeremy Swayman since they have a 30-goal lead over the Hurricanes goaltenders.  

Also in 1977, the Canadian had flown over the NHL with a harvest of 132 points (60-8-12) and won the Stanley Cup by suffering only two losses against the New York Islanders in their playoff run. They had swept the Blues, as well as the Bruins in the Grand Final.  

One thing is certain, the eyes will be on the Bruins and Ullmark in the playoffs, but a question arises. Will coach Jim Montgomery dare to continue the system of alternation between Ullmark and Swayman? To be continued. 

Analytical statistics 

And the icing on the cake. As we have the privileged permission to share some microstats from Clear Sight Analytics, let's add that Ullmark is second in goals saved (31.95). In short, according to the quality of the shots received, he should have allowed 120 goals, but he only allowed 88, or 32 better than the average. Juuse Saros leads at 34.35.  

Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is on fire, is third at 28.84. Samuel Montebeault is 15th at 8.38 and Jake Allen 84th at -5.83. Jonathan Quick closes the parade at -27.65. 

It went well when he arrived with the Golden Knights, but now it gets complicated.

A season like Ken Dryden