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Can NHL goaltenders control rebounds?

The wonderfully-titled blog Brodeur is a Fraud digs into the question of just how effective Marty Brodeur is at controlling rebounds relative to Scott Clemmensen, who tended the New Jersey net for a few months this year, using data that I provided. More importantly, perhaps, the article also investigates whether rebound control (like many other secondary goaltending traits, like puckhandling) is a significant factor in overall play.

According to the NHL play-by-play data, New Jersey took out one of the best rebound controlling goalies in the league and put in one of the worst, and not only improved their numbers from previous years but ended up among the league leaders in fewest rebound shots against.

How is this possible? Based on this result and other evidence, I think rebound control is an overrated skill. That is not to say it is unimportant, just that it gets overly emphasized in terms of its impact on goals against. This is for the same reason that most non-save goalie skills are overrated: Because the rest of the team can compensate for it.

Good stuff as always over at BiaF, always questioning the conventional wisdom.