NHL Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA) Explained

Let’s talk about goals saved above average (GSAA). When it comes to hockey goaltending statistics, GSAA is arguably the most important metric out there, but what does it mean?

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Lucy for you, our goals saved above average covers all the bases. If you bet on the NHL and want to take your game to the next level, be sure to stick around to learn about the ins and outs of GSAA.

How Does Goals Saved Above Average Work in Hockey?

Although GSAA is a relatively new statistic, it has swiftly become one of the go-to metrics for NHL analysts, fans and bettors. GSAA measures a goaltender’s play compared to the rest of the goalies in their league, giving us an indication of their ability.

A positive goals saved above average is the number of goals the goaltender has saved compared to a league-average goalie. In this instance, the higher the number, the better the goalie. On the flip side, negative GSAA numbers indicate that the goalie is performing below the level of the league average.

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How to Calculate Goals Saved Above Average

To calculate goals saved above average, you assess a goaltender’s performance by comparing the goals they’ve allowed against what an average goalie in the league would concede given the same number of shots. This involves calculating the league’s average save percentage based on the shots faced by the goalie.

The resulting figure represents the expected number of goals a league-average goalie would allow. By subtracting this number from the evaluated goalie’s actual performance, you get either a positive or negative value, indicating their performance relative to the league average.

In a more concise form, goals saved above average can be calculated as the product of the league’s save percentage and the shots faced, with the result subtracting the goals conceded by the goalie in question.

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How Can NHL Bettors Utilize GSAA?

While you shouldn’t rely solely on GSAA to predict NHL games, the statistic can be very useful if you use it correctly. You can use GSAA numbers to support multiple betting markets, from moneylines and totals to props and futures.

If a team possesses a goalie with positive GSAA numbers, backing them to win or to concede a low number of goals makes a lot of sense. Conversely, a team with a goalie who sits at the bottom of the GSAA rankings is more likely to lose and concede a greater number of goals.

NHL bettors can also utilize goals saved above average when it comes to predicting the winner of the Stanley Cup. In a sample of seven NHL seasons between 2014-15 and 2020-21, teams with a goalie in the top 12 of the GSAA rankings won the Stanley Cup six out of seven times.

If you’re interested in more goaltending stats, we also recommend learning about Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAE). NHL bettors can combine GSAA numbers with GSAE percentages to enhance their chances of winning money.

Learn how NHL high-danger scoring chances works next.

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Todd Watson
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