I am always astonished by how much I get critiqued about shot quality and whether it exists or not and whether it is important or not. I get even more criticism if I ever bring up the idea that defenders can have an ability to boost save percentage. To me this is the most baffling thing I have come across in hockey analytics. Let me explain why.
I would hazard a guess that everyone that criticizes me about my belief in shot quality and ability of players to drive shooting or save percentages absolutely believes in score effects. This is why we have score adjusted stats. To summarize score effects, when a team is protecting a lead they generate fewer shots for but post a higher shooting percentage while giving up more shots against and posting a higher save percentage. Matt Cane wrote a good article about about score effects which I recommend you read if you are not familiar with the concept. Score effects is a well established concept within the hockey analytics community and no one really disputes it.
What baffles me is that the same people that believe that teams can essentially boost their goalies save percentage when they are defending a lead will rebel against the very idea that a guy whose primary role is to play shut down defensive hockey (exactly what teams often do when defending a lead) might actually have an ability to boost their goalies save percentage. A guy like Brandon Sutter for example. Or maybe Dion Phaneuf the past several years with the Leafs. It absolutely boggles my mind that otherwise smart people (including some currently working for NHL teams) can believe in score effects but will absolutely resist the idea that individual players can systematically boost save percentage during 5v5 close/tied situations.
If you are evaluating players, especially players that have a well defined role that is heavily offensive oriented or heavily defensive oriented, then you will absolutely be missing out on important information if you are only looking at shot totals.
Here are 5v5close Sv%RelTM stats since 2010 of a few players that seem to be able to boost their goalies save percentage.