Review of Beleskey and Williams impact on save percentages

Last off season two of the better wingers on the unrestricted free agent market were Matt Beleskey and Justin Williams. In the analytics community Williams is generally lauded as a possession king and and undervalued player while Beleskey was pointed out as the unrestricted free agent most likely to be over paid (turned out he ended up with a lower than expected deal but still some figured he was still over paid).

At the time I wrote a summary of these two free agent wingers and said while Williams had dominant possession statistics he has generally had a negative impact on his teams save percentage when he was on the ice. Conversely Beleskey seemed to have a positive impact.

Beleskey’s Sv%Rel numbers are what really got me to investigate him far more deeply. He has posted positive Sv%RelTM numbers for five straight years (2010-11 not shown) and they seem to be improving as well.  Contrast that to Justin Williams who has had a negative Sv%RelTM in four of the past 5 seasons with only 2012-13 breaking that trend.


  • There is ample evidence that Justin Williams possession (corsi) statistics are over inflating his value as he has fairly consistently had a poor influence on both shooting and save percentages.
  • There is also ample evidence that Justin Williams is already into his declining years and giving him a longer term contract may not be wise.
  • Beleskey on the other hand appears to be better overall than his possession statistics indicate and also appears to still be improving in all aspects of the game as he has entered his prime years.

Now that the season has ended lets have a look at how these two players finished the season.

  • Beleskey’s 5v5close Sv% RelTM was +1.2
  • Williams’ 5v5close Sv% RelTM was -2.4

Despite changing teams, the trend for both of these players continued. This was devastating for Williams as his decent +1.2 CF% RelTM ended up being a dismal -8.2 GF%. That is pretty much in line with the -5.0 and -8.4 CF% RelTM he posted the previous two seasons. While Williams may be a good possession player he may not be a good player overall.