The Arizona Coyotes haven’t been a good team this year, and they’re currently sitting close to the basement of the NHL standings. That poor performance has come despite the best efforts of netminder Karel Vejmelka, though, who has greatly impressed this season.
While Vejmelka’s box score numbers don’t jump off the page, (he has a .902 save percentage, 3.38 goals-against-average, and 11-15-4 record) looking a bit deeper into how the Czech goalie has performed reveals just how well he’s played in Arizona.
MoneyPuck’s goals saved above expected metric, which tracks how well a goalie has performed relative to how an average goalie would be expected to perform, ranks Vejmelka ninth in the entire NHL. He’s nipping at the heels of some of the NHL’s best netminders such as Igor Shesterkin and Andrei Vasilevskiy in that metric, which speaks volumes to the level he’s played at this year.
Vejmelka has frequently kept the Coyotes afloat in games despite being at a major talent disadvantage, and has stolen games that the team, on paper, had no right winning.
He’s still just 26 years old, and costs just $2.725MM against the cap for the next two seasons. While his track record is admittedly thin (he is untested in the playoffs and has just 83 NHL games on his resume) his play this year has left quite the impression.