Goals Against Average: How To Calculate GAA And What It Is

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GAA, or Goals Against Average is one of the 3 most important statistics used to measure how well a goalie is performing. The calculation used to determine GAA is the number of goals allowed multiplied by 60 and dividing this by the number of minutes played ((Goals Allowed x 60)/Minutes Played). GAA is a 3 digit number with a decimal always following the first digit. A perfect GAA is 0.00.

Think of a goalie’s GAA as you’d think of a pitcher’s ERA. In modern-day statistics, things like GSAA and WAR have begun to take precedence over the ERA and GAA.

Sample Goals Against Average Calculations

Scenario #1: The team loses 3-1 and an empty-net goal was scored. The goalie played until the final minute of a 60-minute game.Β 

Math: 2×60 = 120. 120/59 = 2.03

Since empty-net goals are not counted against a goalie, it is not taken into consideration when calculating a goalie’s GAA.

Scenario #2: team loses 2 to 0 and the goalie played for 30 minutes of a 60-minute game. Both goals were scored in the first 30 minutes while the goalie was in the game.

Math:Β since the goalie was in the game for both goals, both are used against the goalie. 2×60 = 120. 120/30 = 4.00.

Do Empty Net Goals Count As A Goal Against?

Empty net goals are not counted against a goalies save percentage or goals against average. Whenever a goalie leaves the ice surface or begins to exit the crease, their minutes played are stopped. If a goalie leaves the ice at 59:01 of a 60-minute game, their minutes played and shots/saves are stopped at 59:01. Anything that takes place after 59:01 is not taken into consideration when calculating either statistic.

Is GSAA or GAA Better for Measuring How Well A Goalie Is Playing?

GSAA, or goals saved against average, is a statistic used to compare a goalie against his or her field of goalies in a given league. Both are important, but to truly measure where a goalie stacks up against their level of competition and how well other teams are playing, GSAA should be used.

What Is A Good Goals Against Average?

In the NHL, the average GAA varies from 2.00 to 3.00 and has done so for the past 5+ years. Generally speaking, a goalie with a GAA below 2.25 is considered to be an elite goalie at his or her level of play. 2.25 to 2.9 are average GAA statistics, and anything 2.9 and above is considered below average.

Is Save Percentage or GAA Better?

Save Percentage is a better statistic to measure how well a goalie is playing if only one option were available. While there is a direct correlation between an above-average Save Percentage and a good Goals Against Average, GAA can vary wildly from game to game while Save Percentage is a more steady statistic.