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Ryan Miller Vs. Jonathan Quick Statistical Breakdown: Dual for No. 1 Team U.S. Olympic Goaltending Position

January 17th, 2014 at 9:00 AM
By Anthony Custode Jr

The anticipation of Team USA's Olympic roster is over as the names of the components of those that will represent the United States in the Men's Hockey Tournament were revealed on Jan. 1.

'Men's Gold Medal: Canada vs. USA' photo (c) 2010, s.yume - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

However, the No. 1 goaltender for the Americans has not been announced yet, although many fans of the Buffalo Sabres feel that Ryan Miller is a lock for the position.

Miller has the Olympic experience. His historic performance in 2010 cannot be overlooked. After all, it's not every day a runner-up is named an MVP. He is also excelling as a goaltender for the worst team in the NHL.

Jonathan Quick, Miller's main competition for the starting role, is a Stanley Cup champion. He won the Conn Smythe trophy for MVP of the NHL playoffs and is the backbone for the Los Angeles Kings. However, Quick has just returned from an injury.

Both netminders are excellent choices and the Americans are very fortunate for having such a tough debate. But who should be No. 1? Possibly a look at the statistics this season for each player will help narrow down the right choice.

  • Save Percentage: Miller has the upper-hand in this category. His .927 save percentage is good for No. 6 in the NHL among all goaltenders. Quick's save percentage sits at .917, which is 27th among netminders.
  • Shootouts: Miller is No. 1 with six shootout wins in the NHL this season. Quick is No. 7 in the league with four. Quick has allowed two goals on 15 shots in the shootout, while Miller has allowed nine goals on 34 shots. Shootouts are important because they are used to break a tie after a five-minute overtime session in Olympic hockey, whether it's a medal game or not. 
  • Goals Against Average: Quick has a 2.06 goals against average, which is good for 12th among NHL goaltenders. Miller's average is 2.59, which is ranked No. 42 in the NHL. However, the Sabres are far more defensively challenged than the Kings, and those numbers are a bit skewed, figuring the Ron Rolston reign in Buffalo, and Quick missing time due to injury.
  • Shots Against: Once again, another skewed category. Miller has faced the third-most shots in the NHL with 1,144 while Quick has faced 538 shots this year. Once again, this is impacted by Quick missing time with his injury. Still, it could play a role in determining who gets the nod, as Miller may be more comfortable with a high volume of shots.
  • Shutouts: Quick wins this category as he has two shutouts on the year. Miller has yet to earn one. 

Both Miller and Quick are viable options for Team USA, and there probably isn't a wrong choice between the two. Both are capable at playing on the big stage and both have the desire to win the gold for the Americans. 

Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, Jonathan Quick, NHL, Ryan Miller, United States

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