2020 Vision: How a Successful Season for Joonas Korpisalo Looks and Why It Could Be a Disappointing One

By Ben Jandrain on October 3, 2019 at 6:00 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo makes a save in a regular-season matchup against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena in January of 2019.
Geoff Burke- USA TODAY Sports
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Joonas Korpisalo will see plenty of action in net during the 2019-20 season for the Columbus Blue Jackets. It's no secret the goalie position for Columbus hasn't been talked about as a strength for the club. However – just like every season – we'll have to wait and see how things turn out.

Here's a bit of a deep dive as to why Korpisalo could have a successful year, as well as why it could turn out as a disappointment:

The successful version of Korpisalo

Joonas Korpisalo has played his best hockey when he's played the most.

Let's go back to his first action in the National Hockey League at the age of 21.

Joonas Korpisalo's Rookie Season
Season Age GP GS W L T/O SV% GAA
2015-16 21 31 30 16 11 4 .920 2.60

Korpisalo didn't get any time on the ice until the 14th of December that season.  As you can see above, the results were impressive - as he recorded a .920 save percentage and a winning record while starting in net regularly.  

Korpisalo got better with repetition, too. In his first six appearances during his rookie season, he went 1-4-1 with a .882 SV%. In the following 25 appearances, Korpisalo had a record of 15-7-3 along with a .927 SV%.  It's important to note the improvement made over time during that season.  It can be difficult for backup goaltenders to get used to game action and find a rhythm. Despite a rather small sample size when it comes to him being the starter during his four-year tenure to date in Columbus – the record shows he performed at his best when he was the No. 1 goaltender.


Hypothetically, if Korpisalo gets a rather steady number of starts, he's shown the ability to improve throughout a season. Add a solid group of defensemen in front of him and something special could be cooking. 

A successful season for Korpisalo would probably consist of about 50-65 starts, an SV% between .905 and .930 and at least 30 wins. 

When Korpisalo is at his best, he's consistent in net.  In his career, he's only had one shutout but has shown the ability to get hot on occasion. 

The disappointing version of Korpisalo 

Unfortunately, the numbers suggest Korpisalo hasn't been improving during his time as a Blue Jacket goaltender. 

Joonas Korpisalo's Career Statistics
Season Age GP GS W L T/O SV% GAA QS QS%
2015-16 21 31 30 16 11 4 .920 2.60 16 .533
2016-17 22 14 13 7 5 1 .905 2.88 6 .462
2017-18 23 18 17 8 8 1 .897 3.32 7 .412
2018-19 24 27 21 10 7 3 .897 2.95 8 .381

Perhaps the most concerning statistic is the steady drop in quality start percentage.  A goalie with 53% of his starts being of the quality variety is considered average, making Korpisalo fairly below average for most of his time in net.  

So, what does a bad season look like for Korpisalo?

The Blue Jackets would likely get off to a cold start and Elvis Merzlikins would be thrust into the starting position.  Korpisalo starts 25-50 games with an SV% between .880 and .904 (hopefully not any lower) and records 25 or fewer wins. 

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