An important goaltender statistic which indicates how many goals a goaltender allows per game on average. Goals-against average, or GAA, is calculated by taking the number of goals scored on a goaltender, multiplying that figure by 60 (the number of minutes in a standard NHL game), and dividing the result by the total number of minutes the goaltender has played so far (GAA = (goals scored on x 60) / minutes played).
Most goaltenders finish a season with a goals-against average of between 2.0 and 3.0. A goals-against average under 2.0 is excellent, and a GAA over 3.0 is considered high. However, because GAA depends on the number of goals scored on a goaltender, it is sometimes not a true indicator of a goaltender's skill, especially if he plays on a bad defensive team that will allow more goals than usual. The reverse is also true, as a goaltender who plays on a good defensive team may have a better GAA just because he has not faced many quality shots. A statistic that is a better indicator of a goaltender's skill is the save percentage, which relates the number of saves a goaltender makes to the number of shots he faces.
At the end of an NHL regular season, the goaltender(s) having played at least 25 games whose team has allowed the fewest goals in that season receive(s) the William Jennings Trophy. Although GAA is not a determining criteria for the winning the Jennings trophy, recipients of the Jennings Trophy often finish the season as the goaltender(s) with the lowest GAA.
The NHL record for lowest GAA during a regular season is held by Montreal Canadiens goaltender George Hainsworth (0.92 GAA, 1928-29 season). In the modern era, the record is held by Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff (1.69 GAA, 2003-04 season).