A Few Projections on the Number of Goals the Devils will Score in 2013

Mike Stobe

A few projections on the number of goals the Devils will score and the number they may need to secure a playoff spot in the 2013 playoffs.

The NHL season is underway in almost 24 hours! There has been a lot talk around the Internet that the New Jersey Devils will not be as good as they were in the 2011-12 season. The Devils made it to the Stanley Cup Final, yet they are ranked in the bottom third of the league by ESPN and #15 by TSN. Sure, the Devils lost Zach Parise, Alexei Ponikarovsky, and possibly Petr Sykora, three of their top eight scorers. But is that enough to disregard the Devils as a playoff team?

John makes the argument that the Devils will need to get 56 points in 48 games to make the playoffs. I wholeheartedly agree with this point threshold. So, to get to 56 points, the Devils will need to win 28 games, or maybe a few less wins with a couple of OT /SO losses.

Therefore, I'm going to go one more level and try and predict if the Devils can win that many games given their personnel, the number of goals they can score, and the number of goals they will allow.

Overall, the Devils collected 102 points in 82 games by scoring 228 goals and allowing 209 goals. I'll discuss the goals allowed aspect first because it is largely the same as last season. The Devils are returning the same goaltending duo and the same defense as last season. Some argue that the goalies are aging and that may be a problem in a shortened season. However, the defense will only get better this season with Adam Larsson growing into a top NHL defenseman and the rest of the defensemen continuing their solid play from last season. Therefore, the Devils would likely give up close to 209 goals in a full season. That's 2.548 goals allowed per game, or in 48 games, the Devils will give up 122 goals. I feel very certain with this projection.

Next up, predicting the number of goals the Devils will score in 2013... A little less straightforward.

Prediction based off total goals:

The forwards that left the Devils this offseason combined for 67 goals last season. That's almost 30% of their "goals for" total. The Devils did add Bobby Butler and Krystofer Barch. Those two combined for a whopping 8 goals last season. Therefore, the Devils would be short 59 goals over 82 games. In 48 games, the Devils will score 99 goals if we go off of last season's totals. However, this prediction is just a starting point.

Prediction based off goals per game:

The prediction above is too basic in that players may score more or less if they play more. For example, Travis Zajac was on the roster, but only played in 15 games, limiting his potential and skewing the goals he would have scored in a full season. I gathered two measures of goals scored per game, last season's GPG and lifetime GPG by player. This gives two projections of possible goals and I believe the Devils goal total may fall within this range. I also included a total with Petr Sykora since I am optimistic and believe the Devils will sign him in 2013. Given the current players on the roster, we can expect the Devils to score the total amounts below:

2012 GPG

Lifetime GPG

Projected Goals in 2013:

166

131

(With Sykora):

178

146

One note about the projection, it assumes all players will play 48 games. Therefore, the numbers may be high by a few goals (3 or 4). If the Devils can sustain either of these projections, I feel they have a strong chance of making it to 56 points and securing a playoff spot. If the Devils sign Sykora, they stand an even better chance of making the playoffs. However, I took the analysis one step deeper and looked at shooting percentages.

Prediction based off shooting percentage:

In order to create these predictions, I had to predict the number of shots each player may generate in 48 games. I looked at average shots taken in a season by each player and the amount of ice time to base the number of shots each player will take in the 48 game season. I then applied each players shooting percentage from 2012 and from their entire career.

2012 S%

Lifetime S%

Projected Goals in 2013:

129

107

(With Sykora):

141

118

Overall, these numbers are lower than the GPG predictions. If the Devils fall within these numbers, a playoff spot may not be a certainty. These projections do leave out the possibility of a young player having a breakout season or becoming a solid contributor on a second or third line (Josefson, Tedenby).

My best guess looking at these projections is that the Devils may score 125 to 135 goals this season. This goal total would be right in line with grabbing an eight seed in the East. What do you think about the Devils scoring ability with the current personel? Can they put up 130 goals and secure a playoff spot or will they fall flat without Parise and Sykora? However many goals the Devils score this season, at least there is hockey!

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