The New Jersey Devils are officially a playoff team after last night's win against the Ducks. The biggest mark against the Devils at the beginning of the season was that they did not replace the scoring that Devil's fans came to enjoy from Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise. So now that the season is a quarter of the way complete, how are the Devils faring in terms of scoring? Read on to find out!
When do the Devils Score?
Let's break the scoring down by situations first. The Devils have score 29 times at even strength, 13 on the powerplay, 2 on he penalty kill, and two empty netters. Those stats are below:
We can also look at when the Devils score in regards to which period. The Devils are remarkably even in goals scored by period. They have scored 15 goals in each period as well as one overtime goal.
These are hard to compare by team, so let's see how the Devils stack up against the league. The Devils are 25th in goals per game, and slightly better at outscoring their opposition at even strength. Their 5v5 goals for and against ratio is 0.88, meaning that the Devils are, in general, outscored at even strength. The Devils are 25th in the league in home goals for, and 16th in the league in goal for while playing outside their home rink.
I took all of the stats as of Thursday morning for the Metropolitan Division teams and projected out scoring based on the number of games played and assuming their shooting percentage is stable throughout the rest of the season. I'll post the projections for the Devils scorers who will score 20 or more points this season below. After that I'll talk about how the Devils stack up against the Metropolitan Division foes. The Devils leading scorer, with 66 points, will most likely be 41 year old Jaromir Jagr.
|PLAYER||Proj # of Games||Proj G.||Proj A.||Proj P||Proj S||S%|
As you can see, the Devils do not have a whole lot of goal scorers who will pile on the goals. When you just look at the Devils projected scoring alone, you notice that they do not have one of those coveted 40 goals per season player. Is there even a 40 goal scorer in the Metropolitan Division this year? You betcha.
From my beautiful excel chart, you can see that 4 teams have a player who will put up at least 30 goals, the Capitals, Penguins, Islander, and lastly, the Devils. As for the 30+ scorers, they consist of Jagr, Crosby, Kunitz, Jokinen, Tavares, Nielsen, Ward, and Alex Ovehckin. In fact, Ovechkin is projected to collect 66 goals, the most in the division.
Now, having a superstar is one thing, having a whole team who can score is even more impressive in this era of hockey. The Capitals are far and away the most prolific scoring team in the Metropolitan Division, with seven 20 goal scorers and two 30+ scorers. No other team comes close to that balance in scoring. The Penguins draw much of their scoring from their top 3 scorers as do the Devils and Islanders. The bottom four in the division do not have a 30 goal scorer and have few 20 goal scorers. These teams are in a lot of trouble as the season is in full swing and they do not have anyone putting pucks in the net.
Projected Metropolitan Team Scoring
Three teams in the Division will top two hundred goals, while the rest of the teams are well below 200. In comparison, the band of total goals scored in 2011-12 was 166 goals scored by the Wild, and 273 from the Penguins. The Devils, who went to the Stanley Cup Finals that year, scored 216 goals, 36 more than they're projected to score this year. While 180 goals will definitely have the Devils in the bottom half of the entire NHL, it may be good enough to get them into a playoff spot!
I'm curious as to what you think... Do the Devils need to add another 20+ goal scorer before the trade deadline to be a serious cup contender? What can the Devils do to get over the 200 goal mark for the season? Or should they be OK with this offense and a great goaltending duo?