The Devils have been known, I would say throughout the Lou Lamoriello era, as a team that preaches defense first. One of the elements of the Devils game I think many fans take pride in is the team being consistently good on the PK. However, I think many fans focus too much on the PK%. While important, if a team takes a lot of penalties, even if their kill percent is good, they are going to give up too many shorthanded goals against. I think shorthanded goals against is a better measure of outcome.
I was curious as to how the Devils stacked up. So I ran some numbers, see the table below. These are where the Devils ranked out of all NHL teams for the last 15 years, with 1 being league best. This goes back to 1998, which is all that is available on NHL.com
A few amazing things.
From the early to mid 00's, the Devils were the least penalized team int eh league 5 consecutive years.
In the last 15 years, the Devils have been in the top 3 in fewest PK goals against 9 times. Only twice has the team been in the lower half of the league.
Has anyone ever seen other analysis of the relationship between PK goals against and qualifying for the playoffs? I would have to think it is a significant advantage not having to overcome as many special teams goals against.
|Season||# Times SH Rank||PK% Rank||PK Goals Against||PK Goals Against Rank|