Do the Devils have more Balanced Scoring than Last Season?

Elsa

How do the Devils fare this year in balanced scoring compared to last year's team?

It is well known this season that the Devils are struggling for goals. In a league where scoring is a valuable trait for a team, the Devils are relying on depth of scoring to win games. Most Devils fans know the story, Kovalchuk left and Lou Lamoriello went on to sign Ryane Clowe, Damien Brunner, Michael Ryder, and Jaromir Jagr. These four were meant to help fill the gap in goals left by Kovalchuk and also David Clarkson who departed for the Maple Leafs. So, have these acquisitions helped to round out the Devils scoring? Let's take a look.

2012-13 Shortened Season

The Devils had a de facto number one scorer in the shortened season in Ilya Kovalchuk. However, Elias and Clarkson each scored more goals than Kovalchuk. Elias was the top performing forward with 36 points while Kovalchuk had 31 and Clarkson with 24. On the low scoring end, the Devils had seven players who tallied only one goals. All in all, the balance in scoring was decent for a shortened season. Four players managed to score over ten goals and eight players scored at least five goals in 48 games. Below are two tables summing up the Devils scoring depth last season

2013 Season 2013 Season
# of Goals # of Players # of Points # of Players
10 4 30 2
5 8 20 4
2 16 10 11
5 18

As you can see, the Devils had a fairly balanced offense, even if it was not the highest scoring. The fact that the majority of the roster had at last two goals and/or five points shows that the puck was finding the back of the net from several different players.

2013-14 Season

The Devils have played 51 games so far this season, only three off of last season's 48 games, so I think comparing scoring at this point is fair enough. Just keep in mind that the scoring totals may be a little higher as the Devils have scored 122 goals so far this season compared to the 109 they scored last season.

2013-14 Season 2013-14 Season
# of Goals # of Players Change from Prev. # of Points # of Players Change from Prev.
10g 3 -1 30p 1 -1
5g 10 +2 20p 9 +5
2g 18 +2 10p 11 0
5p 17

-1

This time, I added an extra column that shows the change in number of players to score a certain number of goals/points.If you look at the number of scorers you can see that the Devils lost one big player who put up 30 points and at least ten goals, that would be Ilya Kovalchuk. However, Jagr replaced Kovalchuk's numbers and the Devils are still down a top scorer in Clarkson. Now, to replace him you can see that the five goal players have increased by two, that would be Damien Brunner and Eric Gelinas. Even the number of two goal scorers has increased by two, which means the Devils are getting goals from places they didn't get them last year.

Now, if we look at points, the Devils lost one 30 point scorer from last season and gained five 20 point players. Now, if we're looking at the 20 point players, two of the 20 point players had greater than twenty points in both seasons, Elias and Zajac. The "new" 20 point scorers are Jagr, Zidlicky, Ryder, Henrique, Greene, Gelinas, and Zubrus. In my eyes, this means that Zidlicky, Henrique, and Zubrus have stepped up at forward while Gelinas and Zidlicky have been performing well on the power play. The stats back that up given that Zidlicky has five PP goals and Gelinas has four.

However, the Devils have the same number of 10 point scorers and one less five point scorer. I'm not too worried about this as more players are stepping up and scoring twenty plus points. Obviously the Devils don't have a pure scorer like Kovalchuk this season, but it appears the Devils have accurately replaced him with Jagr. How do you feel about the Devils forward depth? Do they need another high scoring forward? I heard Dany Heatley is being shopped around? If not, do you think the Devils depth will continue or even improve as the playoff race begins?

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