Part two of our Devils 30-game overview breaks down notable team stats, the team’s hottest and coldest players, and what the next ten games have in store for New Jersey. You can click HERE to see part one of our 30-game overview.
FYI: All stats in article were as of 12/14/15
On top of their power play, the Devils penalty kill has also been getting the job done. It sits at 82.7%, which is 9th best in the NHL. However, since Zajac has gone out of the lineup, they’ve only killed off 70.5% of penalties they’ve faced. In the long run, they will need Zajac to come back as he is one of the team’s best penalty killers. He’s also the team’s best face-off man. The Devils are winning just 47% of their face-offs. Only Vancouver has a worse percentage to this point in the season. Despite their scoring woes, the Devils definitely make up for it on defense. Their 2.40 goals against per game is 10th-best in the league. They also finish first in shot attempts against per 60 in the league (46.3), which makes up for the lack of shot attempts for they average per 60 minutes.
Top performers (AC)
Forwards…There are quite a few candidates here, most notably the line of Cammalleri (LW), Henrique (C) and Stempniak (RW), which has accounted for a large number of goals scored. Kyle Palmieri has also been lighting up the scoreboard. Through the first 30 games, he has 13 goals, which was one short of his career high. Without these four forwards, who knows where the Devils would be in the standings right now.
Defensemen…Andy Greene and Adam Larsson have been playing like a top pair unit through the first 30 games. Each defensemen has a 42 and 43% start rate in the defensive zone, respectively, which is best on the team by a wide margin. John Moore and Damon Severson have turned into quite the 2nd pairing. Severson leads Devils defensemen in scoring chances and TOI on the power play, averaging 2:11 TOI a game, while Moore has the 3rd highest zone start rate in the defensive zone after Andy Greene and Adam Larsson. Moore has also seen his ice time increase on the power play and is getting more of a chance to run things from the point in recent games.
On the hot seat (ML)
Patrik Elias…Despite his late start to the season, Elias hasn’t made that much of an impact, at least not yet. New Jersey’s gone 4-3-3 in the first ten games since his season debut on 11/25 (game 21), which has since improved. The 39-year old Czech has only one goal and five points over that span and hasn’t scored in seven games (as of 12/14). Elias is among the six most-played forwards in overall ice time, but averages the most average power play time since his return (3:37). Granted Elias is in the twilight of his career and has taken on more of a complimentary role in relation to the Devils’ offensive core, he needs to start getting on the score sheet moving forward if he’s going to play minutes like that on the man-advantage.
Jordin Tootoo…Similarly to Elias, Tootoo gets his share of power play time. When you consider how underachievers like Tootoo, Elias, Josefson, and sometimes Kalinin are deployed on the man-advantage by Coach Hynes, it’s amazing that they have the 8th-ranked power play in the NHL as of writing this. Tootoo only has two goals and six points this season with only two assists in games 21-30. They were his only points in the last 12 games, which was the last time Tootoo’s scored. The Devils need at least one or two forwards on their third and fourth lines to start scoring, especially players like Tootoo who are frequently deployed on the power play.
Ten-game outlook (ML)
The Devils began their next ten-game set on a high note. After a dispiriting loss in their 30th game of the season against the Islanders, New Jersey rebounded well and managed to shut out the Sabres on the road 2-0. Their next ten games feature a balanced compromise of winnable matchups, bubble teams that are currently neck-and-neck with the Devils in the standings, and will face a huge test against the Dallas Stars at the beginning of January. With games against beatable opponents like the Panthers, Penguins, and Hurricanes, the Devils have another pivotal opportunity to widen the margin between their wins and losses, while establishing a firmer grasp on their place in the division and conference standings.