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Where and How Zach Parise Scored His Goals this Season

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Today is Valentine's Day. Not that I would know much about that sort of thing. That said, if there was any player on the New Jersey Devils that most people would want as their valentine, then I'd say it would probably be Zach Parise.


Zach Parise

#9 / Left Wing / New Jersey Devils

5-11

190

Jul 28, 1984


Zach Parise doesn't just have the looks, he's got the knack for goal scoring.  He's constantly in motion on the ice. When he's hungry for the puck, the opposition isn't going to so much stop him as much hope that they can contain him.  Despite his size, he's strong along the boards and can often be found around the net for goals.    At the mere age of 25, Parise is the team's top offensive player, an absolute joy to watch on the ice, and one of the best American hockey players in the NHL today.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Zach Parise 60 28 33 61 24 20 6 1 3 0 265 10.6

A few weeks ago, a fellow associate at the Rock told me that he had a theory about Parise.   That Parise tends to score his goals off rebounds and loose pucks and up close - very few long shots.   I figure that with what will be a very unhappy month in review tomorrow, there can be something to smile about.  So why not take a closer look at Zach Parise's goals?

Thanks to NHL.com keeping a video archive of every goal this season, I was able to put the following chart together.  I noted about where he was when he scored and noted if there was a special way in how he scored each of his 28 goals this season.   I also included direct links to each goal from NHL.com in case you want to check out a particular goal and relive some happy Parise moments.  Here's hoping he can continue scoring in Vancouver, because we know he'll keep scoring in New Jersey upon return.

Date Goal # About where was Parise on the ice? Anything of note about the shot? Links to NHL.com Video
10/8/2009 1 At crease Swept in by goalie's stick Link to Goal
10/16/2009 2 In slot One-timer Link to Goal
10/17/2009 3 Right circle Breakaway goal Link to Goal
10/22/2009 4 In slot Breakaway goal Link to Goal
10/22/2009 5 Right point Link to Goal
10/24/2009 6 In slot Link to Goal
11/7/2009 7 At crease Off rebound Link to Goal
11/11/2009 8 At crease Off rebound Link to Goal
11/12/2009 9 In slot One-timer Link to Goal
11/14/2009 10 In slot Breakaway goal Link to Goal
11/16/2009 11 In slot Off rebound Link to Goal
11/19/2009 12 Right circle Deflection Link to Goal
11/19/2009 13 At crease Re-direction Link to Goal
11/27/2009 14 At crease Shot off loose puck Link to Goal
11/28/2009 15 At crease Shot off loose puck Link to Goal
12/28/2009 16 At crease Off rebound Link to Goal
12/28/2009 17 Below left circle One-timer Link to Goal
1/5/2010 18 In slot Link to Goal
1/8/2010 19 At crease Re-direction Link to Goal
1/9/2010 20 At crease Breakaway goal Link to Goal
1/22/2010 21 In slot Breakaway goal Link to Goal
1/23/2010 22 Below goal line on the right Off d-man's skate in front Link to Goal
1/23/2010 23 Center line; right end boards Link to Goal
1/29/2010 24 At crease Re-direction Link to Goal
1/29/2010 25 In slot One-timer Link to Goal
2/8/2010 26 Left of goal net, at goal line Off d-man's skate in front Link to Goal
2/12/2010 27 In slot Shot off loose puck Link to Goal
2/13/2010 28 At crease Off rebound Link to Goal

 

Here's two more charts breaking down the where and the how for Parise's goals from the above chart:

Parise's location for goal # of Goals Percentage
Parise in the slot 10 35.71%
Parise at the crease 11 39.29%
Parise not in slot or crease 7 25.00%

 

Special note about the goal # of Goals Percentage
Off rebound 5 17.86%
One-timer 4 14.29%
Shot off loose puck 3 10.71%
Breakway goal 5 17.86%
Off d-man's skate in front 2 7.14%
Deflection 1 3.57%
Re-direction 3 10.71%
Swept in by goalie's stick 1 3.57%
Nothing of special note 4 14.29%

 

From my observations and review of each and every one of Zach Parise's 28 goals, it is clear that he scores most of them right in front of the net or in the slot.  75% of his 28 goals this season have come from those areas on the ice.  This shouldn't be so surprising given how often Parise is down low on offense. In fact, in this Puck Prospectus article about Shot Quality and the Minnesota Wild, Gabriel Desjardins shows where most shots and goals are scored in the NHL: in the slot and close to the net.  Granted, the data Desjardins used was from the 2008-09 season, but I highly doubt it has changed significantly this season - and Parise's goals are evidence of that.

When a commentator says he has a nose for the net or he has a knack on picking up loose pucks, it's not just a figure of speech or a cliche. Parise truly is exceptional at locating and firing on loose pucks at a close range.  At least 60% of his goals are off loose pucks, rebounds, re-directions, or plays that happen right in front of the net. This value doesn't even include the breakaway goals he has scored on.

The theory offered by my associate is correct - at least so far this season. This isn't to say that Parise has an abysmal shot or is only accurate up close; just that he's been incredibly effective and successful at close range. Like a lot of players:  We can conclude, OK, Parise's range could use some improvement; but honestly, 28 goals in 61 games isn't bad either. Should Parise work on his range of shooting, specifically his accuracy, he can become that much more of a threat - the potential is tantalizing, thinking about it. 

Until then, the Devils should see Parise's abilities as a feature instead of limited by range.  His linemates should understand how good he is around the net, and take the puck inside whenever they can. Easier said then done, of course, given that most defensive tactics are designed to prevent the offense from easily getting into the slot.   Then again, as I saw on the video on several of these goals, Parise is just so aware of what's going on that he knows when to step in, where to find the puck in traffic or position himself for an opportunity, and strike for a goal. Parise's skills down low and in the slot are truly a gift and a sight to behold for Devils fans.

Here's some final tidbits:  Parise only has three empty net goals, which are goals #3, #5, and #23 on the chart. Two of those are "long range" attempts that went in.  Parise also scored 6 power play goals, which are goals #1, #7, #17, #22, #26, and #27 on the chart.  Lastly, the Devils are 16-6-1 when Parise scores a goal.  Perhaps that's more of a coincidence than anything else; but when Parise scores, it's usually a good thing for New Jersey.

Let me know what you think about Zach Parise's goals and his game in the comments. Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of Valentine's Day.