This is a look at all New Jersey Devils skaters passing data from Game 1 until this point in the season. You’ll see six new columns from the individual game reports. These new columns are for Games Played (B), Shot Attempts Generated divided by the total Games Played (M), the Percentage of Shot Attempts Generated as it relates to Total Pass Attempts (N), Total Team Corsi For when that player is on the ice (O), Percentage of Shot Attempts Generated as it relates to Team Corsi For (P), and Total Pass Accuracy (Q). These are added to illustrate which players have been most consistent and most productive. All other columns are the same.
The passing percentages highlighted in green are above 75%. Those in red are under 74.99%. I’m choosing that number at random to start out and will see how percentages rise and fall as the season wears on. I feel that completing 3 out of every 4 passes is a good starting point, but what are your thoughts?
The non-passing cells highlighted in green indicate they are the highest numbers from the position group (top 2 or 3 for Defenseman; top 3 or 4 for Forwards) in that specific category. The cells highlighted in red are the low performers.
Some of the data on these cumulative charts may change throughout the season. I’m simply trying to see how the data relates to other metrics we have available to us. Specifically, if we’re tracking shot attempts generated, I want to see how it relates to overall shot attempts.
Column M is a simple ratio of SAG per GP. There’s little variance here with all skaters ranging from 1 to 3. I would imagine the disparity would grow as the season wears on, but if not then I may delete it from the spreadsheet.
Column N is illustrates how many shot attempts were generated as a percentage of that individual’s total pass attempts. A shot attempt efficiency rating of sorts.
Column O is the Total Corsi For taken from ExtraSkater.com. The data from ExtraSkater represents the total shot attempts for the team while that player is on the ice.
Column P shows the percentage of SAG as it relates to the Total Corsi For while that player is on the ice. So, if a player generates 20 shot attempts by himself and the team generates 100 while he’s on the ice, it’s reasonable to say that 20% of the Corsi goes through said player. This goes toward trying to answer, "How much offense is said player directly responsible for?"
Column Q is a simple average of pass completion percentage in all three zones to provide an overall passing accuracy. I may play around with this stat and have weighted percentages for each zone. But this is what I’m starting with.
: I’ve separated players who played fewer than 5 games, so I’m not taking a hard look at Mark Fayne, Mattias Tedenby, Eric Gelinas, or Jacob Josefson yet. Their stats are there, but I wanted to get a larger sample size before looking closely at their figures.
: Marek Zidlicky attempts more passes than anyone, generates far more shot attempts than anyone (2.8/game), but is the worst passer on the team overall. The question with Zid is simply, "Does his offense make up for his, now documented, less than ideal passing ability?" Sure, he takes more chances and the players that pass the puck more often than others will certainly make mistakes from time to time, but he’s only attempted 50 more passes (about 5 per game) than Andy Greene, and Greene’s percentages are much higher across the board. Greene generates slightly less than half of the shot attempts than Zid does, but his overall CF has a difference of only -18 (or about 1.8 less CF/game).
Anton Volchenkov attempts fewer passes in the defensive zone than anyone, but actually attempts more in the neutral and offensive zones than Adam Larsson. Volchenkov is also the only defenseman who passes above 75% in each zone. He’s generated just under 1 shot attempt/game, so we know that’s not part of his game. If Volchenkov continues to pass at high percentages and his role is a 3rd-line pairing with someone like Zidlicky, I think he’d be just fine doing that and earning minutes on the Penalty Kill.
Bryce Salvador isn’t all too different from Volchenkov. His neutral zone passing is under 75%, but that’s mostly due to only 9 attempts, so the percentages will be somewhat skewed this early in the season. I don’t think they should be on the ice together, except for the penalty kill, as they do not complement each other that well.
Adam Larsson hasn’t attempted too many passes in the neutral or offensive zones compared to his fellow defensemen. He’s effective enough, but has generated the lowest SAG% in any situation among the defense corps. In OT against the Canucks last night, he took the puck up ice and generated a nice shot attempt for Jaromir Jagr. I think he needs to be more active and take a few more chances rather than playing it safe all the time. Of course, I think part of this may be on the coach and the fact that he needs to give him a longer leash.
Peter Harrold is a poor man’s Andy Greene. He helps generate some shot attempts, but he is much more prone to misfiring on a pass or committing a turnover. He actually generates a higher percentage of the team’s CF compared to Greene, but not at the level Zidlicky produces, so, I feel, we’re less forgiving on Harrold when he makes a mistake.
Zidlicky produces 13% of the on-ice team CF by his passes alone. 9.5% of his passes result in a shot attempt (or, 1 shot attempt per roughly 10 passes). Harrold is the next highest in shot generation of the team’s on ice CF rate at 8.6%, but there’s a difference of -76 from Zid’s CF to his. The next highest percentage? Surprisingly, Anton Volchenkov at 8%. These percentages might come into focus a little more once we take a look at the forwards.
Based on these numbers, I would form these pairings and see how they do over the next few weeks:
: The 3 best passers on the team in terms of overall percentage are Andriei Loktionov, Ryane Clowe, and Adam Henrique, with Loktionov and Clowe holding a decent lead on Henrique. I was surprised Clowe was up there, but not at Loktionov or Henrique. Danius Zubrus and Travis Zajac also finished at over 75% in terms of overall accuracy.
In terms of creating shot attempts relative to the team’s CF, Loktionov’s 26% led the way (Zubrus was the only other player over 20% and he came in at 21%). Think about that. Of all the shot attempts the team creates while he’s on the ice, more than 1 in 4 come from passes Loktionov completes. He leads the team in SAG/game at 2.78. Of course, his CF is 5th lowest amongst forwards. He may be the forward equivalent of Zidlicky, but I think if the coaching staff can round his defensive game into form, he could be a highly effective player.
Or just keep him between Jagr and Patrik Elias. That seemed to work last night.
Speaking of the elder statesmen, Jagr attempted 22 more passes in the offensive zone than any other Devils forward. The next highest? Elias. Unfortunately, both of them were under 75% completion percentage in each zone. They are near the top of the forwards at SAG/game at 2.75 (Elias) and 2.60 (Jagr). They are clearly effective players, but if they could hit on a few more passes, they’d be incredibly successful. If Loktionov stays between them for most of the next 10 games, I expect these numbers to rise.
Adam Henrique’s numbers look good, but they dipped a bit in the last few games. I think that may be to ever-changing linemates. He’s quietly effective, leading or near the top of the forward groups is almost every category.
Travis Zajac tied with Jagr in terms of SAG/game at 2.60. He also had the highest CF of the forwards.
Rostislav Olesz was a mixed bag on this chart. On one hand he was below 75% passing in each zone and had one of the lowest CF rates of the forwards. On the other hand, 22% of his pass attempts resulted in shot attempts. This put him only a few tenths of a percent behind Andrei Loktionov and, surprise, Steve Bernier. Zajac was the other forward above 20%.
The CBGB line of Bernier, Ryan Carter, and Stephen Gionta are what we know them as: a fourth line that is somewhat effective at not being terrible. Looking at this data, I think it’s Bernier that props them up. Depending on how they progress or even get ice time, I think it’d be better to see Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Josefson on a line with Bernier.
Damien Brunner is simply not a playmaker. If he can be an average passer of the puck and Peter Deboer put him on a line with strong passing players, he’d be a solid 3rd line scoring threat.
Based on these stats (not considering Josefson, Tedenby, or Ryane Clowe due to limited games played and injured status), I’d like to see forward groupings look like something like this:
I think the goal I want to achieve is to find something akin to a "Passer Efficiency Rating" that takes into account accuracy and how much offense and possession go through each player as it relates to the team as a whole. I think some of the data is here, but I feel like there could be more. What are everyone’s thoughts on this? I really would like your feedback.
Once I get Nick’s zone exits for games 8 and 10, I’ll do the same review for those stats.
Have any questions? Comments? Suggestions? Hit me up on Twitter at @RK_Stimp.