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Is the Poor Possession a Death Sentence?

Building on the ILWT article from yesterday, we delve into some of the statistics around the Devils shot allowance and see where we stand with regards to the rest of the league.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Gerard posted an article about how the Devils are uncharacteristically allowing more shots than the cast majority of teams in the league. For a high-possession, low-event team, this result was surprising. I decided to look a little closer at this years numbers and where the Devils rank there. The chart below is sortable and shows where the Devils rank in Corsi, Shots, and Goals. For those unfamiliar, Corsi events are shots attempted (this includes blocked/missed shots).

Big Sortable Chart of Fancy Statistical Things

The first two columns are Corsi stats, columns 3 and 4 are shot stats, 5 and 6 are goal stats. The columns labeled with CO% are what percent of Corsi events make it on net. The CG% columns deal with what percent of Corsi events result in goals.

Feel free to sort through this as you wish or simply download it for your own use. All of the base statistics for this chart are from 10/30 and were retrieved from War on Ice.

Too Many Attempts Get to the Net

The one place the Devils immediately stand out is that they are dead last in the NHL in OppCO%. This means that of all the teams in the NHL, the Devils allow the highest percentage of attempts to get to the net. This could be for any number of reasons. As Gerard mentioned we are in fact blocking shots at a faster rate, but it's not quite keeping up with how fast we are allowing shots. It might have something to do with shot quality. I used to use Progressive Hockey for my Shot Quality stats investigating, but they have still not updated their stats for the new season. If anyone else knows a place I can find that then mention it in the comments.

Still Scoring at a Good Pace

Readers who have particularly good memory will recall one of the first articles I wrote for ILWT about if the Devil's actually needed to get goal scorers. I referenced how Corsi shooting percentage was average in the league. At the time we were average despite lack of premium scoring talent. We've shored that up somewhat with the play of Cammaleri and the surprising Severson. Regardless of our outlook on this season, the offense is improved. The once average Corsi shooting percentage has shot all the way up to 3rd in the league at 6.6%. In other words, the Devils score around once in ever 15 attempts to get a shot on net. That's very high. And Corsi shooting percentage is slightly more sustainable than regular shooting percentage so that number is encouraging.

Still "Low Event"?

The Devils have a reputation as a "Low Event" team. That's been called into question lately due to the perceived poor defense. According to Hockey Analysis, I'm proud to say the Devils are still the most boring team in the NHL.

Team CF60 CA60 Total Corsi
New Jersey 48.4 48.3 96.7
Detroit 51.2 45.7 96.9
Washington 53.6 45.6 99.2
Tampa Bay 53.3 46.3 99.6
Pittsburgh 51.8 48 99.8
Carolina 50.1 51.1 101.2
Florida 53.4 49.9 103.3
Minnesota 58.1 45.8 103.9
Nashville 53.5 50.5 104
NY Rangers 55.6 49.2 104.8
Vancouver 53.1 52.4 105.5
Boston 56.6 49.4 106
Calgary 46.6 59.4 106
Anaheim 51.3 55 106.3
Winnipeg 54.7 51.8 106.5
Arizona 54.2 53.9 108.1
Edmonton 53.4 55.1 108.5
St. Louis 59.9 48.7 108.6
Columbus 54.2 55.7 109.9
Toronto 53.5 56.7 110.2
NY Islanders 55.6 55.4 111
Dallas 55.5 57.6 113.1
Colorado 48.5 64.6 113.1
Buffalo 41.9 72.2 114.1
San Jose 57 57.4 114.4
Ottawa 53.3 61.5 114.8
Los Angeles 59.1 56.2 115.3
Chicago 65.5 50.8 116.3
Montreal 61.2 55.3 116.5
Philadelphia 56.7 63.4 120.1

The Devils have the lowest Corsi For in the league which is not something to be celebrated. We also have the 6th lowest Corsi Against in the league. That's something to be a little proud of at least. But, moving forward the Devils would like to have that switched, especially if those percentage statistics from earlier stay the same.


The Devils are still a low-event team, but we are scoring at a good pace -- better than last year. Our Save Percentage is low (7th worst in NHL) but that is a lot due to the highest percentage of Corsi attempts hitting the net. In short, the Devils are not as far removed from last year as has seemed lately (except now we are awesome in the shootot #AllHailJJ), but we either allowing too many high percentage shots, or we are extremely unlucky -- I would guess the former. Will this continue? Tough to tell especially with our young defenders. Is that a death sentence? Well the LA Kings are 3rd worst in that very same category so I think we'll get by.

Your Thoughts?

Is the Devil's poor possession a death sentence? This article was written before the Winnipeg game, but that game was vintage Devils -- do you think we will be a good possession team again soon? Has this led you to cut Schneider a little slack on the types of shots being allowed? What is the reason for our futility in preventing shots from reaching the net? Leave comments below.