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Devil's Advocate: Is Cory Schneider Holding the Devils Back?

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Advanced statistics tell the story of a team giving up very few chances, and a goalie who is unable to capitalize. We elaborate on this story in this weeks edition of Devil's Advocate.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Devils Advocate Post #1Devils Captain Getting Too Much Blame?

Our newly 6-5-2 Devils are in a much better spot than last year, but Devils fans are concerned with the 7 losses in the last 10 games and furthermore with the fact that we are generally playing worse than our record indicates. My contention is that we are actually playing well. Weird argument isn't it? Well hear me out.

The stats that I will show in this article will indicate that the Devil's are actually playing mostly solid defensive hockey (bottom 3 in Corsi Against). Furthermore, they will indicate that despite this sheltered environment, Schneider has performed poorly. Therefore, not only is he not living up to expectations, but he has thus far been a detriment.

Why Am I Looking to Schneider

According to War on Ice, the Devils are allowing the 3rd least shots in the league and are shooting the 4th least in the league. This means two things. First, if the Devils are allowing a lot of goals, it must be because of Shot Quality or because of goalie performance. By looking at Shot-Quality-Adjusted save percentage, we can get the answer. If Schneider's adjusted save percentage is low then that means that shot quality wasn't the problem. We investigate this possibility below.

Second, it means that the Devils will be unable to make up for mistakes from Cory. If he allows too many goals, this team will not be able to mask that poor performance. Therefore, if his adjusted save percentage is low, he is culpable for the poor start at least partially.

Schneider's Performance is the Problem

Below is a chart of Save Percentage, Adjusted Save Percentage (takes into account "danger" level of shots), and then Save Percentage of each amount of Danger (Low, Med, High).

Cory Schneider's Adjusted Save Percentage is 28th out of 39 goalies that have at least 4 games played. When the specific zone's are examined, it becomes clear that Schneider is still saving the ones he is supposed to as he is in the top 10 in both the Low and Medium danger shot save percentage, but he is in the bottom 5 in High danger shots. He is actually in the bottom 3 of total high-danger shots allowed despite the aforementioned stinginess of the Devils team on the whole. This says the Cory Schneider has been the most sheltered goalie in the NHL, and yet his below average performance has made it difficult for a Devils team that is scoring 0.28 more goals per game than last year to keep up.

Cory Lets Games Slip Away

The Devils have been behind in some games. And then they got more behind. And again. Sometimes this just piles on to a loss, but in other situations, that poor play ruins an otherwise winnable game. Take the Blues game from last night. The Devils were down 3-0 and 4-1 but ended up losing 4-3. Had we not gotten down by so many goals, that late rush could have gotten us a win or at least a point. Below is the same chart as the one above, but only stats when trailing. If filtered for AdjustedSvPct, it shows that Schneider is 6th from the bottom when trailing. However, once again, the story is in the high-danger shots. Cory Schneider has given up 9 goals in 25 dangerous shots which is good for a save percentage of 64% which is the worst in the league. Cory, booked as an elite goaltender, has not been able to make big saves when we need them.

Conclusion

The Devils are bottom 3 in the league in Corsi against and bottom 5 in Corsi for. Therefore, with our still-good defense, but newly high GAA, the argument has been made in this article, that according to the stats, the weak link is Cory Schneider. His low-efficiency goaltending, especially when down, has crippled a Devils team still trying to find themselves.

What's with the Repost?

You may have noticed post was up and then down and is now back up. The reason for this is that I made an egregious error in the stats that involved taking data that was not to-date from the web. Everything that was affected by this mistake has been removed. I'd like to apologize to ILWT readers for giving misinformation, and to the ILWT staff and SBNation for my poor research and carelessness. Accountability is important at ILWT so this post was pulled so that corrections could be made and has now been re-posted with the corrections and this apology. Feel free to lambaste me to your heart's content in the comments. Just keep it PG as always!

EDIT 11/18/14

War-on-Ice Posted updated Hextallies. They affirm my original conclusion which is that Cory is not facing difficult shots. In the most dangerous zone, Schneider faces shots at about 70% the league average frequency. This supports my original conclusion that Schneider was performing poorly in a goalie-friendly system.

NJD Hextally 11-18

Your Take

All right, let's hear it. Am i crazy? Is Schneider among the Devils biggest problems this year? Do you think I have a point, but may have overstated its importance. How much, if any, blame does Schneider deserve? Where is the disconnect between the shot-quality-adjusted statistics and the real life? Leave your thoughts below.