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New Jersey Devils at Dallas Stars: Zone Exits and Passing Stats

This is a look at the zone exit and passing stats for the New Jersey Devils 55th game of the season against the Dallas Stars. Read on for the details.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
A one-timer from Zubrus and a power play redirection from Travis Zajac saw the Devils to a 2-0 lead in Dallas. Unfortunately, the Stars came back to tie it inside the final minute of regulation. Of course, this just led to Patrik Elias notching another milestone in his career, recording his sixteenth OT winner. Good for Patty and good for the Devils. Let’s get to it.

Passing Stats

Forwards: Not much from Dainius Zubrus, other than the obvious goal. He went 9/11 with no offense generated. He attempted 4 passes from both defensive and neutral zones, and 3 in the offensive zone, so he was involved all over the ice. Jaromir Jagr was a man possessed in the offensive zone, completing 13 of 17 passes, but, incredibly, only generated 2 shot attempts and 1 shot. He went 10/11 in the other zones. Travis Zajac went 10/13 with 3 SAG and 2SG.

Stephen Gionta had an okay game: 6/9 with 1 SAG. But, you know, he hustles and other intangible things, so I guess he did great. On a line with Elias and Damien Brunner for parts of the game, the results were mixed. Elias went 5/11 with nothing generated. Brunner completed each one of his passes (11) and generated 1 SAG and 1 SG.

Adam Henrique had a solid night, generating 4 SAG and 3 SG on 10/15 passing. Michael Ryder joined in the offensive production with 4 SAG and 1 SG on 7/8 passing. Ryane Clowe somehow completed all 10 of his passes in the defensive zone, going 9/10 elsewhere, and generating 2 shot attempts.

Defensemen: Eric Gelinas was only on the ice long enough to miss a single pass attempt. If he’s not going to see ice time here, then sending him to Albany is definitely the right move. He and Adam Larsson were effective after Gelinas’ initial call up, so if they play together down there, they might do that much better up at the big club. Maybe.

Bryce Salvador was once again a train wreck, going 9/17 passes with 1 SAG. Marek Zidlicky went 15/19, but failed to generate anything offensively. Andy Greene attempted the most passes on the night, finishing 18/21 with 2 SAG and 2 SG. A solid night from Greene. Mark Fayne was just as good: 14/17 with 2 SAG and 2 SG.

Anton Volchenkov was his usual ho-hum self: 7/10 with nothing going forward. Jon Merrill was nearly as active as Zidlicky in the offensive zone (5/5), finishing 16/18 with 1 SAG overall. A lot of the talk is on Gelinas this season, but I think Merrill is more well-rounded at this point in his career.


Passing Data Explained:

Pass: A reasonable and deliberate attempt to get the puck to a teammate which results in 1 of 3 outcomes: 1) Maintaining possession; 2) Allows for the recipient of the pass to make a “hockey move” (dump in, deflection, another pass etc.); 3) A shot attempt. When in doubt, common sense will prevail.

What you see above is a chart illustrating pass completions, pass attempts, and pass percentages for each player in all three zones. A pass that goes across a zone or two will be marked as occurring in the zone it originates from.

Each completed pass that results in a shot taken by a teammate counts as one “shot attempt generated” or “SAG” in the chart below. This is tracked to attempt to determine which teammates are better at generating opportunities to shoot. You’ll also see a “shot generated” or “SG” column to track the highest quality of shot attempts. The last column totals the percentage of shot attempts that result in shots on net.

Zone Exit Stats

Forwards:Steve Bernier had 2, while Gionta, Brunner, Ryan Carter, and Henrique each committed 1. Gionta led the group with 9 exit attempts, finished at 55.6 PE%, a very good night for him, turnover aside. Clowe went 6/6, Jagr 6/8, and Zubrus 5/6 as they were the standouts when it came to zone exits.

Defensemen: The defensemen were simply terrible at exiting the zone with possession against Dallas, finished at 27.0 PE%. I believe one of the reasons the Devils are near the bottom of the league in shot attempts/shots (as Matt illustrated the other day) is due in large part to the blue line’s inefficiency at linking defense to offense while keeping possession.

Salvador had another 3 turnovers. He attempted 9 exits and 1 was with possession. Fayne was almost as bad, with 2 possession exits on 9 attempts, though just the one turnover. Greene had a rough night himself: 3 turnovers and only 3 possession exits on 8 attempts. Merrill and Zidlicky were the only defensemen at or over 50%, but they combined for only 5 exit attempts.

Zone Exits Explained: Any attempt made by a player to advance the puck from their defensive zone. These actions fall into the below categories (as illustrated on the below chart).


Possession Exits:

P) Pass: When a player passes the puck out of the zone and it successfully finds a teammate.

(C) Carry: When a player skates with the puck out of the zone, maintaining possession.

Successful Zone Exits without Possession:

(FP) Failed Pass: When a player passes the puck out of the zone, but it fails to find its target.

(FC) Failed Carry: When a player skates with the puck out of the zone, but loses possession shortly thereafter.

(CH) Chip: When the player lifts the puck out of the zone or throws it off the boards and out.

(X) Other: Any action that results in a successful zone exit not already covered.

Unsuccessful Zone Exit:

(PT) Pass Turnover: When a player fails to clear the zone with a pass and it results in a turnover to the opposition.

(CT) Carry Turnover: When a player fails to skate out of the zone with the puck and loses possession.

(I) Icing: An attempt to clear results in icing the puck.

(T) Turnover: Any action that results in a turnover not already covered.

What reaction do you have to these stats? How do they compare with your viewing of the game?