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Edmonton Oilers at New Jersey Devils: Zone Exit and Passing Stats

This is a look at the zone exit and passing statistics for the New Jersey Devils' 58th game of the season against the Edmonton Oilers. Read on for the details.

Jim McIsaac
The Devils came out strong against the Oilers, as nearly half of their 1st period passing occurred at the Edmonton end of the ice. The teams traded goals and play evened out of as the game went into OT. Jon Merrill secured the bonus point for the Devils as they need all the points they can get right now. Let’s get to it.

Passing Stats

Forwards: Adam Henrique owned the 1st period. He went 8/9 and generated 4 shot attempts and all 4 resulted in shots on net. Overall, he went 15/20 with 7 SAG and 5 SG. He was simply a beast. Travis Zajac and Ryane Clowe were the only ones that could claim to have a solid night in comparison. Zajac went 13/19 with 5 SAG and 4 SG; Clowe went 20/23 with 5 SAG and 3 SG. Great nights from them.

1st/4th line center Andrei Loktionov went 12/14 and generated 2 shot attempts and 1 shot. He impacts play much more than Stephen Gionta and should never be benched while Gionta is in the lineup. There, I said it again. Deal with it. Gionta went 7/8 and didn’t attempt a pass in the offensive zone.

Michael Ryder had an up-and-down game as he continually threw the puck across the zone only to turn it over. He made up for it with his cross-ice pass to Merrill for the game-winner. He finished 14/20 with 2 SAG and 2 SG. Jaromir Jagr wasn’t great in terms of offense generated as he went 15/24 with 2 SAG. Patrik Elias was also off a bit: 9/16 with 1 SAG.

Damien Brunner was quiet for much of the game but had a strong series late in the game where he generated 2 shots on 4/5 passing. Ryan Carter went 6/7. Steve Bernier was a ghost with 1 pass in the neutral zone.

Defensemen: Merrill not only had the winning goal, but he had a damn solid game passing the puck as well. He was the busiest defenseman on the night, going 27/29 and generating 2 shots. Nearly 80% of his passes occurred in the defensive zone, but he completed all 6 passes he attempted in the neutral and offensive zones. Mark Fayne also had a decent game, going 22/24, generating 2 shot attempts and 1 shot, but he was far more active in the neutral and offensive zones than Merrill was. Good games from both though.

Bryce Salvador generated 2 shot attempts and 1 shot (Loktionov’s goal), and went 14/18 overall. Marek Zidlicky was off (9/15, 1 SAG, 1 SG) as my best memories of him were skating in a circle with plenty to shoot, and then failing to clear the zone with 30 seconds left in the game. Nice Zid.

Andy Greene was unspectacular with nothing generated and 14/17 passing. Peter Harrold got forward again and finished 16/19 with 1 SAG.


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: Defensemen: Ups and downs for the blue line last night. Fayne (83.3 PE%) and Harrold (75 PE%) were very good at exiting the zone with possession. The rest? Not so much. Zidlicky (41.7 PE%) committed 3 turnovers, Salvador (14.3 PE%) had 2, and Greene (28.6 PE% had 1). Merrill (40 PE%) also had 1, but was a bit better overall. Collectively, the group finished at 46.7 PE%. Zidlicky led the blue line with 12 attempts and the others were in the 5 – 8 range.


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?