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New Jersey Devils at Detroit Red Wings: Zone Exit and Passing Stats

This is a look at the zone exit and passing statistics for the New Jersey Devils' 64th game of the season against the Detroit Red Wings on March 7th. Read on for the details.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
This was not a good game for the Devils in their own end. Lapses in defensive coverage, poor zone exits, and subpar goaltending will doom a team most every night. There was a sliver of hope in the middle period as the Devils scored three quick goals to take a brief 3-2 lead; however, Detroit would score the next five goals on a rout. Conversely, the Devils passing game did quite well and generated a high number of shots. Let’s get to it.

Before we get to it, I apologize for the delay in the stats this week (and the next week or two possibly). It's been a busy few weeks, but it'll all be up, just a few days late. I've also been working on a passing comparison with the Devils opponents, so there will some bonus reading next week, I promise.

Passing Stats

Forwards: The group generated thirteen shots (SG) on only twenty-five attempts (SAG), good enough for a S/SAG rate of 52%. I’m up to nine games of tracking Devils opponents and 50% seems to be a very good rate in this category.

Though Michael Ryder tries his hardest to score and simply can’t, he has been excellent at generating chances recently. He generated three shots on five attempts and was the most active forward in the offensive zone (11/16 passing). Overall, he finished 14/20. Matching Ryder’s three SG output was Ryane Clowe (12/13) who had an efficient passing game. Adam Henrique, more the scorer recently, only generated a single shot attempt on his 9/14 passing.

Newcomer Tuomo Ruutu went 12/15 with two SAG and one SG. A decent opening game with the Devils. Jaromir Jagr (11/15, 3 SAG, 2 SG) and Dainius Zubrus (11/13, 3 SAG, 1 SG) had effective games, whereas Patrik Elias (9/13, 2 SAG), and Travis Zajac (8/9, 1 SAG) did not. Damien Brunner was surprisingly generous with his passing, generating three shot attempts and one shot on 7/9 attempts.

Defensemen: The group was above average in passing completion percentage across each zone. Mark Fayne was the standout defenseman as he completed all but one of his twenty-one passes and proceeded to generate four shot attempts and two shots . Marek Zidlicky (20/22), Andy Greene (15/16), and Bryce Salvador (16/19) each added one SAG and one SG. Eric Gelinas (19/25) and Jon Merrill (19/21) failed to generate any offense.



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: Boy were these bad. Only a 38.5 PE% as the forwards committed seven turnovers. Brunner (2), Ryder (3), Henrique (1), and Elias (1) were the offenders. Ryder was particularly poor as none of his exit attempts were with possession. Clowe was the team’s most effective, though Brunner did well (50 PE%).

Defensemen: Not good, but we’ve come to expect this from the Devils defense, finishing at their usual 42.3 PE% (season average). Twelve total turnovers were committed by the six defensemen. Surprisingly, Gelinas only had one. Fayne also had just the one turnover, but only one of his four exits was with possession. Still though, compared to the rest of the position, Fayne was the best defenseman in an otherwise forgettable game.

Salvador had two turnovers via poor passes, but his other six exits maintained possession, which was the best of the group by a wide margin. Zidlicky (3), Merrill (3), and Greene (2) rounded out the four defensemen with multiple turnovers. Merrill was the nest highest at 46.2 PE%, all others were below 40%, which is quite poor.


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?