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New York Islanders 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' 81st game of the season against the New York Islanders on April 11th. Read on for the details.

Bruce Bennett
Only two goals, a poor shootout, and another high-event game against the Islanders. I think I’ve written these words before. Let’s get to it.

Passing Stats

Forwards: Only Steve Bernier (3), Patrik Elias (3), and Jaromir Jagr (2) generated multiple shots (SG). Each of these three generated one more attempt (SAG) than they did shots, so their efficiency rates were very good. Unfortunately, most of the forwards couldn’t say the same. The biggest offenders were Travis Zajac (5 SAG, 1 SG), Michael Ryder (4 SAG, 1 SG), Damien Brunner (4 SAG, 1 SG), and Dainius Zubrus (2 SAG, 0 SG). The combined efficiency rate of these five forwards was 20%, which is horrendous.

Stephen Gionta (12/13), Ryan Carter (9/9), and Bernier (7/10) were quite active in the offensive zone against the Islanders. In fact, something about playing the Islanders juices the Devils passing totals like no other opponent. The team had 378 pass attempts for the game. The forwards attempted 125 passes in the offensive zone alone. They clearly like playing against the Islanders, but…the shootout!

Defensemen: All but Mark Fayne generated a shot attempt. Only Marek Zidlicky, Adam Larsson, and Jon Merrill actually generated a shot. Merrill (28/34) was the busiest of the group with Zidlicky (26/31) close behind. Again, the defensemen couldn’t even generate a single shot attempt each.



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: Eight total turnovers for the forwards, though the group still finished at a 52.7 PE%. Michael Ryder (3), Elias (2), Ruutu (1), and Gionta (1) were the turnover-culprits. Not a good game from Ryder by either metric, zone exits or passing. He, Ryder, Elias were joined by Tim Sestito as the only forwards under 50%. Ruutu led the group with ten attempts and finished with eight possession exits, another strong game from him in this category. Jagr was next with six attempts and four were with possession. Damien Brunner had a strong exit game as well (80 PE%).

Defensemen: Right around their usual finish: 42.4 PE%. Andy Greene had a really rough time, attempting thirteen exits and only three of which resulting in maintaining possession. His 15.4 PE% is pretty awful. Larsson rebounded from his poor game in Ottawa to go 3/3 in possession exits. The other four of Zidlicky, Merrill, Fayne, and Anton Volchenkov all finished between 40 – 50%, so right around where they usually do collectively. Going into next season, this group can, hopefully, improve at exiting the zone.


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?