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Catch-All Statistics Part III: The Best Devils Ever

This week we look at who the greatest Devils ever are according to advanced statistics and where they land on a historical perspective. We actually fair a little bitter than you may think.

Bruce Bennett

For those who haven't yet read the descriptions of Point Shares and Goals Versus Threshold please read the first article of this series here. For those too lazy to do so just accept that PS and GVT are two separate efforts to quantify a players total performance on the ice and they are each separated into (among other things) offensive and defensive components.

For an application of GVT and PS specifically with regards to last year's Devils team, see Part II of this series here.

Below is a piece of the data that will be referenced in this article.

Snippet of the Data

Elias Patrik 2000-01 LW 9.5 3.0 12.5 20.8 5.4 0.0 26.2
Parise Zach 2008-09 LW 9.9 2.9 12.8 16.9 5.6 0.9 23.5
Stevens Scott 1993-94 D 6.3 6.9 13.2 14.2 8.0 0.0 22.2
Elias Patrik 2003-04 LW 8.8 3.0 11.8 15.0 6.4 0.0 21.4
Parise Zach 2009-10 C 8.4 3.1 11.5 13.9 6.7 1.3 21.8
Kovalchuk Ilya 2011-12 LW 8.2 2.3 10.5 15.1 2.6 5.2 22.8
Niedermayer Scott 2003-04 D 5.1 6.9 12.0 11.8 7.8 0.0 19.6
Sykora Petr 2000-01 RW 8.2 2.4 10.6 17.5 4.4 0.0 21.9
Gionta Brian 2005-06 RW 8.5 2.9 11.4 14.0 5.7 0.5 20.2
Mogilny Alexander 2000-01 RW 9.3 1.4 10.6 19.1 2.0 0.0 21.1
Niedermayer Scott 1997-98 D 5.5 5.3 10.8 11.5 6.1 0.0 17.6
Elias Patrik 1999-00 LW 7.4 2.0 9.4 15.9 3.5 0.0 19.4
Elias Patrik 2011-12 LW 7.2 1.9 9.1 14.1 3.4 1.6 19.2
Rafalski Brian 2000-01 D 4.4 5.3 9.7 10.7 7.2 0.0 17.9
Rafalski Brian 2001-02 D 4.1 5.3 9.4 9.0 8.4 0.0 17.5
Elias Patrik 2008-09 LW 7.1 2.3 9.4 12.5 4.1 0.5 17.2
Parise Zach 2011-12 C 6.3 2.3 8.6 10.6 5.9 2.1 18.6
Sykora Petr 1998-99 C 6.8 1.9 8.7 15.2 3.2 0.0 18.4
Niedermayer Scott 2002-03 D 3.3 6.7 10.1 7.6 8.1 0.0 15.7

These are the top Devils seasons from skaters by measuring standard deviations above the average of both the Point Shares and Goals Versus Threshold of each player season. This is a snippet of the what some of the best seasons I will be referring to are and what the general data set looks like. The full list can be found by adding filters to Robert Vollmans data found at Hockey Abstract.

Goals Versus Threshold

Total GVT

Extra GVT data can be found neatly compiled by a nice fella over at the Hockey's Future HFBoards named Snowl. He amassed the GVT data up through 2010 here. GVT says that 7 of the 10 best Devils seasons were from Marty. The other 3 were Elias in 2000-01, Parise in 2008-09, and Scott Stevens in 1993-94. In career GVT, Marty finished 7th among all goalies, Stevens finished 6th among defenders, Elias is somewhere in the top 60 all-time among forwards.


As far as single seasons are concerned, the Devils have six representative seasons in the top 100. This past year Andy Greene put up the 95th best defensive year ever. In 2012, Salvador had the 47th best of all time. The other 4 seasons were all provided by Stevens who topped out in 1999-00 when he had the 15th greatest defensive year ever. I should mention at this point that when I say "greatest season ever" type things that I am strictly speaking with regards to the statistics. My personal opinions are not that precise. Furthermore, last year Zajac had the greatest defensive year form a forward in Devils history. From a historical perspective, Scott Stevens was 2nd all-time to Ray Bourque in career DGVT and Elias is in the top 30 among all-time forwards.


The 3 highest Devils OGVT performances all came in 2001 back when the Devils were and Offensive Powerhouse. Sykora Mogilny and Elias did put up great stats, but only Elias slid into the top 100 all-time seasons.

Point Shares

The nice thing about point shares is that they are cataloged quite nicely over at hockey-reference. Also they are adjusted for time more meticulously. The only note for OPS is that Jagr is 3rd all-time behind only Gretzky and Howe. Moving on to PS and DPS.


Brodeur is the highest active PS scorer at 5th overall behind only Gretzky, Bourque, Howe, and Lidstrom (in that order). Devils skaters have had 13 seasons with 10 or more PS, Marty has had 11 by himself. Now we don't yet know if he's going to land somewhere so he may not actually be "active". If that's the case the Devils can still claim rights to the highest PS scorer because Jagr sits at 7th all-time and would then be the highest active. Scott Stevens is 19th all-time and is accompanied in the top 50 by Niedermayer at 47th. Elias is the final Devil in the top 100 and he stands at 81st. Other former Devils in the top 100 include Sean Burke, Brendan Shannahan, Joe Nieuwendyk, Dave Andreychuk, and Doug Gilmour. All of the Devils top 14 seasons from defenders came from either Stevens (3), Niedermayer (6), or Rafalski (5).


Scott Stevens, just like in DGVT, is 2nd all-time only to Ray Bourque. He and Niedermayer each had 2 seasons in the top 100 DPS all-time. While total PS was monololized by three defenders; Ken Daneyko, Paul Martin, Lyle Odelein (wait ... what?), and Johnny Oduya all had seasons in the top 15 DPS. Among forwards, Parise had seasons #1 and 6 in DPS, Elias had 3 and 4, Zajac had 2 and 5.

Things that I Learned

1. Scott Stevens is a truly elite all-time player. Obviously he's a hall-of-famer and Hockey Reference has him ranked the #39 player of all time, Greatest Hockey Legends has him ad 65, placed him at #93, B/R had him at 96. These are all too low. My defender Mt Rushmore is Larry Robinson, Ray Bourque, Bobby Orr, and Niklas Lidstrom. Stevens makes a strong argument to round out the top 5.

2. The Devils have a clear top 4 players: Marty, Patty, and the Scotts (no not Gomez). Rafalski gets an honorable mention because he finished 5th in point shares despite playing 13 less seasons than Dano and 7 less than Johnny Mac.

3. Zajac is a stellar defender according to these metrics.

4. The 2001 team runs away with the advanced statistics title.

5. I might adjust my opinion on Marty slightly. His per game statistics are good, but not indicative of someone with the title "greatest goalie ever." My opinion has morphed to him being the "most prolific goaltender ever." This is more complimentary than "winningest" as it attributes more credit to him.

Ask the Readers

Did you think you learned anything from this article. Did it bring anything to light that you hadn't considered before? What would you like to see analyzed using these stats? Or have you grown tired of them already? Please leave comments below and thanks for reading!