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2013 - 2014 Devils Passing Review: Devils vs the Pacific Division

This is a look at the passing statistics for the New Jersey Devils and their Pacific Division opponents. Read on for the details.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

This is a look at how the New Jersey Devils and their opponents fared in their Pacific Division matchups this past season. As I’ve written a lot on the Devils with obvious reasons, this post will focus more on the opposing players. Since the sample size for these players and teams is only from two to five games, we’ll treat this as "What Players/Teams were the Devils able to contain?" and also, "Which Players/Teams had their way with the Devils?" In the interest of brevity, on an individual level, I’ll be looking solely at shot generation and Corsi contribution; on a team level, I’ll be looking at efficiency and where shots were generated from.

These four posts will serve as a bit of a preview to future work done on systems, what teams do to counter other teams, and more in-depth analysis. Why were the Devils more/less effective against certain teams? As sample sizes of the opposition grow, we may be able to venture educated guesses into how and why. Let’s get to it.

Summer Passing Series Links

Primer

Part One: Efficiency and Winning

Part Two: The Transition Game

Part Three: Offensive Zone Analysis

Part Four: Generating Goals

Part Five: Corsi Contribution

Part Six: Frequency of Offense

Part Seven: Does Accuracy Matter?

Part Eight: Team Comparison

Part Nine: Devils and the Metro

Part Ten: Devils and the Atlantic

Part Eleven: Devils and the Central

Vancouver Canucks

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Dam Hamhuis and Kevin Bieska each generated seven shot attempts against the Devils. Hamhuis generated fewer shots (two to Bieska’s five), but was involved in twelve of the sixteen Corsi events while he was on the ice. Bieska added eight shot attempts of his own to go along with the seven he generated.

Cory Tanev and Alex Edler each generated four attempts. Edler tied Bieska for the position lead with eight shot attempts of his own. Jason Garrison on the ice for the most Corsi events (34), but was involved the least with only one SAG and five iCF.

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Henrik Sedin generated eleven shot attempts and six shots, adding four shot attempts of his own. His brother, Daniel, generated eight shot attempts, five shots, and added eight of his own shot attempts. The duo were involved in half of the Corsi events while they were on the ice.

Mike Santorelli generated the third highest number SAG (7) and iCF (7), doing his part to contribute while on the ice (63.6%). Chris Higgins led all forwards with ten shot attempts while generating three shots on four attempts. Ryan Kesler was efficient passing the puck as he generated three shots on four attempts, but only attempted three shots himself.

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The Canucks, much like other Western Conference teams, were more efficient and controlled a greater share of transition shot attempts generated in the passing game. The Devils controlled the larger share of offensive zone shot attempts, but only by a few percentage points.

Phoenix Coyotes

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Only four of the Coyotes’ defensemen generated shot attempts via their passing: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (2 SAG, 1 SG), Dean Schlemko (3 SAG, 2 SG), Zibyanek Michalek (4 SAG, 3 SG), and Keith Yandle (4 SAG, 2 SG) were those four and they were the ones driving the Corsi bus from the blue line. Yandle and Ekman-Larsson were most involved as they each attempted eight of their own shot attempts.

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Mike Ribeiro, personal issues or not, tore into the Devils in his only game against them. He generated five shots on eight attempts, while attempting two of his own. Phoenix attempted nineteen shots with him on the ice, in one game! Impressive.

Mikael Boedker (7 SAG, 4 SG) and Kyle Chipchura (7 SAG, 5 SG) were second in volume generated. Shane Doan generated three shots on six attempts, adding eight attempts of his own. Radim Vrbata added three shots on five attempts generated, adding three shot attempts of his own. The production mostly arrived from these five forwards.

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The Devils controlled a significant amount of the shot attempts generated via passing, but the Coyotes made theirs count more as they had a 20% edge in efficiency. So, for all the Corsi and attempts the Devils had, the Coyotes actually had more shots from their passing than the Devils.

Anaheim Ducks

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Hamphus Lindholm was the most effective passer among Ducks defensemen, generating three shots on four attempts and adding four of his own. He contributed to 40% of the team’s Corsi while on the ice, a big number for a defenseman. The Ducks also posted their highest Corsi total with Lindholm on the ice.

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Ryan Getzlaf stands out with seven shot attempts generated, but those yielded only two shots. He added six shot attempts of his own and contributed to thirteen of the team’s sixteen Corsi events with him on the ice. The team did its most damage with Corey Perry on the ice (3 SAG, 1 SG, 6 iCF). Daniel Winnik posted a decent stat line over both games: two shots generated on four attempts and six shot attempts of his own, contributing to 62.5% of the Ducks’ Corsi when on the ice.

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The Ducks controlled 75% of the shot attempts generated in transition, were 12% more efficient than the Devils, while the Devils controlled shot attempts generated in the offensive zone. You’ll notice the Ducks generated just as many shots as the Devils via their passing, despite the Devils generating so many more attempts.

Calgary Flames

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Chris Butler led the Flames’ blue line with four shots generated on seven attempts. There was not much else from the other Flames defensemen. Dennis Wideman attempted nine shots in one game, and Kris Russell attempted eight over two, but this was a unit that did not get too involved in generating offense.

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Sean Monahan generated three shots on three attempts and added six shot attempts of his own. The Flames received a little bit of offense from everyone for the most part. Sven Baertschi generated two shots on four attempts, Joe Colborne generated four shots on four attempts, and Jiri Hudler led the group with six attempts generated, but only had two shots to show for it.

Nj_cgy_comparison

Almost done with these, as I’m sure many of you are tired of seeing the Devils control the larger share of offense generated via their passing, only to see their opponents as far more efficient.

Los Angeles Kings

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Jake Muzzin led all Kings defensemen with six shot attempts generated, resulting in three shots. Alec Martinez led the blue line with nine shot attempts. Unsurprisingly, the Kings totaled their highest number of Corsi events with Drew Doughty on the ice (41), of which he contributed to nine events—three via pass, and six of his own shot attempts.

Doughty, Slava Voynov, and Martinez each contributed identical passing stat lines (3 SAG, 1 SG). Robyn Regehr and Willie Mitchell contributed next to nothing.

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So, Anze Kopitar is quite good. Over two games he generated fourteen shot attempts, six shots, and attempted nine shots of his own. The team recorded forty-one Corsi events with Kopitar on the ice, twenty-three of which Kopitar contributed to (56.1%).

Justin Williams (11 iCF) and Dustin Brown (13 iCF) were the obvious benefactors of Kopitar dishing the puck. In these two games against the Devils, Kopitar was certainly the straw that stirred the drink, to use a tired cliché.

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The Kings controlled 85% of the shot attempts generated in transition and were nearly identical with the Devils in terms of shot attempts generated in the offensive zone. Both teams were not that great in the efficiency department, but the Kings held a small edge (43.5% to 40.8%). The low efficiency points to the similar styles of the two teams. Notable differences between the two? The Kings most likely are a better team at creating offense in the neutral zone, and also have a bit more skill in their lineup than the Devils.

Edmonton Oilers

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Jeff Petry generated four shot attempts and two shots, adding four of his own shot attempts against the Devils. Petry contributed to just under a third of the twenty-six Corsi events while on the ice—a solid percentage for a defenseman. Each of the other Oiler defensemen generated at least one shot attempt, but no more than two. It was a low-event group apart from Petry.

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Up front, Nail Yakupov led all forwards with four shots generated on eight attempts. He added four attempts of his own and was on the ice for the highest number of Corsi events (26), contributing to nearly half (46.2%). Ales Hemsky (7 SAG, 3 SG), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (6 SAG, 4 SG), and Taylor Hall (6 SAG, 3SG) each produced solid stats in the passing game. Hall led all forwards with nine shot attempts as he contributed to 71.4% of the Corsi events while on the ice.

Mike Arcobello generated three shots on five attempts, providing some secondary offense in the passing game for the Oilers. Jordan Eberle generated four attempts, but none reached the net. He did add seven shot attempts of his own to help make up for it.

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Edmonton controlled 56.5% of the shot attempts generated in transition, yet the Devils controlled the offensive zone shot attempts generated and were also the more efficient team (55% to 47.1%).

San Jose Sharks

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Jason Demers generated nine attempts via his passing in just two games for the Sharks. He added eight attempts of his own, contributing to 45.9% of the team’s Corsi total while on the ice, a staggeringly high number for a defenseman. Scott Hannan added three attempts on five generated, but the rest of the blue line seemed to allow most of the offense to run through Demers.

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Joe Thorton generated six shots on nine attempts. He added four of his own attempts, contributing to 61.9% of the team’s offense while on the ice. The rest of the offense was pretty spread out with several players notching two, three, or even four and five shot attempts generated. A strong performance from the Sharks forwards in the passing game.

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It’s fitting we close on a graph we’ve seen too many times: The Devils controlled offense generated within the offensive zone, the opposition controlled transition shot attempts generated and more efficient.

Lend a Hand, Will Ya?

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, with more data comes more concrete analysis. As any statistical work should do, this process evolves and becomes more refined based on what is most relevant. After compiling all of this data for a season of the Devils and their opposition, I’ve discovered that about 10% of the tracked data tells us 90% of what’s relevant. By this I simply mean passes that lead shot attempts and shots tell us far more than the passes that do not lead to events. I’ve decided to change up my approach for the coming season.

I’ll be updating my Primer to reflect this, but by adding new categories for how and where shot attempts are generated, it will give us a more in-depth look at how and where teams create offense and what players are more involved than others. In addition to this, I’ll be tracking all 5-on-5 situations as well as 5-on-5 close situations to be able to account for score effects. An added bonus is that this significantly reduces the amount of events I’ll be tracking and makes it much less time-consuming. That’s where you come in.

If anyone has been interested in tracking stats or has tracked zone exits or entries previously and wants to try something new, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@RK_Stimp) and let me know. If you just did one team, you’d probably be looking at 50 – 75 events each game, which isn’t too bad and won’t interrupt the flow of the game that much if at all (think 15 – 25 events per period). Let me know and don’t be shy.