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By the Numbers: 14 Left, But Really Done

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After the game the other night against Colorado, the New Jersey Devils have only 14 games remaining in their 2014-2015 campaign. They have been more successful of late than they were earlier, but how is that showing up in the numbers? Let's look.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

68 games through the NHL season for the New Jersey Devils has them back under the NHL.500 mark with a record of 28-29-11.  Over the last 13 games, however, the Devils have gone 7-4-2, which is a fine record overall.  Extrapolate that over a full season, and NJ would end up with over 96 points, which is playoff potential.  Say what you want about this team not making the playoffs again, but for the most part (that Minnesota game aside) this team has been playing hard to win games for the new coaching trio.  If the Devils of last year had this momentum towards the end of the season, there is a chance they could have made it in.  Instead, they faltered in March with a record barely above .500, getting beaten out for those final wild card positions.

Sadly, this year the Metro has been much better overall, with four teams at the top really playing top notch hockey.  This leaves teams who play mediocre hockey or worse to have no chance at a wild card position.  So here the Devils are on the outside looking in.  What it does say for sure, however, is that New Jersey really needs to improve for next year.  Last year mediocre hockey was good enough to make things interesting for most of the season.  Now, with an improved Metro, that won't cut it. How mediocre have the stats been?  Let's see.

NHL.com Stats

These stats come from NHL.com. I definitely recommend that you check out the new stats page, especially the enhanced stats section, which is a nice addition to what was once there.  While the stats I have been using for this year are the basic stats, having all of those extra stats there are very helpful and informative.

Note: If you need an explanation of what any stat is, a list is at the end of this article. Also, if you would like to compare these stats to the previous articles, they are linked at the bottom.

Team

Point %

G/GP

GA/GP

5-5 F/A

PP%

PK%

S/GP

SA/GP

FO%

NJD

.493

2.21

2.52

0.95

19.4

80.9

24.2

30.7

47.3

Rank

24th

28th

11th

22nd

10th

19th

29th

24th

28th

So no considerable changes from last time, which makes sense.  As of the last article, the Devils were already entrenched in the new system and playing somewhat better hockey, and that has continued up to now.  Point percentage has risen from .464 to .493, but it was up to .500 before the Minnesota loss.  If that positive trend continues, however, then NJ should end up with a point percentage over .500, which would be a compliment considering how bad they were back in December.

One of the biggest improvements has been with goals against per game (GA/GP).  The Devils have jumped up 5 spots in the rankings, up to 11th in the league which is quite good.  I personally believe this improvement speaks to just how well Cory Schneider has been playing.  He has been a brick wall in net most nights, and Keith Kinkaid has played well too when given the opportunity.  They really are going to be the catalyst for this team in the future if it is to improve and make the playoffs again.

Also, the penalty kill continues to improve from its atrocious start to the season.  Now, the Devils are all the way up to an 80.9% kill conversion rate, which is good for 19th in the league.  Last time, the Devils were at 25th in the league.  Back in November, the Devils were next to last in PK% through 20 games, so it has been a nice climb since then.  This is also considering that the power play continues to hover around 10th in the league, which is nothing to complain about.  Special teams have not been terrible for New Jersey this season.

The last stat to mention is faceoff percentage, where we see the Devils drop to 28th in the league with a really poor 47.7% win percentage.  13 games ago, they were at 24th in the league with a 48.3% win percentage.  While faceoff wins are not a major stat like the others, it can help to drive possession and can really kill a team when faceoffs are lost in the defensive zone.  The Devils do not have a great faceoff team, and have not for a while now.

Hockey Analysis Stats

The other area I have been looking to for stats is Hockey Analysis.  Again, this is far from the most advanced and updated website.  War on Ice really has that banner now.  But for this purpose, Hockey Analysis works just fine.

Note: Advanced stats note only 5 on 5 action, to remove as many score effects as possible.

Team

FF

FA

FF%

CF

CA

CF%

OZFO%

DZFO%

NZFO%

PDO

NJD

1824

2098

46.5

2441

2744

47.1

28.9

33.3

37.8

101.0

Rank

29th

11th

26th

29th

7th

25th

28th

7th

4th

7th

Here, despite a winning record, we see a considerable drop in possession.  Through 55 games, the Devils had a 48.6 FF% and a 50.2 CF%.  Those were good for 22nd and 17th in the league, respectively.  Now, as you can see, both the Fenwick and Corsi have dropped.  Fenwick has dropped over 2 percentage points, which has dropped NJ down to 26th in the league.  Corsi has almost dropped 3 whole percentage points, which has made the Devils fall 8 spots in the rankings down to 25th.

What does this mean?  Well, it means that the Devils have been winning games recently despite getting hammered in possession.  This makes sense to anyone who watches regularly, as the Devils have been outshot in pretty much every single game they have played in.  But this also means that more attempts are going against NJ too.  A lot more.  13 games ago, the Devils actually had a positive Corsi.  Now, it is distinctly in the negative column at just over 47%.  That is a disturbing trend.  But hey, at least their PDO has remained constant at around 101.

Goaltender Stats

Here are the stats for New Jersey's goalies.  Most of Cory Schneider's stats will come from the Devils' main website, with some extra coming from Hockey Reference.

Goalie

GP

GS

W

L

OT

GA

SA

SV

SV%

GAA

SO

PIM

MIN

QS

Cory Schneider

59

58

24

25

7

125

1702

1577

.927

2.22

4

0

3,378

38

Rank

1st

1st

16th

3rd

9th

9th

1st

1st

3rd

8th

11th

30th

3rd

N/A

He is just a beast.  Plain and simple.  At this point, looking at his body of work this season and realizing he still has much left in the tank, it is pretty clear that trading the 9th pick for Schneider has been Lou Lamoriello's best draft decision since perhaps taking Zach Parise back in 2003.  For sure, it has been his best decision since taking Adam Henrique.

Schneider's save percentage is now essentially on par with his career .926.  His GAA keeps dropping, now down to 2.22, good for a top 10 position in the league despite having a losing record for a subpar team.  He is extremely successful despite the lack of success by the Devils overall, and I would have to say that if the Devils were a playoff team, he would be in the Vezina talks.

Kinkaid has his stats on the Devils main website, which helps for ranking purposes, and some info will also come from Hockey Reference as well.  Here is how the backup has been playing.

Goalie

GP

GS

W

L

OT

GA

SA

SV

SV%

GAA

SO

MIN

QS

Keith Kinkaid

14

9

4

4

3

27

318

291

.915

2.56

0

633

6

Rank

54th

59th

60th

57th

28th

58th

57th

57th

34th

46th

50th

59th

N/A

Not bad for the kid.  His .915 save percentage puts him on par with goalies such as Ben Bishop, Frederik Andersen, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Jonas Hiller.  It puts him above goalies such as Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier (.914), Ryan Miller (.913), Jaroslav Halak (.911), and Kari Lehtonen (.905).  When looking at it from that perspective, while he has played much less than all of those goalies, nonetheless that is still a big positive.  He has been a very competent backup, and I hope he only improves as he continues to get more starts.

What Does It All Mean?

Well, at this point in the season, the Devils are what they are.  They have been for a while now.  They are a poor possession team with an excellent goaltender who keeps them in games and gives them a chance to win night in and night out.  At this point, the Devils really need to evaluate the numbers and the players to see how to improve for next season.  This team was successful (or at least more so) when it was a possession giant and controlled the run of play.  The Devils now have the goaltending to make that type of system be highly effective.  If they can bring in the players and develop who they have to drive play and become a dominant possession team again, they will be playoff bound.  That is a lot easier said than done however.

Your Thoughts

What are your thoughts?  What do you think the data says about the New Jersey Devils through 68 games?  What other statistical information can you provide that tells something else about this team?  Please leave your comments in the section below, and thanks for reading.

Old Articles:

The First 10 games.

20 Games in.

The Numbers Through 30.

The Numbers at the Halfway Mark.

55 Games Down.

Other websites with quality statistics to check out:

www.war-on-ice.com

www.behindthenet.ca

www.puckalytics.com

www.naturalstattrick.com

Statistics Chart:

Point% = percentage of points the Devils have gained

G/GP = goals per game played

GA/GP = goals against per game played

5-5 F/A = Ratio of goals for versus against in 5 on 5 play

PP% = power play percentage

PK% = penalty kill percentage

S/GP = shots per game played

SA/GP = shots against per game played

FO% = faceoff percentage

FF = number of Fenwick events for the Devils

FA = number of Fenwick events against the Devils

FF% = Fenwick For percentage

CF = number of Corsi events for the Devils

CA = number of Corsi events against the Devils

CF% = Corsi For percentage

OZFO% = offensive zone faceoff percentage

DZFO% = defensive zone faceoff percentage

NZFO% = neutral zone faceoff percentage

PDO = statistic to determine luck.  Add a team's shooting percentage and save percentage at even strength.  100 is the mean.

QS = Quality Start for goalies.  A quality start is when a goaltender has a save percentage greater than his average SV% for the year.  If he faces less than 20 shots, however, he only needs a save percentage of .885 to get a quality start.