I'm the guy who said that Mike Cammalleri needs to be talked about more as he is the best offensive producer on the team.
I'm also the guy that has said we are an average team when healthy, but a bad team after 1 or 2 key injuries.
So it may be surprising to see me of the opinion that our recent offensive stall (1 goal in two games) is not chiefly attributable to the absence of Cammalleri. But that is my position. However, with TG's most recent tweets:
Devils just put Mike Cammalleri on IR retroactive to Dec. 30 -- means he can be activated at any time, but looks like call-up coming.— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) January 7, 2016
No real update on Mike Cammalleri other than he's definitely out for tomorrow night, which we pretty much knew already.— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) January 7, 2016
it seems like this injury will have him out at least a few more games.
There are a couple important things to analyze here. I will analyze our dependence on Cammalleri up until this point. Then I will look at our performance in the last couple games. Then I will look at outside factors.
Dependence on Cammalleri?
As I mentioned above, I wrote an article on how Cammalleri is clearly our best offensive force. However, to slightly amend that, he is not our only offensive force. According to 5v5 data from War-on-Ice even strength, Cammalleri is 4th in iCF (individual shot attempts), iSC (individual scoring chances) and iHSC (individual high-danger scoring chances). He is behind Kyle Palmieri, Lee Stempniak, and Adam Henrique in all three categories. Some may rightly point out that, although Cammalleri's reputation is as a shooter, this season in particular he has been a prolific passer as well. This makes him a scoring chance generator. He is first on our team in SCF60 and HSCF60 (Scoring/High-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes). However, Stemper, Travis Zajac, and Cam are all between 23 and 24 scoring chances per 60; and Cam, Rico, and Stemper are all between 10 and 11 high scoring chances per 60.
These are the impressive Cammalleri-at-evens stats, but those on-ice stats may be inflated by him being a member of the very productive SCAR line (Stemper, CAmmalleri, Rico) as evidenced by his linemates being so close to his level in both stats. As an individual shot-taker, we are clearly not dependent on him. So maybe it is the powerplay?
With the man-advantage, Kyle Palmieri is out point leader. Zajac has scored more goals than Cam. Cammalleri is also 8th in SCF60 with the man-advantage. Once again, clearly we are not dependent on him in this area.
Performance Last Two Games
So how have we done the last few games offensively? Well we've had 3 games since he's been injured -- A gutsy 3-2 win over Dallas, a hangover shutout loss to Detroit, and a clunker against the Habs. Only 1 goal in the last two games have some worried about a Cam-less offense. But goals do not tell the whole tale. Below is a War-on-Ice graphic of scoring chances per game.
If you view the tabular representation of this data, you'll see that, of the last three games, only the Montreal game has even cracked the bottom 10 of our game total scoring chances per minute (8th lowest). They have been very typical offensive games for the Devils. The same is true for Corsi, Fenwick, Shots, and High-Danger Scoring Chances. We have been fine from a big data perspective. So what's wrong?
What's Gone Wrong?
Plain and simple, we've been unlucky. We have remarkably had exactly 48 Corsi attempts in each of the last three games which means that in the last two games, we have been 1 of 96. The league-wide average is just over 4.75% so we would have expected to get at least 4 goals in the last two games with average luck.
We're okay so far. I do believe Cammalleri is a great NHL forward, a bona fide 1st line player, and arguably the best non-all-star in the league. However, based on the production of the last few games. I think we might just make it out okay.