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Facts and Opinions: The Devils Powerplay

The Devils powerplay has been one of the several reasons for their struggles. I look at some truths, and some thoughts about it.

Montreal Canadiens v New Jersey Devils
Karl Stollery is our new Powerplay pointman.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

All statistics in this article were retrieved from

It’s been consolidated in this excel sheet.

Just so zero people get lost in this article. The only definitions you need to know to get through this article are below.

GF60 and GA60 means goals scored for and against per 60 minutes while a player was on the ice.

xGF60 and xGA60 are expected goals scored for and aginst per 60 minutes while the player was on the ice. Shot distance, shot angle, rebound, rush, and other variables go into this.

GF% and xGF% are goal and expected goal ratios. 50% means as many for as against.

FACT: Devils have worst xGF% on the powerplay. That comes from the 5th worst xGF60 and the 2nd worst xGA60.

OPINION: This paints the picture of a Powerplay that struggles to gain and keep the zone, and becomes a sieve

FACT: The Devils top unit is Palmieri, Hall, Zajac, and Wood. Lately its been with Stollery. They have also been the most productive. They make up the top 5 GF60 scorers on our roster.

OPINION: Wood has absolutely earned it. Stollery has been okay but also just really lucky. Severson’s xGF60 were way better so I’d expect a regression to uselessness from Stollery in the not-too-distant future.

FACT: Jacob Josefson has logged only 1.7 minutes per game on the powerplay (13th on the team) despite having the highest xGF% on the team.

OPINION: This seems to be a clear explanation of why Josefson has played only half the games this year. Coaches don’t seem to like his PP game. Well that and the concussion. Tough to play with one of those.

FACT: Karl Stollery logs the most PP time per game with 2.95 minutes per game. He’s been the man on the point a clear majority of the time on the man-advantage since he’s been brought up.

OPINION: The coaches were rightly unsatisfied with the PP performance. In a move that screams desperation from Geoff Ward, whose job is probably in jeopardy, Karl Stollery — a guy with a 6.5 D rating from Hockey’s Future — was brought up for a spark. He’s done fine. He’s not the answer.

FACT: Since that time, Severson and Quincey have been taken off the PP completely, while Merrill has been left on. This despite the fact that Severson’s xGF60 is 5.97 (5th on the team), almost 3 times that of Merrill’s at 2.01 (21st on the team).

OPINION: I am likely one of Merrill’s loudest critics. And even I have to admit he’s raise his competency level markedly in his latest stroll in the NHL. That said, he belongs nowhere near the man-advantage. The stats bear that out.

FACT: Severson leads our defenders in shots with 65. That is 64th among NHL defenders.

OPINION: Some of the names ahead of him are Burns, Karlson, Ekblad, Chara, Weber, Doughty, Fowler, Gostisbehere, Keith, Shattenkirk, Ekman-Larsson, Letang, Hedman, Subban, McDonagh. ...

I just look at that list and think of how many great defenders there are in this league, and how — as much as I love Andy — it’s clear we do not have one on this roster. This is a massive factor in our powerplay ineptitude.

FACT: The Devils PP has gotten worse as the season has progressed.

OPINION: Despite all these moves the powerplay continues to regress. And for a team that doesn’t light the lamp a lot to begin with, an anemic 5-4 game will render us impotent with annoying regularity.

FINAL OPINION: I think that it has to be because one of two things — no #1 defender, or Geoff Ward is failing. I think the lack of a dynamic offensive defender really gets in our way. We have enough talent up front with Hall, Palmieri, Henrique, Zajac, and maybe even Wood. But we need to go get a top shelf defender that moves the puck forward — preferably into the opposing teams net. That’d be ideal. If we decide that that’s not the problem. The next on the chopping block is Ward.

YOUR OPINION: What do you think of the Devils powerplay? What is it missing? Does it need fixing in technique, in roster, in effort, or in luck? Leave your thoughts below and thanks for reading!