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Okay, But For Real, How Many Goals Will Brian Gibbons Score this Year?

Brian Gibbons leads the Devils in goals with 9. That’s 3 more than 2nd place Hall. How legit is he? What should we expect him to score moving forward?

Edmonton Oilers v New Jersey Devils
Ooh-Oooh Ahhh-Ahhh, I’m a Gibbon
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Brian Gibbons has 9 goals in 20 games played. Extrapolating that through the end of the season, his 0.45 goals per game would land him at 37 goals for the year. Last year that would land him at 6th in the NHL behind Vladimir Tarasenko. Now, if you prescribe to the Twainian mantra of 3 kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics; then you should just scroll to the comments now and discuss haggle over the minute differences between Gibbons and Tarsenko. If you occasionally like to partake in reality however, continue reading.

According to Corsica’s expected goals model, Gibbons has accumulated 3.73 expected goals in all situations so far. If he plays all 82 games this season and sees roughly the same usage volume and type, then we would assume that number would stay constant, projecting him for 11.56 expected goals in the remaining 62 games. And, this logic can be applied to every player on the team. Whic brings me to...

Team-Wide Projections

Since I’m currently procrastinating doing my actual job, I’ve decided to do this for every player and create prediction intervals for each of them as well. For Statties: I ran a simple linear regression model based on 2016-17 data using ixGF to predict goals. I used the results of that model and the assumed ixGF for the remaining games of each player to create prediction intervals for every player. I floored the results, making any negative numbers into zero, and I added the predicted interval to the goals they’ve already scored. The results are below.

And here is a tableau visual showing the exact same data. Hover to see the predictions and intervals. Why am I showing you this if it’s the same thing? Well I could say because visualizing may make my point clearer than numbers, but really its because I’m just learning tableau, I put a lot of time into trying to figure out how to work it, and wanted to make that time worth something. This is me putting my own crappy drawing on the fridge. Thank you for humoring me.

Again, this is under the assumption that every player plays every game the rest of the way, which id obviously not going to happen.

Brian Gibbons

Brian Gibbons’ prediction interval for his goal total in the remainder of games this season is 5.34 and 18.05 goals. This means we can say his goal total by year end will probably be somewhere between 14 and 27 goals, should he play every game. The specific prediction for him lands just north of 20 goals. For context, the upper end of his prediction, 27 goals, would have led last year’s squad. The actual prediction of just over 20 goals, would have been second only to Palmieri.

I’ve been poking fun at this Gibbons thing all year. Tweeting threats to those who disrespect as well as celebratory gifs when he scores. I’ve treated him the same way we treated the Bobby Farnham phenomenon two years ago. But these projections have Gibbons dangerously close to not-a-joke territory. Look at the list of Devils to have scored 20 goals in a season. There are verrry few names there that didn’t serve integral roles on the team. Gibbons is on track to join them.

Rest of Team

Part of why Gibbons has a chance at being, possible the most obscure addition to that aforementioned list is that the Devils are spreading scoring around to a lot of players this year more than typical. There are currently 7 players on course for 20+ goals by this model (In order: Hall, Palms, Rico, Wood, Nico, Stafford, and Gibbons). That would be tied for the most in Devils history with 4 seasons, the most recent of which was 2000-2001 (Jason Arnott, Sergei Brylin, Patrik Elias, John Madden, Randy McKay, Alexander Mogilny, and Petr Sykora). And I thought there was a fair share of surprising results.

I was surprised to see Bratt so low despite having 5 goals and playing really well. This model has him expected to finish with around 11 goals. It’s good to see Nico is expected to clear 20, though surprising that he is below Wood. Concerns about Zacha continued to be grounded in truth — he is projected for about the same amount of goals as John Moore the rest of the way. Zajac has only played a couple games, but the fact that he’s projected for only 4.24 goals raises an eyebrow. Mike and I both commented on him looking rusty last game. Hopefully he’s just warming back up into the game and he’ll return to his former production. Although nothing is surprising to me this year.

This has been a weird year in general for our Devils. And no one exemplifies that more than...

Your Thoughts

What do you expect from Brian Gibbons the rest of the way? What about next year? Exactly how for real is he? What about the other players? Were there any projections that particularly surprised you? What was the biggest miss in your opinion?

As always, leave comments below, and thanks for reading!