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Devils Offense Will Need to Keep Thriving on High Danger

The Devils were one of the best high danger teams last season. Come check out just how good they were, and why they want to keep that up this year.

NHL: MAY 07 Eastern Conference Second Round - Hurricanes at Devils Photo by Andrew Mordzynski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last season, the New Jersey Devils had an offense that thrived on generating high danger attempts on net while simultaneously preventing those against. In comparison, they were one of the best teams in this regard. Just check out the success that the forwards had last year in this regard when compared to others in the NHL. Here is a chart of Devils forwards last year, their high danger Corsi percentage, and where they rank in this stat when compared to other forwards with at least 200 5v5 minutes last year. Info comes from Natural Stat Trick. 458 forwards qualified.

As you can see, the Devils forwards dominated the league for the most part in the high danger areas. Again, there were 458 forwards who qualified on this list. The Devils had 7 forwards in the top 20 of those 458. That is an insanely high number. They had 10 in the top 100, not nearly as impressive a feat as 7 in the top 20, but that still puts them well above the curve.

The reason too was both offensive and defensive. There were only 47 forwards who had a CA/60 under 10, and the Devils had 6 of them, again a very high percentage when considering that there are 32 teams. Similarly, there were 54 forwards who had a CF/60 above 15, and the Devils had 7 of them. The Devils weren’t simply dominant on one end of the ice. They were excellent at generating high danger attempts for, while similarly dominant at preventing those same attempts against.

Obviously, this is a recipe for success. The high danger area is where a team is most likely to score, so having a game plan dedicated to maximizing your high danger attemps for while simultaneously preventing high danger attempts against is a great way to give your team the best chance to win. This year, Lindy Ruff and Co. will need to find a way to replace the high danger game of Tomas Tatar specifically, but also Miles Wood to a lesser extent. Tatar was the best high danger player for the Devils, and the third-best in the entire NHL behind only Jack Drury and Jansen Harkins. The man generated over 16.5 high danger attempts for per 60 minutes while allowing less than 10. That is optimal production, and with it gone, someone will need to step up.

The obvious replacement option for Tatar would be Tyler Toffoli, the man who will most likely be taking up a top-six wing position to play a similar game to Tatar. Last year for Calgary, Toffoli was fairly good in the high danger areas, ranking 82nd on the list with a 55.56 HDCF%. The Devils were a better high danger team than Calgary last year, so it isn’t unreasonable to think that Toffoli can improve on that number for this year and can easily enter the top 50 on that list. I’m not sure we can expect top 5 production here like Tatar had last year, but he should be good enough to keep the Devils as one of the best high danger teams in the NHL this year.

Overall, this is one major area of success for New Jersey that needs to continue for this team to maintain the level of success it enjoyed last season. Dominate the high danger areas, and you will win more often than not. Even with the loss of Tatar, who was an absolute beast in this regard, the Devils should still rank as one of the best teams in terms of controlling these areas of the ice, and I see no reason for that not to continue under Lindy Ruff. Let’s hope it leads to continued success for the team.