New Jersey by the Numbers: Pre-season


“New Jersey by the Numbers” will be a new weekly post that I will be writing each Sunday during the NHL season to update you the fans on some interesting statistical analysis for the New Jersey Devils during the past week.

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This first post will be dedicated to the Devil’s preseason. Although these games were not meaningful to the season, there were some interesting trended that should be noted. Also, another thing to remember is most of these games were played without the full starting roster, so some data will be skewed. However, this will also serve as an introduction on what to expect in the upcoming posts during the regular season, so hope you enjoy!

Preseason Record
Devils Record – 4 wins 1 Loss 1 OTL

  • Sept 22 – NJ Devils 5 at 4 NY Rangers
  • Sept 25 – NJ Devils 0 at 4 PHI Flyers
  • Sept 26 – NJ Devils 2 at 3 NY Islanders (SO)
  • Sept 28 – PHI Flyers 1 at 3 NJ Devils
  • Oct 2 – NY Islanders 1 at 2 NJ Devils (SO)
  • Oct 4 – NY Rangers 0 at 3 NJ Devils

Devils’ Revamped Offense 

Apr 1, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Patrik Elias (26) shoots against the Buffalo Sabres during the third period at First Niagara Center. Sabres beat the Devils 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

New Jersey dedicated this summer to re-vamping their offense. The additions of Mike Cammalleri & Martin Havlat were aimed to fix the Devils’ offense, which ranked in the bottom 5 of the NHL last season. This pre-season, New Jersey posted 14 goals in 6 games. Last year the Devils had posted a goals per game average of 2.4, which was about .1 higher than the G/G New Jersey had this pre-season of 2.333.

Another area which the Devils needed to improve on was their offense during even strength play. Finishing second to last in the NHL last season for 5v5 goals, the Devils did not do a great job improving this pre-season. Out of the 14 goals they scored, 8 of them were scored during 5v5 play. On average this pre-season during 5v5 play, the Devils averaged 1.85 goals per 60 minutes.

Again these stats are worth noting, but the Devils played 4 games with half of their starting squad in the game. These numbers should improve when the entire starting roster plays the entire 60 minutes, so expect these numbers to get better.

Devils during the Shootout
The Devils went into two shootouts this pre-season, both against the NY Islanders. The first chance the Devils lost 2-1, but in their second chance they won 1-0 in 5 rounds.

Offensively, the Devils were not great. Reid Boucher and Travis Zajac were the only Devils who were able to find twine for New Jersey. Scoring two out of seven opportunities is not great, but it was the first time the Devils successfully won a shootout contest since 2012.

A great stat worth noting was in the second shootout, the Devils’ starting goaltender Cory Schneider was a perfect 5 for 5 in stopping shots. Schneider said he spent a great deal of time practicing shootouts situations in the off-season, and hopefully the Devils will find success during the season.

Devils Back-up Goalie Competition
Although it was decided on Saturday, Scott Clemmensen and Keith Kinkaid were competing for the back-up position on the NHL roster this pre-season. Keith Kinkaid was assigned to Albany Saturday, but numbers would tell you Kinkaid won the battle.

Both goalies played about a game and a half this pre-season. Clemmensen started the opening preseason game against the Rangers, as well as played the entire game verse the Flyers later in the pre-season. Clemmensen faced 26 shots and allowed 3 goals. A save percentage of 88.5% is not worth bragging about, and the out of the 3 goals he allowed, 1 was given up while the Devils were on the man-advantage.

Keith Kinkaid played the same amount of time, but in his brief shot, he really turned heads. Kinkaid stopped 37 of the 41 shots he faced, earning of a save percent fractionally higher than Clemmensen with a 90.2%. Also, Kinkaid played in 1 overtime which went into a shootout. During the shootout, Kinkaid was beat 2 out of three times, but during the overtime he made a highlight reel save. 

Kinkaid outplayed Clemmensen this pre-season, and deserved the roster spot, however one number shines above that, age. Keith Kinkaid is 25 while Clemmensen is 37. Having a young goalie who demonstrated great potential sit the bench is not a smart development move. Clemmensen will play back-up to Schneider while Kinkaid will be able to play in Albany until being called upon. 

Line Evaluations 

Nov 20, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; New Jersey Devils players Marek Zidlicky (2), Andy Greene (6), Jaromir Jagr (68) and Travis Zajac (19) celebrate after a goal in overtime as Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller (1) reacts at Honda Center. The Devils defeated the Ducks 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Line 1
Jaromir Jagr (GP: 4, G: 1, A: 0), Travis Zajac  (GP: 4, G: 0, A: 1), Mike Cammalleri (GP: 4, G: 1, A: 1)
The top line started to generate some offense after a shaky start in Philadelphia. Following a 0-4 loss in the Devils’ second pre-season, the line was brought into question, and DeBoer commented that it was in a “dating” phase. The grouping started to find it’s stride and should be a dominant top line come the start of the season.

Line 2
Dainius Zubrus (GP: 3, G: 1, A: 0), Patrik Elias (GP: 3, G: 0, A: 3), Martin Havlat (GP: 3, G: 1, A; 1)
This line is based upon the pairing of Elias and Havlat. When Martin Havlat was brought in this summer, the tight friendship between him and Elias lead us to believe that the two would have great chemistry together. In three games the two have generated 5 points and 14 shots. Zubrus can be a nice addition if it works out, otherwise this slot may be open if the pairing does not produce with him.

Line 3
Michael Ryder (GP: 4, G: 3, A: 1), Adam Henrique (GP: 4, G: 1, A: 1), Ryane Clowe (GP: 2, G: 0, A: 0)
Michael Ryder’s numbers jump out at you as he lead the team in goals this pre-season. However, fans may be weary because he is a notoriously streaky scorer. Henrique looked stellar this pre-season, especially with that goal against the Rangers in the opening pre-season. His confident play will improve his linemates, as we have seen with Ryder’s performance. Clowe will start to produce once he gets back to game pace as he only played in 2 games this pre-season.

Line 4
This Line is up for grabs. The top performers this preseason who earned a spot is Damien Brunner, Tuomo Ruutu and surprisingly Scott Gomez. Damien Brunner highlighted this group, with 3 assists in 4 games. He generated 13 shots in those games, out-shooting the rest of the top 9 forwards. He produces offense, and deserves a spot on the ice. Ruutu had one assist this pre-season, but on a line with Brunner looked to creative lots of good offensive chances. The biggest surprise was Scott Gomez, as he combined for 2 goals and 1 assist in 3 games.

Reid Boucher and Stefan Matteau both looked good, but the important stat worth noting is the age of these two prospects. They will be in Albany so they get time on the ice. Recent news has told us that Steve Bernier was placed on waivers, so if he is claimed a player like Carter or another player on a PTO will get signed. Should be interesting!

The Defense looks to be set with Andy Greene, Jon Merrill, Marek Zidlicky, Bryce Salvador, Adam Larsson, and Eric Gelinas. The starters looked good, and should be ready for opening night.

The main competition was for the final spot on the roster between Damon Severson & Peter Harrold. Severson out played already high expectations and has been in the conversation to break onto the starting roster. Severson posted 1 assist in 5 games and was only on the ice for 1 goal against which happened when the Devils were on the power play. As we learned earlier today, Peter Harrold was put on waviers, so if he is claimed, Severson will definitely start the season in Newark.


Sep 25, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (35) during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers defeated the Devils, 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Starting goaltender Cory Schneider had a rough start to the pre-season with an ugly game against the Flyers. In the 32 shots he faced, he allowed 4 goals, three of which came on the power play. Since that start, Schneider went 2-0-0 and stopped 40 of 41 shot attempted. He won a game against the Islanders which went to a shootout, and shut out the Rangers in the pre-season finale. In total, his pre-season record was 2-1-0 and had a save percentage of 94.3%, which shows he is more than ready for his first season as the franchise’s lone starting goaltender in his career.

The battle between Scott Clemmensen and Keith Kinkaid was mentioned above, but important to restate that although Kinkaid had better numbers, he was sent to Albany so he can remain on the Ice while Clemmensen will spend a majority of the season waiting on the bench.

In conclusion, this was an extremely long post, but had a lot to cover. Posts in the future will only cover a week at time. To end this piece, here is a heads up for the week ahead. The Devils’ open the season against in Philadelphia verse the Flyers on Thursday. The Devils will end their week in Florida where they will take on the Panthers Saturday night.

The last number and one of the most exciting of the post is 3! 3 more days until the Devils open the season and we cannot wait!

Comment below! Whats your opinion?