New Jersey Devils: Damon Severson Is Having A Ridiculous Season. The Numbers Prove It.

Damon Severson #28 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Damon Severson #28 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Damon Severson has been the New Jersey Devils‘ best defenseman. There were times when this was also true last season, but that was because the Devils’ defense was atrocious last season. This season, the Devils’ defense has been much better overall, but Severson is still the best guy on the ice. The numbers prove it. The eye test proves it. Any metric one wants to use, Severson deserves more credit than he’s given.

Damon Severson is having himself a great season for the New Jersey Devils.

Let’s start with the numbers. Severson has the second-best on-ice CF% at 5v5 on the team. Only Jesper Bratt has a better number, but he’s only ahead by percentage points (59.54 to 59.26). The team is generating much more offense when he’s on the ice than his lines allow.

When it comes to high-danger chances for and against at 5v5, Severson is also second on the team among lineup regulars (technically, Connor Carrick and Mikhail Maltsev are ahead of him, but they’ve played a combined five games). So, not only are the Devils getting more total chances while Severson is on the ice, but they are getting more quality chances at the time. (Thanks to Natural Stat Trick for the data.) Severson is helping lead to 5v5 goals.

Admittedly, Severson has struggled on the power play. In 29 minutes of power play time, the team only has 23 total chances. Compare that to P.K. Subban and Ty Smith, and it’s not close. Subban has seen 37 chances in 26 minutes and Smith has helped develop 42 chances in 32 minutes. Hopefully, the power play getting better overall with Nico Hischier coming back helps immensely, but Severson HAS to be better with the man advantage.

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Anyway, back to Severson love. Speaking of Smith, the rookie defenseman has been night and day with Severson and without him. Smith has played 112 minutes with Severson this season (thanks to Dobber Prospects data). Their CF% together is 66.7%. His next most common defenseman is Matt Tennyson. Their CF% together is 34.6% in 60 minutes. That’s a pretty good sample size where Smith is getting destroyed.

Smith and Severson are taking the pressure off the Subban-Ryan Murray line. Since they’ve taken over as the top line, Subban doesn’t have the same pressure he felt last season. It’s clearly agreeing with him. Subban still isn’t the best defenseman on the ice, but he’s much better than he was last season. Having another line be able to defend and drive offense is only going to help the second and third lines.

Severson still has his detractors, but he always will. The numbers do not lie. He’s having a phenomenal season so far. Like the rest of the Devils, he needs to work on his special teams. We mentioned the power play, and he’s been on the ice for nine goals against on the penalty kill. However, it shouldn’t completely take away from what he’s been this season, and that’s the best Devils defenseman by far.