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10-24-2012, 02:05 PM
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Feed Me A Stray Cat
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Optimizing the Devils' PP

I don't think there's enough emphasis put on the skills that are necessary for a good PP. There is a tendency to just look at the players with the best box car stats and automatically assume they're the best powerplay options. The more one looks at PP production, though, the more it becomes obvious that certain players are much better scoring on the PP than others, even if they might be worse at even strength.

Here are the last three years of PP stats for NJ, limited to players who averaged at least 1min of PP time per game (not sure why the TOI isn't in seconds but rather out of 100, but it still gives the general idea).


Code:
	2011-2012							
	 NAME	       POS	GP   TOI/60	G/60	A1/60	A2/60	P/60
1	PATRIKELIAS	LW	81	3.26	1.59	1.59	2.05	5.23
2	ILYAKOVALCHUK	RW	77	4.72	1.49	1.65	0.83	3.97
3	ADAMHENRIQUE	C	74	1.64	0.00	1.98	1.98	3.96
4	ALEXEIPONI	        LW	82	1.32	2.22	0.55	1.11	3.88
5	DAVIDCLARKSON	RW	80	2.98	1.51	1.26	0.76	3.53
6	ZACHPARISE	LW	82	3.23	1.36	1.36	0.23	2.94
7	MAREKZIDLICKY	D	63	3.32	0.57	0.86	0.86	2.30
8	DAINIUSZUBRUS	C	82	1.75	1.67	0.00	0.42	2.09
9	PETRSYKORA	RW	82	1.91	1.53	0.38	0.00	1.92
10	ADAMLARSSON	D	65	1.62	0.00	1.14	0.57	1.71
11	MARKFAYNE  	D	82	1.50	0.00	0.00	0.98	0.98
								
	2010-2011							
	NAME	               POS	GP   TOI/60	G/60	A1/60	A2/60	P/60
1	PATRIKELIAS	LW	81	2.57	1.73	0.29	1.73	3.74
2	ANDYGREENE	D	82	1.27	0.57	1.72	1.15	3.45
3	ILYAKOVALCHUK	RW	81	3.99	1.11	1.30	0.37	2.79
4	MATTIASTEDENB	LW	58	1.86	1.11	1.11	0.56	2.78
5	BRIANROLSTON	C	65	2.36	1.96	0.39	0.39	2.74
6	TRAVISZAJAC	C	82	2.45	0.00	1.20	0.90	2.09
7	DAINIUSZUBRUS	C	79	2.32	0.33	0.65	0.00	0.98
8	DAVIDCLARKSON	RW	82	1.64	0.45	0.00	0.45	0.89
								
	2009-2010							
	NAME	POS	                GP  TOI/60	G/60	A1/60	A2/60	P/60
1	ZACHPARISE	LW	81	2.87	2.32	2.58	1.03	5.93
2	JAMIELANGENBR	RW	81	2.75	1.62	1.35	2.16	5.13
3	TRAVISZAJAC	C	82	2.66	1.37	1.92	1.65	4.94
4	ANDYGREENE	D	78	2.55	1.21	0.91	2.42	4.53
5	ILYAKOVALCHUK	RW	76	5.25	1.65	1.20	1.05	3.91
6	BRIANROLSTON	C	80	2.23	2.35	0.34	1.01	3.70
7	PATRIKELIAS	LW	58	2.47	0.42	2.51	0.42	3.35
8	DAVIDCLARKSON	RW	46	2.29	1.14	1.14	0.57	2.84
9	VLADIMIRZHARKO	RW	40	1.26	0.00	1.19	1.19	2.38
10	DAINIUSZUBRUS	C	51	1.92	0.61	0.61	0.61	1.83
We should always be cautious with yearly special teams statistics since they are highly volatile, however let's see if we can notice some three year trends.

THE BAD:
First thing that sticks out is Dainius Zubrus. Worst PP forward in 09-10, and second worst PP forward in 10-11 and 11-12. If we look at how Zubrus plays, this might make sense. He's not a cerebral player that relies on vision and quick decision making (very important on the PP), but rather he is great cycling and battling for possession. The fact that Zubrus got more PP time than Henrique looks pretty foolish.

Andy Greene, or rather his absence from the 11-12 list. Our best PP defenseman in 09-10 and 10-11, only to take a back seat to Mark Fayne in 11-12? Greene did not meet the 1MIN/game cut off in 11-12, but he still posted a a 2.44 P/60, which was better than all our other defenseman. Why does DeBoer insist on Mark Fayne when Greene has the track record to be serviceable on the PP?

THE GOOD:
Patrik Elias looks to be our best PP weapon, along with Ilya Kovalchuk. Elias has tremendous vision and patience, which makes him a great asset on the PP. Kovalchuk's per 60 stats are especially impressive given how much PP time he gets (most in the league by far). That's an extra minute of ice time on the PP where we're not exposed to Mark Fayne's, or another defenseman's, production.

The Parise-Zajac-Langenbrunner PP unit from 09-10 looked utterly dominant.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PP lines I'd like to see:


Kovalchuk - Zajac - Elias
Zidlicky - Greene


XXX - Henrique - Clarkson
Kovalchuk - Larsson

I want the XXX to be Kristian Huselius. In 10-11, Huselius posted a 4.25 P/60 on the PP, and a 4.98 P/60 in 09-10. The Devils need someone else with creativity and playmaking ability.

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