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Triumph

The Devils' Penalty Kill So Far

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The Devils' penalty kill is unremarkably slightly below average if you look at their goals against.  Indeed, even their shots against are only slightly above average.  Last season they finished 12th in shots against/60 and that's about where they are now.  I think they need work on preventing zone entries and also in-zone play but that's not what this post is about.

The difference from last year to this year is the offense - last year's penalty kill ranked 30th in shots for/60.  The Devils ended last season managing only 35 shots on goal while shorthanded.  This season, we are 8 games in and the Devils have 18 shots while shorthanded.  Now obviously the personnel has turned over - last season's PK featured a lot of Henrique, Zajac, Kalinin, Fiddler, Palmieri, and Smith-Pelly.  This season's PKers have been Gibbons, Henrique, Bratt, Coleman, Zacha, with a few others sprinkled in - Palmieri, Hischier, Noesen.  

While he's not standing out in any categories besides goals, the guy who has most impressed me here is Bratt, who is continually able to waste time.  Last night he made two really impressive plays - he was in the defensive zone corner with the puck, saw he could give himself space, and managed to pass the puck out of the zone.  Then in a later sequence he was able to get the Devils set up in the Sharks zone, passing the puck around for a good 30+ seconds, wasting time.  He's consistently able to gain the offensive zone and then, if he doesn't see any friendly ice ahead, he'll try to work the puck back to one of his D to waste more time.

I don't know if the tactics changed or it's just the personnel, but good on the Devils' coaching staff for allowing this kind of creative play on the PK.  It's not just Bratt doing this - Gibbons and Coleman and Henrique will all go deep into enemy territory to get the puck and keep it away from the opposition.  It will burn them at some point - someone will pick off a backward pass and get a look.  Hell, it already did burn them at one point in the Sabres game on Evander Kane's PP goal, but the Devils haven't shown any less faith in Bratt as a penalty killer and haven't demonstrably changed tactics.

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Watching other teams defend our zone entry, they make it virtually impossible for the devils to skate in... we wind up dumping 85% of the time or losing the possession when doubled at the line.

Conversely, it seems our PK strategy is to let them come in as we setup our alignment and let those deep angling chasers (rico, bratt, etc) to get back in.   We've played against some decent units so far, so average is not bad.. even with some bad puck luck..

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20 hours ago, EdgeControl said:

Watching other teams defend our zone entry, they make it virtually impossible for the devils to skate in... we wind up dumping 85% of the time or losing the possession when doubled at the line.

Conversely, it seems our PK strategy is to let them come in as we setup our alignment and let those deep angling chasers (rico, bratt, etc) to get back in.   We've played against some decent units so far, so average is not bad.. even with some bad puck luck..

Yeah, the Devils seem to let teams in but they don't seem to pressure that player once they do get in, either.  Even though the Devils' dump-ins do work sometimes on their own power play, sometimes they do not.  I don't know, that part seems to be a problem, but once the Devils do get the puck, it's trouble for opposition.

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Just a theory why not switch Moore on the Power Play and Put Sevs on the PK. Moore is a great skater could generate Offense. And Sevs a little bit stronger on the PK, any thoughts. Were Definitely in need of a D man whos strong on the puck down low, specially behind the net, and can clear on the PK.   

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In terms of defending an opponent's PP once they have possession, the general consensus is that you must pick one position not to pressure/attack when that player has the puck. It helps solve the problem on the PK'ers running around too much. For example, younger teams tend to let the man on the halfboards dictate the play, but they pressure both points and the man behind the endline if they have the puck. This is because he's the man least likely to put a dangerous shot on net.

In the NHL, this changes for each opponent. You obviously wouldn't want Backstrom from Washington (who seemingly always QB's the PP from the halfwall) have time and space because he'll pick you apart. Similarly, you wouldn't let Shea Weber have time from the point because he has a cannon. I haven't watched the Devil's PK enough to see what position they typically don't chase, but I wouldn't be surprised if it changes nightly. However, the bright side is that when the Devils killers do put pressure on opponents in zone, they've been fairly successful at taking the puck away, and even generating a bit of shorthanded offense.

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On ‎10‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 11:33 AM, Triumph said:

The Devils' penalty kill is unremarkably slightly below average if you look at their goals against.  Indeed, even their shots against are only slightly above average.  Last season they finished 12th in shots against/60 and that's about where they are now.  I think they need work on preventing zone entries and also in-zone play but that's not what this post is about.

The difference from last year to this year is the offense - last year's penalty kill ranked 30th in shots for/60.  The Devils ended last season managing only 35 shots on goal while shorthanded.  This season, we are 8 games in and the Devils have 18 shots while shorthanded.  Now obviously the personnel has turned over - last season's PK featured a lot of Henrique, Zajac, Kalinin, Fiddler, Palmieri, and Smith-Pelly.  This season's PKers have been Gibbons, Henrique, Bratt, Coleman, Zacha, with a few others sprinkled in - Palmieri, Hischier, Noesen.  

While he's not standing out in any categories besides goals, the guy who has most impressed me here is Bratt, who is continually able to waste time.  Last night he made two really impressive plays - he was in the defensive zone corner with the puck, saw he could give himself space, and managed to pass the puck out of the zone.  Then in a later sequence he was able to get the Devils set up in the Sharks zone, passing the puck around for a good 30+ seconds, wasting time.  He's consistently able to gain the offensive zone and then, if he doesn't see any friendly ice ahead, he'll try to work the puck back to one of his D to waste more time.

I don't know if the tactics changed or it's just the personnel, but good on the Devils' coaching staff for allowing this kind of creative play on the PK.  It's not just Bratt doing this - Gibbons and Coleman and Henrique will all go deep into enemy territory to get the puck and keep it away from the opposition.  It will burn them at some point - someone will pick off a backward pass and get a look.  Hell, it already did burn them at one point in the Sabres game on Evander Kane's PP goal, but the Devils haven't shown any less faith in Bratt as a penalty killer and haven't demonstrably changed tactics.

I don't think Bratt is going to be as much of a threat offensively as he teased in those first three games, but he strikes me as a guy who is going to be able to help you in a lot of different situations (as we're seeing on the PK), and will have a knack for doing a lot of the little things that won't always show up in the glamour numbers.  An unsung hero-type.  Not bad for a 6th-rounder.

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52 minutes ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

I don't think Bratt is going to be as much of a threat offensively as he teased in those first three games, but he strikes me as a guy who is going to be able to help you in a lot of different situations (as we're seeing on the PK), and will have a knack for doing a lot of the little things that won't always show up in the glamour numbers.  An unsung hero-type.  Not bad for a 6th-rounder.

Bratt's got good speed and an incredible awareness of space and how to use it.  He may not score a lot of goals but he's going to pile up the so-called 'glamour numbers'.

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6 minutes ago, Triumph said:

Bratt's got good speed and an incredible awareness of space and how to use it.  He may not score a lot of goals but he's going to pile up the so-called 'glamour numbers'.

Define "pile up".  As far as offensive numbers go, I think he'll have some seasons of around 50 points, as long as he doesn't miss many games. 

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2 hours ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

Define "pile up".  As far as offensive numbers go, I think he'll have some seasons of around 50 points, as long as he doesn't miss many games. 

I think the potential is quite higher than that, but a lot also depends on Hischier and what kind of opportunities Bratt is presented with.  Remember, he's not only just 19, he turned 19 in August.  He's going to get stronger and probably a little faster too.

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