It is no surprise that the New Jersey Devils were not as good at the shootout in 2013 as they were in 2011-12. They went 12-4 in the shootout in 2011-12, which was the most wins in the NHL that season. Last year, they went 2-7, losing every single shootout on the road. If they had won on the same clip that they did the year prior, they would have been one win away from making the post season.
The Devils were offensively challenged towards the end of last season. They were playing with a not 100 percent Ilya Kovalchuk, and seemed to never have the bounces go their way. So, how exactly is there any hope to the shootout when their two best players in 2012, Zach Parise and Kovalchuk, left? Kovalchuk scored eleven shootout goals that year and Parise scored eight, good for first and third in the league, respectively.
This may seem like a stretch, but this team seems like they are poised for a turnaround in that respect. They brought in Ryane Clowe, who, in previous seasons with the San Jose Sharks, was very good at the shootout. Jaromir Jagr may be older, but he still has a wonderful shot, which is useful in the shootout. Patrick Elias is used to being very good when it comes to the shootout, and last season was probably the exception, not the rule. They also have Michael Ryder and Adam Henrique, who have shown times where they can be good at the extra period.
The skaters weren’t the only problem when it came to the shootout. Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg were both awful in the extra period, both sporting a save percentage that was under .500 on the road. To see Brodeur do so poorly, someone who has been usually exceptional since the shootout was implemented, was more than a surprise. Maybe it was the age, since it was at the end of a game and an overtime period, or the fact that he was dealing with back issues. Either way, he needs to step up his game. Corey Schneider comes in from the Vancouver Canucks, and he was much better last season. He posted a .667 save percentage, which puts him around the middle of the pack.
There is no way that the shootout can be as bad as it was last season. Pure luck will cause more than four shootout goals to go in for the team this season. Expect the Devils to make up some of the points they lost out on last season.
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