The top 90 forwards produced at 0.66 points per game or at around 54 points (or greater) over 82 games.
Forwards ranked 91-180 produced at 0.47 points per game or at around 38 points (or greater) over 82 games.
Forwards ranked 181-270 produced at 0.31 points per game or at around 25 points (or greater) over 82 games.
From that data......
A 1st line forward is about 50 points or better
A 2nd line forward is about 40 - 49 points.
A 3rd line forward is about 25 - 30 points.
A 4th line forward is about 24 points or fewer.
These are all just rough estimates of course.
No offense, but this is exceptionally rosy thinking. Averaging all data from all forwards across all ice times and then to count them up as they are here and drawing arbitrary dividing lines... seems to really skew the data. For one, because this doesn't take into account playoff teams vs non playoff teams. Who cares what "a 1st line forward" means if the definition of 1st liner includes "anything from a Penguin top line to a Sabre top line"? And this also doesn't account for the fact that the top 30 forwards in your data (of the top 90) will have a huge deviation from the bottom 30 (of the top 90).
More meaningful is to look at our own division - and the teams that are playoff teams - and to compare them against our players...
Right now, here's what that looks like:
Islanders: 2 players averaging nearly a point per game (or 82 over 82) [Tavares/Okposo]
Ragss: 1 player who will finish 70+ [Nash] and who will finish 60+ [Brassard]
Pens: 2 players averaging over a point per game [Crosby/Malkin], and 2 in the 0.8 ppg (or 65+ pts) [Hornqvist/Letang]
Caps: 2 players at a point per game [Ovechkin/Backstrom]
So by my estimation, if you want to make the playoffs in our division, it'd be wise to have at least two players averaging 0.8 ppg, and there's a huge difference between the definition of "50 or better" and "0.8 ppg [65pts] or better".
Adam Henrique and Mike Cammer are clipping at 0.62 points per game (well below 0.8) and are the only NJ players anywhere near the above range of 0.8. Point and case, NJ has two forwards that project out to 51 points, and every other "good" team in our division has at least has two guys that are in the 65 to 85 point range. Within our division, Henrique and Cammalleri are only "first line forwards" based on production averages in the sense that sure, they could play first line minutes on other bad teams too and produce at their current clip. If however NJ wants to make the playoffs, they need their "1st line forwards" to be better. We don't need a Tavares or a 90 point player, but we absofruitly need guys who can put up 65 points that are chewing up the big top line minutes. It's not okay to have 50 pointers and nothing better, and it's arbitrary as all heckfire to say "we're good... when compared against this large set of meaningless league data."
Oh and for the record, even the non-playoff teams in our division have much better forwards. Phili has 2 at nearly ppg. Columbus has about 3 around or above the 0.8 ppg. Only Carolina is as piss-pathetic as NJ, except for them their Henrique is Eric Staal (around 0.65 ppg). Henrique and Cammalleri are 2nd liners based on divisional scoring. NJ lacks 3 "1st line" players.
And hopefully *that* puts things in perspective, because those other #s are really nonsense IMO. Not trying to be doom-and-gloom, because I think guys like Henrique and Cam *could* put up 65 points if things were going well for NJ, but this team is far from ok, and league numbers broken up in chunks of 90 don't paint our picture at all.
First off - assuming we pick a forward with our 1st pick this year isn't a safe assumption. But I'm pretty certain it is safe to say he won't be NHL ready next year.
Boucher on the first line spells disaster. Kid has not shown a single thing that indiciates he's ready for prime-time minutes. Then again, if you're trying to tank (our new favorite word!) it's not a bad idea.
Zajac on the 3rd isn't going to happen. While he might be a 3rd line forward in 2/3 of the teams in this league, the Devils are paying him like a top center so he'll be given 1st line minutes.
It says something about how pathetic our forward corps is that we're potentially relying on Scott freakin Gomez to be our top center in 2015-2016.
I guess so - but IMO this kind of thinking is dangerous - leads to extended mediocrity without the necessary growing pains. I have no investment in more and more mediocre teams who flirt with making the playoffs but never do. We've done that already. What's the difference if the disaster is we miss by a lot vs we miss by a little? Especially if the former gets young players more valuable experience? And if NJ wants to play Zajac as a #1 or #2 center, go for it, but his numbers (as someone pointed out not long ago) are almost the worst in the entire league for centers at even strength per minute. He's been objectively awful [at producing offense]. Better to accept that, accept his albatross contract as a negative value, but at least use him in the correct role where he can succeed, ignoring the dollars--which is 3rd line center who can put up offense against unsuspecting other top lines. Zajac just isn't going back to the day of 60 points anytime soon. Not unless NJ finds a cherry-winger for him to make him look good. He should be their 3rd line center going forward and they should let Josefson show if he has anything more outside of 4th/3rd line production. I don't fear missing the playoffs again. I fear almost making them again with yet more retread-mediocre talent. It's time for something new. We're not 1 piece away from a great roster.
We have only 9 forwards signed for next year. That's why. We can't let Bernier and Tootoo go, and not bring anybody in because otherwise we won't have a full roster.
Per my original lines... "youth". Let the 2015 1st play. Let another kid play. NJ is not gonna be a good team next year even if they spend every dime they have on Joel Ward and Anton Vermette. The quicker we accept that this mess takes more than 1 off season to fix, the quicker the team becomes better. And I think part of that solution absolutely has to be continuing the youth movement that started on the backend. Now let's just let as many kids play as possible for another up and down season and hopefully some mature during the year, and then next year hopefully guys like Henrique and Josefson and co can take it to another level to further help out. But empty roster spots in my lines are only because I don't know who we will draft, and the AHL is not my expertise as to who might come from there or otherwise. It doesn't mean we need to resign the same clunkers for no reason. Bernier and Tootoo are not the difference between a fringe playoff team and a sure bet. So no need to resign as they take up roster spots where we might actually develop home-grown youth. Still, I know it won't happen and Lou will just sign 2 fighters or something silly. But I can dream. At least my dream tho isn't entirely based on the fantasy that NJ will suddenly be great next year, despite our obvious lack of depth, and specifically, positional depth in important places. Hey, if Joel Ward or someone wants a 1 year deal in NJ, go for it. But he doesn't. No one wants to be in NJ. That's why the Devils have to offer multi-year contracts to mediocre players on the free agent market to attract them.
1. Elias is better at C than he is at wing at this point.
2. I'm fine with this, but we better go after one of the better RW's in the UFA market.
7. We have tons of cap space, and a lot of openings. Why not go out and spend? Our defense is improving, and we've shown we can win with this roster. If we improve it even just a little bit, we can be extremely competitive next year.
1. yeh he's better at center, but "roles" need to be relative to the environment and what makes sense, just like it made sense for elias to switch to center several years ago relative to the team makeup at the time. the team makeup right now is one desperate for RWs.
2./7. why? the better UFA RWs are gonna want 2 and 3 and 4 year contracts. why tie ourselves to another clunker for several years? years of that approach is what gets the devils in trouble. it's better to wait for real talent on UFA instead of signing overpriced low-mid range clunkers. throwing money at the problem just because there's money to throw doesn't make sense. frolik MAYBE. but i'm tired of signing guys to longer deals than we should. if history of the UFA market is any guide, it's always best to stay out of it for the first week or so, until prices become more reasonable. and even longer... when guys are willing to sign 1 year deals.