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Mike Brown

Why Travis Zajac is so important to this team, and why goaltending has been the bigger problem than defense since he came back

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All stats are 5 on 5.

WITHOUT ZAJAC (before 11/16/17)

  • CA/60: 65.22 (30th)
  • FA/60: 50.13 (30th)
  • SA/60: 35.76 (30th)
  • GA/60: 2.5 (18th)
  • SCA/60: 33.74 (31st)
  • HDCA/60: 11.22 (21st)

WITH ZAJAC (since 11/16/17)

  • CA/60: 56.92 (13th)
  • FA/60: 41.48 (11th)
  • SA/60: 30.21 (9th)
  • GA/60: 2.62 (25th)****
  • SCA/60: 27.44 (15th)
  • HDCA/60: 8.99 (5th)

****This is the only category we're in the bottom half of the league since the return of Zajac.

Edited by Mike Brown

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Here's the all situation rankings.

WITHOUT ZAJAC

  • CA/60: 62.76 (29th)
  • FA/60: 45.54 (29th)
  • SA/60: 34.81 (30th)
  • GA/60: 3.05 (18th)
  • SCA/60: 33.54 (31st)
  • HDCA/60: 11.7 (23rd)

WITH ZAJAC

  • CA/60: 55.94 (9th)
  • FA/60: 41.02 (9th)
  • SA/60: 30.21 (8th)
  • GA/60: 2.79 (19th)****
  • SCA/60: 28.4 (14th)
  • HDCA/60: 9.49 (5th)

****Again the only category we're in the bottom half in since Zajac's return

Edited by Mike Brown

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My only problem with Zajac was that he was being used as a 1c which was not his fault considering he was truly the best center we had for years. I love Zajac in his new 2c/3c role. Exactly where he should be. 

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Couldn't you also say the goaltending was overachieving 5 on 5 before Zajac's return?

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6 minutes ago, pattyelias said:

Couldn't you also say the goaltending was overachieving 5 on 5 before Zajac's return?

I don't know if you've been watching these games, especially over this winless stretch.  But the goals against, in my opinion have less to do with the person in net than they have to do with the amount of mistakes, physical and mental, going on in front of the goalies.  Teams can't make as many as have been going on and expect to win and keep pucks out with a high degree of regularity.  Those mistakes have led to high, extremely high danger situations.  Out numbered situations, tic-tac-toe plays, and flat-out breakaways.  That's just too many per night, and they don't show up on Corsi data.  I just don't think a stat sheet tells a whole picture. 

This is what John Hynes said yesterday about this yesterday:

 

“We should not be giving up some of the chances we’re giving up,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “There’s been some misplays that have been tough plays for a goaltender to stop. But we also need our guy to be a little bit better, too.

“Let’s make no mistake, he’s one of our top guys,” Hynes added of Schneider, 31, in his fifth season with the Devils and an All-Star in 2016. “He’s got to drive our team. I think when you see him play at the top of his game, we win a lot of hockey games. We’ve worked on some defensive things yesterday and today and I think if we clean those up and the goaltenders just give us five percent more, I think we’re going to continue to be a tough team to play against.”

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Zajac re-joined the lineup on 11/16.  From 11/16 - 12/27, Cory put up a .924 save%.  KK in five starts since Travis' return has been up-and-down...he has an .897 save% overall in those five games, but in three of them he was fine stopping the puck (Devs went 2-0-1 in the three).  Cory hasn't been his best as of late. 

Anyway, my point is that the goaltending hasn't been a problem until recently, and sometimes guys just slump.  It's not like goaltending's been an issue the entire time since Travis has been back...your metrics have been skewed by the recent winless streak. 

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4 minutes ago, SterioDesign said:

this is the longest topic name i can remember

  • I don't think you should
  • be surprised
  • Like 4
  • Haha 1

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1 minute ago, Martyisth3b3st said:
  • I don't think you should
  • be surprised
  • I see what
  • you did there
  • MB
  • Like 4

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I just look at the record and it seems Travis has not really helped this team..

Pre Zajac return 11-4-2

Post Zajac return 12-8-6

there is an old saying "you are what your record says you are"  and according to this the devils are a sub 500 team with Zajac... I really donot care what the analytics say..

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Just now, redruM said:

I just look at the record and it seems Travis has not really helped this team..

Pre Zajac return 11-4-2

Post Zajac return 12-8-6

there is an old saying "you are what your record says you are"  and according to this the devils are a sub 500 team with Zajac... I really donot care what the analytics say..

That's a pretty brutally bad argument. 

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3 minutes ago, Martyisth3b3st said:

That's a pretty brutally bad argument. 

Explain to me exactly how this is a bad argument, I thought we are trying to win games not statistics?

 

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My only issue with Zajac is he's being used too often in offensive roles, take him off the powerplay and I'm perfectly fine with his presence, but from where I'm standing he's been killing the potency of that 1st unit. I understand wanting to have him out there for faceoffs, but we also have Boyle on that unit so the presence of them both seems very redundant to me, I'd much rather just have Boyle on that unit than Zajac.

I still stand by the sentiment that this will truly be an elite team when Zajac is the 3rd line center, he's still an excellent defensive center and his underlying numbers are typically pretty good, but I think his days as a legitimate top 6 center in this league are over.

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Analytics will always be flawed as hockey is not a black and white sport like baseball or football where it's a bit more cut & dry about what will happen during a play. 

Analytics can predict tendencies and that's about it. Way way wayyy too much stuff in a hockey play cannot be quantified as it's hard to put a number on quality and situations.

Here are a few scenarios that are quantified the same way. Cause a shot is a shot. 

• A wrister from the blueline in the goalie's chest = shot

• A one-timer from the point with a screened goalie = shot

• A wrister that hits a stick and a leg before going in while the goalie was screened = shot

• A wrister that hits a stick and a leg while the goalie had great visibility of the puck = shot

• A player pushing a puck already in the slot in an empty net while the goalie is stuck on the other side = shot

• A player breaking the puck out of his zone and taking a weak wrister to the goalie just to get a faceoff in the offensive zone or make a line change = shot

• Deflections = Shot

Then we need to talk about identical shots that were blocked or simply went wide. Then they don't the same while if they would have went 1-2 inches aside would have been a shot. It's also not taking into consideration if the player made a good play at all.

You can control the play 100% for literally 2 minutes in the offensive zone, having the craziest possession / tic-tac-toe play in hockey history. If your shot is blocked or go wide and miss the net it's not quantified within that stat. While again, a goon skating the puck up and shooting the puck at the goalie with zero chance of going in will.

Then we're not talking about quality and precision of the shots. If you have Andy Greene or Ovechkin taking a shot. It's also quite different but it's not quantified into those stats.

And also you can have players who gets tons of shots per game cause they take mindless shots from anywhere and you can have guys taking lots of shots cause they always put themselves in the right position or create their own chances, same thing you can't quantify that with shots.

It's not that different from the dumb +/- stat in which it totally depends on if someone else on the ice is scoring or if you're getting scored on, that it's your fault or not. You can make the most insane play and your teammate may miss the net or the goalie may make the save of the year. Or you may take a sharp angle shot and it hits 4 legs and go in. Nobody else on the ice deserves to be + or - after a play like that lol 

 

Edited by SterioDesign

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24 minutes ago, redruM said:

Explain to me exactly how this is a bad argument, I thought we are trying to win games not statistics?

 

The Islanders won 3 of their last 4 and were totally outplayed in all of them. Their freak "all-star" goaltending kept them in games. The team record gives no indication of that. Unless you expect usually sub-par goalies to carry you for an 82 game season, I wouldn't just go off the record alone. 

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25 minutes ago, CommonDreads said:

I still stand by the sentiment that this will truly be an elite team when Zajac is the 3rd line center

And I think Ray Shero and the rest of the Devils management agrees with this.  What position have they drafted with their 1st round picks since Shero has taken over?  Center.  Nico pushed Zajac down a peg, and Zacha seems like he's trending in a good direction and hopefully shows enough consistently to take the 2nd C spot, maybe this year but better be next year.. And hopefully Mcleod is here next season.  Zajac being the 3rd line center, that's coming.  Maybe not as fast as some want. 

But it's important to this building of the team that Zacha and Mcleod turn into good players.

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We need Zajac for his defense since we parted with Henrique. I'm kind of getting tired of the "Cory needs to play better argument." I think he's slightly above average as far as goaltenders go. I don't think we should expect him to be playing above his talent level night in and night out.

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3 minutes ago, CarpathianForest said:

We need Zajac for his defense since we parted with Henrique. I'm kind of getting tired of the "Cory needs to play better argument." I think he's slightly above average as far as goaltenders go. I don't think we should expect him to be playing above his talent level night in and night out.

He's being paid like the 7th best goalie in the NHL. He needs to play like the 7th best goalie in the NHL. 

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4 minutes ago, CarpathianForest said:

We need Zajac for his defense since we parted with Henrique. I'm kind of getting tired of the "Cory needs to play better argument." I think he's slightly above average as far as goaltenders go. I don't think we should expect him to be playing above his talent level night in and night out.

Hynes and Cory himself have said he needs to be better. As much as they’re scoring, if he’s even slightly better than he’s been recently they’ll start winning a ton of games like they were earlier in the season. Especially if they play (almost) mistake free like last night. 

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2 hours ago, NJDevils1214 said:

The Islanders won 3 of their last 4 and were totally outplayed in all of them. Their freak "all-star" goaltending kept them in games. The team record gives no indication of that. Unless you expect usually sub-par goalies to carry you for an 82 game season, I wouldn't just go off the record alone. 

So what you are saying is on night when the analytics say you should lose if some players step up you can still win?  So analytics are useless, thanks you just helped my argument.

And BTW, the analytics in this thread have proven my argument, bad analytics beginning of the season, great record, great analytics since 11/16 poor record.. pretty sure that is a good argument...

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7 hours ago, Mike Brown said:

Here's the all situation rankings.

WITHOUT ZAJAC

  • CA/60: 62.76 (29th)
  • FA/60: 45.54 (29th)
  • SA/60: 34.81 (30th)
  • GA/60: 3.05 (18th)
  • SCA/60: 33.54 (31st)
  • HDCA/60: 11.7 (23rd)

WITH ZAJAC

  • CA/60: 55.94 (9th)
  • FA/60: 41.02 (9th)
  • SA/60: 30.21 (8th)
  • GA/60: 2.79 (19th)****
  • SCA/60: 28.4 (14th)
  • HDCA/60: 9.49 (5th)

****Again the only category we're in the bottom half in since Zajac's return

Wait, so Travis Zajac singlehandedly made the team go from 29th to 9th, 30th to 8th, etc. ????

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42 minutes ago, Martyisth3b3st said:

He's being paid like the 7th best goalie in the NHL. He needs to play like the 7th best goalie in the NHL. 

I think he needs to be more consistent than he's been.  He's had some terrific stretches this season, but when the puck's not finding him, it's REALLY not finding him. 

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Zajac coming back dovetails with the Vatanen trade - I'm very hesitant to credit any gains to Zajac because he has not been good.  And I'm not just talking about offensively where he hasn't been good, he just hasn't been good, period.  The team is getting heavily outshot with him on the ice 5 on 5 which is a relative rarity for him.  I notice plays he used to make that he's not making or he's struggling to make consistently.

He also simply does not get shots on goal anymore.  I have pointed out how this is a problem but without Hall to carry him it's really become obvious.

 

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8 hours ago, Mike Brown said:

All stats are 5 on 5.

WITHOUT ZAJAC (before 11/16/17)

  • CA/60: 65.22 (30th)
  • FA/60: 50.13 (30th)
  • SA/60: 35.76 (30th)
  • GA/60: 2.5 (18th)
  • SCA/60: 33.74 (31st)
  • HDCA/60: 11.22 (21st)

WITH ZAJAC (since 11/16/17)

  • CA/60: 56.92 (13th)
  • FA/60: 41.48 (11th)
  • SA/60: 30.21 (9th)
  • GA/60: 2.62 (25th)****
  • SCA/60: 27.44 (15th)
  • HDCA/60: 8.99 (5th)

****This is the only category we're in the bottom half of the league since the return of Zajac.

What are the same analytics for Johansson being in or out of the lineup, and Palmieri? Just out of curiosity...

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