It's been a while since we've gotten to catch up with another blog to ask about how things were going, but with the long pause in between games this week, it was a good time to look at tonight's opponent, the New Jersey Devils. Definitely check out In Lou We Trust, the SBN Devils blog, they run a great ship and even track zone exits and passes, which is very interesting, next-level stuff. Their fearless leader, John Fischer, was nice enough to give some thoughtful responses to a few questions, so let's check in on how the 12-14-6 New Jersey Devils are doing.
#1 In your season preview, you predicted a 4th place finish for the Devils in the Metropolitan Division, and they are currently 5th, with a very tight position between 3rd place (32 points) and 7th place (29 points) in a weaker than expected division (*note, I asked this yesterday). How would you sum things up through the first 32 games, about what you expected?
Not quite. Their position in the division is fine on it's own but I would have hoped they would have more wins than this. I didn't forsee the Metropolitan Division being a rock-fight where six teams are separated by four-five points. I'm sure that will change if/when some teams get hot and not immediately get cold a few weeks later. I wanted the Devils to be in the mix, but not like this. Oh well, what can you do?
#2 Also from your season preview, you listed Travis Zajac as a potential breakout star. He’s only got 6 goals and 6 assists so far this season, has he been snakebit or has he not generated as many chances and production as expected?
#3 Jaromir Jagr is leading the Devils in goals, assists and points, talk about how he’s played this season so far.
#4 I looked at the stats and it showed Cory Schneider (.920) has a much better save percentage than Martin Brodeur (.898%) but Brodeur has played 18 games to 14 for Schneider. Schneider was out for 3 games in late October with an injury, but are you surprised that he hasn’t played more lately? Is it a matter of nostalgia with Brodeur?
#5 The Devils are 30th in the league in both shots for per game and shots against per game. As a team with strong possession numbers last season, are their metrics as expected so far this season? Do you foresee anything changing over the next 50 games that hasn’t happened yet?