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31 in 31

New Jersey Devils key statistics

Projecting Hughes' point total; Blackwood has impressive save percentage

by Rob Reese @NHLReese / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the New Jersey Devils.

 

[Devils 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Fantasy breakdown]

 

1. Hughes' points

Jack Hughes, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, should slot into the top six and first power-play unit, potentially making a large impact in his first season.

The past five centers to be selected with the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft have averaged close to 57 points in their rookie season. The highest total was 69 points (40 goals, 29 assists) in 82 games by Auston Matthews, the No. 1 pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 NHL Draft. The lowest total was 48 (16 goals, 32 assists) by Connor McDavid, the No. 1 pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2015 NHL Draft who missed 37 games because of injury. Nico Hischier, the No. 1 pick of the Devils in the 2017 NHL Draft, and Nathan MacKinnon, the No. 1 pick by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2014 NHL Draft, each played 82 games. Hischier had 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists) and MacKinnon had 63 points (24 goals, 39 assists). Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the No. 1 pick by the Oilers in the 2011 NHL Draft, had 52 points (18 goals, 34 assists) in 62 games. The average of the five players' points per game from their rookie season was 0.83, which equates to 68 points over a full 82 game season.

When compared to the skaters above, it's feasible to expect Hughes to have at least 50 points, with a ceiling as high as Matthews' 69 points in 2016-17. Only one player on the Devils, right wing Kyle Palmieri, reached 50 points (27 goals, 23 assists) last season.

Video: 31 in 31: New Jersey Devils 2019-20 season preview

 

2. Subban's shot attempts

P.K. Subban is tied for sixth among defensemen in points per game since his rookie season in 2010-11 (minimum 500 games). He also ranks among the top 10 defensemen in goals (98; seventh), assists (308; ninth), points (406; sixth), power-play points (177; fourth) and shots on goal (1,595; sixth). Subban also was among the leaders in shot attempts differential over the span; he ranks 16th among defensemen with a plus-1,035. This means that Subban's team has generated 1,035 more shot attempts when he is on the ice than his opponents at 5-on-5. This is significant as a No. 1 or 2 defenseman because of the difficult quality of competition they face. Subban's past offensive production and his ability to control possession should improve the Devils' chances of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

3. Blackwood's save percentage

Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood showed promise last season, when he was 10-10-0 and finished second among rookie goalies (minimum 15 games) with a .918 save percentage (Jordan Binnington of the St. Louis Blues was first at .927). Blackwood was tied with Alexandar Georgiev of the New York Rangers and Linus Ullmark of the Buffalo Sabres for second among rookie goalies with two shutouts, three behind Binnington. When refining his numbers, Blackwood was second behind Binnington with a .918 save percentage at even strength (minimum 15 games). All signs point to Blackwood getting additional playing time this season, but Cory Schneider, who was 0-17-4 since December 2017 prior to defeating the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 15, could bounce back.

Video: Devils land at No. 2 in Prospect Pipeline

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