Season Grade: Joseph Blandisi

This was Joseph Blandisi’s first pro season.  After dominating the OHL in 2014-15, Blandisi jumped to Albany, where he would put up very good numbers for a first year pro.  His play in Albany would warrant a call-up in December, but he would go back and forth between the Devils and A-Devs until February.  He would remain with the team until the end of the season, eventually joining the A-Devs for their playoff run.  It was an interesting first year for Blandisi, so let’s take a look below.  

The Numbers

5v5 Numbers

5v5 TOI 5v5 Goals 5v5 Assists 5v5 Points 5v5 G60 5v5 A60 5v5 P60 5v5 Pen D 5v5 CF% 5v5 CF% Rel 5v5 SH%  5v5 ZSO% Rel
521.41 1 9 10 0.12 1.04 1.15 -5 45.31% 0.23% 6.93% 2.03%

5v4 Numbers

5v4 TOI 5v4 Goals 5v4 Assists 5v4 Points 5v4 G60 5v4 A60 5v4 P60 5v4 Pen D 5v4 CF% 5v4 CF% Rel 5v4 SH% 5v4 ZSO% Rel
86 4 2 6 2.79 1.4 4.19 -2 88.11% -0.85% 20.29% 3.32%

4v5 Numbers

4v5 TOI 4v5 Goals 4v5 Assists 4v5 Points 4v5 G60 4v5 A60 4v5 P60 4v5 Pen D 4v5 CF% 4v5 CF% Rel 4v5 SH% 4v5 ZSO% Rel
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

All Situations Numbers

All TOI All Goals All Assists All Points All G60 All A60 All P60 All Pen D All CF% All CF% Rel All SH% All ZSO% Rel
635.31 5 12 17 0.47 1.13 1.61 -9 51.67% 6.56% 9.82% 15.68%

It was a very encouraging season for the rookie.  His 17 points weren’t spectacular, but he did play only half a season.  His possession numbers were also encouraging for 21 year old kid.  Hynes gave Blandisi favorable zone starts at even strength, which was a good thing.  His CorsiRel% wasn’t a huge number, but it’s better than having a negative number.  Hynes used Blandisi very well in his 41 games.  He barely saw any penalty kill time, and that was smart as he isn’t a defensive specialist.  His power play numbers were encouraging.  86 minutes isn’t that much, but compare that to his 5v5 numbers and you can see it’s a pretty big difference.  

Some bad things about his season was his penalty differential.  His -9 in all situations sucks, as he should be drawing more penalties than he takes.  He’s always had a high amount of PIM, though.  He put up more PIMs in his 27 AHL games than he did in his 41 NHL games, so that’s encouraging.  What’s not encouraging is that Blandisi is already pegged as a diver.  That’s not an unwarranted claim, either.  There was this hilarious one in February, and then this one a week later.  Obviously it’s funny to look back at, but it’s not funny that Blandisi will have the attention of the refs next year.  I understanding wanting to draw calls, and everyone does it, but his attempts were just bad.

One last thing to look at for Blandisi is his zone start percentage in all situations.  Blandisi started way more shifts in the offensive zone than the defensive zone, which could impact his positive Corsi numbers.  

Season Grade: C

Blandisi had a solid season for New Jersey and Albany, but there were some things to watch for in the future.  The embellishment calls are one thing, but it’s also disappointing that he had only 5 points in his last 23 games with New Jersey.  He had 12 in his first 18 games.  He also only put up 4 points in 11 playoff games with Albany.  He slowed down once the season progressed.  That can be attributed to his first pro season, but it would’ve been nice to see some more consistency. There’s no denying that the kid has skill, though.  His between the legs goal against the Flyers is still something awesome to watch.  He had a solid rookie season, and we can only hope that he builds off of next year.    

(Numbers and Statistics via Corsica.hockey and Hockey Reference)

(Photo Courtesy of Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports) 

Season Grade: Bobby Farnham

Farnham became a fan favorite this year.  Farnham was dubbed “Wild Thing” by Devils fans this year, and it was a pretty accurate nickname.  Farnham played a very aggressive, sometimes too aggressive style of play this year.  He was primarily used as a 4th line enforcer type, not seeing much time on the power play or penalty kill.  He managed to chip in some goals this season, which was unexpected.  Let’s take a look at Farnham’s season below.

The Numbers

5v5 Numbers

5v5 TOI 5v5 Goals 5v5 Assists 5v5 Points 5v5 G60 5v5 A60 5v5 P60 5v5 Pen D 5v5 CF% 5v5 CF% Rel 5v5 SH%  5v5 ZSO% Rel
471.81 8 2 10 1.02 0.25 1.27 -3 44.25% -1.37% 6.78% -3.22%

5v4 Numbers

5v4 TOI 5v4 Goals 5v4 Assists 5v4 Points 5v4 G60 5v4 A60 5v4 P60 5v4 Pen D 5v4 CF% 5v4 CF% Rel 5v4 SH% 5v4 ZSO% Rel
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A NA N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

4v5 Numbers

4v5 TOI 4v5 Goals 4v5 Assists 4v5 Points 4v5 G60 4v5 A60 4v5 P60 4v5 Pen D 4v5 CF% 4v5 CF% Rel 4v5 SH% 4v5 ZSO% Rel
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

All Situations Numbers

All TOI All Goals All Assists All Points All G60 All A60 All P60 All Pen D All CF% All CF% Rel All SH% All ZSO% Rel
493.3 8 2 10 0.97 0.24 1.22 -17 43.35% -2.90% 6.78% -3.48%

As I said above, Farnham didn’t see much special teams time.  Hynes made the right situation there.  Farnham isn’t an extremely skilled player, and he’s not someone I would want to see on the power play or penalty kill.  His sample size special teams was so small that it wasn’t enough to truly gauge his impact, thus the N/A.  His even strength (5v5) numbers weren’t very great this year.  He did score 8 goals, which was nice to see, but his possession numbers weren’t any special.  Like most of the Devils, he didn’t get great zone starts.  His CF% numbers were pretty bad, especially relative to the rest of the team.  

His all situations numbers were also pretty meh in terms of possession.  The Devils were a better team when he wasn’t on the ice, and his teammates were better playing away from him.  His penalty differential was also pretty bad.  He took 17 more penalties than he drew, and came in second in PIM with 92.  That’s second to Jordin Tootoo, who also played 12 more games than Farnham.  He also had some nasty hits this year.  Some were questionable, but then there were some like this hit on Dmitrij Jaskins.  It was a dumb, stupid, and unnecessary hit.  Farnham would receive a 4 game suspension for it.  He would also get fined for embellishment during the season.

Season Grade: D

Farnham had some bright spots this season, but not enough to get above a D.  He did put up 8 goals, which is big for a team that can’t score.  But his reckless play and actions this year were also very bad, and outweigh his 8 goals.  The hit on Jaskins was bush league, and getting fined for embellishment is embarrassing for him and the team.  Wild Thing plays on the wild side for sure, and it came back to haunt him many times during the season. With that being said, I think there’s a decent chance the Devils re-sign Farnham.  He’s nothing more than a depth winger, but I could see the Devils liking his style of play when they go against rival teams.  It was an interesting first year for Farnham, and it will be interesting to see what his future with the Devils holds. 

(Numbers and Statistics via Corsica.hockey and Hockey Reference)

(Photo courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Season Grade: Jacob Josefson

If you ask 10 Devils fans about Josefson, you’ll probably get 10 different opinions about him.  A former 1st round pick, Josefson hasn’t fully lived up to the hype.  That’s not to say he hasn’t been a useful player, though.  Many people talk about how his offense never developed, and that’s a valid criticism, but some will defend that when they talk about his defense.  This year was a big year for Josefson.  He needed to prove that he deserves a spot on the team.  Let’s take a look at his season below.

The Numbers

5v5 Numbers

5v5 TOI 5v5 Goals 5v5 Assists 5v5 Points 5v5 G60 5v5 A60 5v5 P60 5v5 Pen D 5v5 CF% 5v5 CF% Rel 5v5 SH%  5v5 ZSO% Rel
618.02 1 1 2 0.1 0.1 0.19 -1 50.62% 5.27% 2.05% -4.90%

5v4 Numbers

5v4 TOI 5v4 Goals 5v4 Assists 5v4 Points 5v4 G60 5v4 A60 5v4 P60 5v4 Pen D 5v4 CF% 5v4 CF% Rel 5v4 SH% 5v4 ZSO% Rel
142.74 3 7 10 1.26 2.52 4.2 3 90.08% 3.57% 15% 1.11%

4v5 Numbers

4v5 TOI 4v5 Goals 4v5 Assists 4v5 Points 4v5 G60 4v5 A60 4v5 P60 4v5 Pen D 4v5 CF% 4v5 CF% Rel 4v5 SH% 4v5 ZSO% Rel
98.65 0 1 1 0 0.61 0.61 5 16.44% 8.24% 5.88% 6.38%

All Situations Numbers

All TOI All Goals All Assists All Points All G60 All A60 All P60 All Pen D All CF% All CF% Rel All SH% All ZSO% Rel
899.51 4 10 14 0.27 0.67 0.93 22 54.14% 9.80% 6.62% 6.30%

As it’s been with his entire career, Josefson has had problems generating offense.  The funny thing is, this was his best year point wise.  Another problem people have with Josefson is his injury history.  Josefson missed time this year with injuries, only playing in 58 games.  Besides his lack of production, Josefson’s 5v5 numbers were spectacular.  He had a positive Corsi Rel%, and his zone starts weren’t great.  It’s also important to remember that Josefson played with guys like Brian O’Neill and Jordin Tootoo a good amount this year.  His penalty differential was great, which is important for a team that had a hard time generating 5v5 offense.  

Josefson saw some penalty kill time this year, and received very generous zone starts while on it.   He draw 5 more penalties than he took while on the penalty kill as well, which is a valuable thing.  His penalty kill numbers were decent, and he is a decent penalty killer, but Josefson was great for the power play.  He put up 10 of his 14 points while on the power play, and the Devils were a better power play team with him on the ice.  For a more in depth look at what Josefson meant to the Devils special teams, especially the power play, check out this post by Ryan Stimson over at All About The Jersey.  It’s a great piece about Josefson and how much of an impact he has had on Devils players, power play, and penalty kill.  

Season Grade: B

Out of all the bottom 6 guys on the team, Josefson is easily one of, if not the best one.  His 5v5 possession numbers were great, and while the scoring wasn’t there, the Devils weren’t getting burned badly when he was on the ice.  He was used well on the penalty kill, and was an important cog in the Devils power play this year.  Only Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac had more power play points from forwards this year, and both of them had much more time on the power play than Josefson.  Some Devils fans will say he isn’t a good player, and that the Devils shouldn’t re-sign Josefson, and I think they are wrong.  He’s a very solid 3rd/4th line guy who makes an impact on the power play and penalty kill.  I hope Shero re-signs Josefson this offseason, because he earned it this year.  He also earned the B with his special teams play and even strength possession numbers. Josefson forever. 

(Numbers and statistics via Corsica.hockey and Hockey Reference)

(Photo courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Devils Trade For Marc Savard and 2018 2nd Round Pick

The Devils announced via press release that they have traded prospect Graham Black and Paul Thompson to the Florida Panthers for Marc Savard and a 2018 2nd round pick.  Savard hasn’t played since the 2010-2011 season, which was ended early from a concussion.  Savard will never dress for the Devils, as his career is over because of Post-Concussion Syndrome.  Black, a 2012 5th round pick, had 9 points in 50 games last season for Albany, as well as 4 points in 5 playoff games.  Paul Thompson had 35 points in 56 games for Albany, and 4 points in 10 playoff games.

This trade is basically the Devils buying a draft pick.  Savard has a cap hit of $4,027,143 this season and a salary of $575,000.  His contract is up after next season (2016-17).  Black and Thompson weren’t going to go anywhere in the Devils organization, and the Devils used their best asset (cap space) to get an extra pick in the future.  The Devils can also use this deal to reach the cap floor.  There are other potential contracts the Devils can take for picks (Datsyuk comes to mind depending on if he goes to the KHL) if they really wanted to.

Shero did a very good job of getting an extra pick for the future.  It’s a good deal for both teams, as the Panthers get cap space to use to better their team, while the Devils take on the dead cap that they can easily eat.  Really like what Shero did here, and I’m excited to see what he has planned for the draft!

Season Grade: Tyler Kennedy

Tyler Kennedy originally joined the Devils on a professional tryout during the preseason.  He wouldn’t receive an NHL contract the first time around, but a few injuries would open the door to another chance.  In November, Kennedy would join the Devils on another professional tryout, and would eventually be signed to a one year contract later that month.  I think Kennedy made a case for why he should’ve been signed before the season with his play.  He wasn’t spectacular, but he was a serviceable depth player.  Let’s take a look at Kennedy’s season below.

The Numbers

5v5 Numbers

5v5 TOI 5v5 Goals 5v5 Assists 5v5 Points 5v5 G60 5v5 A60 5v5 P60 5v5 Pen D 5v5 CF% 5v5 CF% Rel 5v5 SH%  5v5 ZSO% Rel
574.44 2 8 10 0.21 0.84 1.04 -4 50.11% 5.67% 5.67% -3.55%

5v4 Numbers

5v4 TOI 5v4 Goals 5v4 Assists 5v4 Points 5v4 G60 5v4 A60 5v4 P60 5v4 Pen D 5v4 CF% 5v4 CF% Rel 5v4 SH% 5v4 ZSO% Rel
78.53 1 4 5 0.76 3.06 3.82 1 88.98% 6.20% 11.29% 3.42%

4v5 Numbers

4v5 TOI 4v5 Goals 4v5 Assists 4v5 Points 4v5 G60 4v5 A60 4v5 P60 4v5 Pen D 4v5 CF% 4v5 CF% Rel 4v5 SH% 4v5 ZSO% Rel
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

All Situations Numbers 

All TOI All Goals All Assists All Points All G60 All A60 All P60 All Pen D All CF% All CF% Rel All SH% All ZSO% Rel
669.23 3 13 16 0.27 1.17 1.43 -1 54.62% 9.23% 7.03% 1.28%

Kennedy played in 50 games this year, and scored at a 0.32 point per game pace.  Had he played in all 82 games and played at that pace all year, he would’ve put up around 25 points.  That would’ve been good for 6th on the Devils.  That’s not bad for a guy you signed off of a professional tryout in November.  His 5v5 possession numbers are what you want to see out of a bottom 6 guy.  He didn’t have the best zone starts, but still put up solid Corsi numbers.  His 5v5 SH% was also the lowest of his career.  Like a decent amount of Devils players, he had a negative penalty differential.  While it’s not as bad as others, you’d like to see someone draw more penalties than they take.

Kennedy didn’t have enough 4v5 minutes to even look at his impact there.  The Devils have better players to play on the penalty kill, so it’s good to see Hynes not rely on someone like Kennedy, who isn’t the best penalty killer.  His 5 power play points aren’t anything special, but he did only play in 50 games.  While he isn’t the worst option on the power play (rather have him out there than someone like Tootoo), there are better guys out there.  For what it was worth, Kennedy was a solid pickup for Shero, providing good depth for the Devils.

Season Grade: C

Kennedy wasn’t amazing this year, and he wasn’t horrible.  He was pretty average across the board. He was better some of the other depth guys the Devils put on the ice, but he shouldn’t be put into tough or difficult situations.  Shero was put in a tough spot when he signed Kennedy in November, and I personally think that Kennedy played well enough to justify the decision.  I wouldn’t be against Shero re-signing Kennedy during the offseason.  He provides the depth you want, and could be a solid 4th line guy who can play on the third line as well.  

(Numbers and Statistics from Corsica.hockey and Hockey Reference)

(Photo courtesy of Elsa/Getty Images) 

Season Grade: Jordin Tootoo

Jordin Tootoo is an interesting player.  He isn’t the most skilled guy on the ice, and he isn’t going to an offensive force for any team.  He is going to go out and grind shift after shift, get a big hit every now and again, and maybe draw a penalty.  He’s also going to do some stupid stuff on the ice.  Tootoo has a reputation as an agitator or dirty player.  He has been suspended multiple times in his career, and has been fined as well.  Tootoo has spent the last two seasons with the Devils, and is primarily a fourth line type of player.  Let’s look at Tootoo’s season below. 

The Numbers

5v5 Numbers

5v5 TOI 5v5 Goals 5v5 Assists 5v5 Points 5v5 G60 5v5 A60 5v5 P60 5v5 Pen D 5v5 CF% 5v5 CF% Rel 5v5 SH%  5v5 ZSO% Rel
656.67 2 2 4 0.18 0.18 0.37 -5 46.62% 0.42% 2.36% -8.05%

5v4 Numbers

5v4 TOI 5v4 Goals 5v4 Assists 5v4 Points 5v4 G60 5v4 A60 5v4 P60 5v4 Pen D 5v4 CF% 5v4 CF% Rel 5v4 SH% 5v4 ZSO% Rel
86.43 2 3 5 1.39 2.08 3.47 -9 86.09% 0.89% 14.29% 1.31%

4v5 Numbers

4v5 TOI 4v5 Goals 4v5 Assists 4v5 Points 4v5 G60 4v5 A60 4v5 P60 4v5 Pen D 4v5 CF% 4v5 CF% Rel 4v5 SH% 4v5 ZSO% Rel
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

All Situations Numbers

All TOI All Goals All Assists All Points All G60 All A60 All P60 All Pen D All CF% All CF% Rel All SH% All ZSO% Rel
758.59 4 5 9 0.32 0.16 0.71 -20 50.96% -1.65% 5.03% -2.32%

It was an interesting season for Tootoo.  He didn’t have enough minutes on the penalty kill to really put his numbers.  It was basically less than 5 minutes of ice time on the penalty kill.  That makes sense, as Tootoo isn’t the greatest defensive player around.  All things considering, Tootoo had some pretty decent power play numbers.  5 points isn’t anything amazing, but he didn’t have a large amount of minutes.  His shooting percentage was very high on the power play.  He is the kind of player you put in front and hope he can get a rebound or a nice screen, and he does that fairly well.  One bad thing is his penalty differential on the penalty kill.  Tootoo took 9 more penalties than he drew when on the power play.  That’s a bad, bad thing, especially when your team has the man advantage. 

His all situations points weren’t great.  He put up 9 points during the year.  Like I said in the Gionta season grade post, you need scoring from your depth players.  No one expects them to put up 30-35 points, but it has to be more than 9 points.  His penalty differential was also horrible.  He took some very dumb penalties, and was fined for one when he tripped Seth Jones in a very bad position.  He can agitate someone into taking a penalty, but more times than not he’s the one taking them.  Along with the penalties, Tootoo was fined for embellishment, which is something that I personally hate to see from Devils players.

Season Grade: D

Tootoo is a player that you can replace on the team, especially with the addition of someone like Devante Smith-Pelly.  The biggest thing is the penalty differential and minutes.  He lead the Devils in PIM with 102 in only 66 games.  He’s a serviceable player, but you can have someone younger and more disciplined take that role.  That person can also potentially add some scoring to the team.  Tootoo’s contract is up, and he will be a UFA this off-season.  I’d say it’s a 50/50 chance the Devils re-sign Tootoo.  Personally, I don’t think you need to re-sign him, but time will tell. 

(Numbers and statistics via Corsica.hockey and Hockey Reference)

(Photo courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images)

Devils Release Preseason Schedule

Earlier today, the Devils released their preseason schedule for the 2016-17 season via Twitter.  The Devils will have three home games during the preseason, playing the Flyers (9/26/16), Rangers (10/1/2016), and Islanders (10/5/2016).  The remaining games are against the Canadiens (9/26/2016), Flyers (9/28/2016), Rangers (9/29/2016), Islanders (10/3/2016), and Panthers (10/8/2016).

As you can see, the Devils will play the Flyers and Canadiens on the same night.  These two games will feature a good mix of players and prospects.  The most interesting thing will be the game against the Panthers.  This game is going to be at West Point, and it will feature what will more than likely be the Devils regular season roster.