Todd Cordell: Zajac, Jagr Among NHL’s Elite Duos


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Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz.

Those duos are generally associated with greatness when it comes to looking at some of the most fearsome combinations in the NHL.

I was looking through some data – I knew the duo of Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr was excellent – and it turns out those two are on the same wavelength as the rest of the NHL’s top combinations.

After realizing that, I charted some numbers to see just how good they were last season, and exactly how they stack up against some of the rest of the league’s dynamic duos. Notes: The duo must have played at least 800 5v5 minutes together in 2013-14. I didn’t chart duos such as Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom who had just a 37GF% together last season.

When combining goals for% with shot attempt for% (i.e. Corsi, the percentage of shot attempts heading towards the opposing team’s goaltender) Zajac and Jagr actually made for the best duo (again, minimum 800 minutes played) in hockey last year.

Obviously talent wise they aren’t on the same level as some of these duos, and Zajac and Jagr’s 3rd wheel (often Zubrus, Dainius) isn’t as talented as others, but they managed to produce and drive play at an elite rate.

Their goals for% was 5th highest among those charted, and nobody drove possession (i.e. generated a higher percentage of the shot attempts) than Zajac and Jagr.

With Mike Cammalleri set to become the new 3rd wheel in 2014-15, there’s reason to believe that Zajac and Jagr will fare as good or better than last season.

That’s certainly good news for a Devils team that has missed the playoffs in three of the last four years. Devils posts Talking shootouts Back in the playoffs Early Metro Division predictions On Metro Division goaltending On Travis Zajac and Mike Cammalleri Jackets posts Where will Columbus finish in the Metro? Blue Jackets like analytics, except when it comes to Johnson James Wisniewski among NHL’s elite PP defensemen

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