And my machine, she’s a dud, out stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of Jersey. Those lyrics from “Rosalita” by Bruce Springsteen, may as well be referring to the current New Jersey Devils’ power play. The power play has been slumping and stalling out.
In the month of October, the Devils’ power play was in the upper third of the league, ranking twelfth at 23.1%. So, why are the Devils being inconsistent with the extra attacker and what can be done about it?
Reason for Concern
New Jersey is 0-for-26 on the power play in its past eight contests. As of this writing, the Devils clock in at 12.5%, which ranks twenty-fifth in the league with the extra skater.
Another reason for this drop off is the absence of Taylor Hall. Losing your star left wing is going to hurt but it’s only going to compound matters doubly on the power play. Hall leads the squad with three markers on the power play.
For perspective, the rest of the club has four goals combined with the extra-man. Travis Zajac has two power play tallies and PA Parenteau and Kyle Palmieri registered one apiece.
Also hurting the Devils power play is the finishing ability of Michael Cammalleri. During the previous two seasons combined, Cammalleri chipped in 21 points combined with the extra attacker in a Devils uniform.
Who Will Pick up the Slack?
Last season, Palmieri topped the team with eleven of his 30 goals coming on the power play. Palms also dished out 12 helpers with the extra attacker.
In addition to the aforementioned Zajac and Cammalleri, Adam Henrique and Jacob Josefson also accrued double-digit point totals on the power play last year, along with the departed Lee Stempniak and David Schlemko.
Time to Bring Back Patrik Elias?
Bringing back Dave Andreychuk and his NHL record 274 power play goals isn’t an option. However, lingering on the periphery is the Devils’ all-time franchise scoring leader in Patrik Elias.
Elias and his 113 career power play goals continue to skate and stay in shape in Newark. With Hall remaining out for the next three to four weeks and Cammalleri’s status up in the air, this may be the time and the boost needed with the return of Elias.
Right now, Elias has as many goals as six Devils forwards on the current roster. A number which would be zero. If New Jersey were to add Elias and limit him to about 14 minutes per game, especially in situations with the extra attacker, where he’s primarily in the offensive zone, it could prove to be quite beneficial.
Elias’ former teammate and fellow countryman Jaromir Jagr (who is a freak of nature), is averaging a little more than 16 minutes of ice time per game with the Florida Panthers, at age 44.
Perhaps a pairing of Elias and Pavel Zacha would click and generate a power supply.
As of this writing, the Devils and their 26 goals at five-on-five even strength rank No.26 in the league. Anything the club could do to enhance those totals would be a welcome change.
Michael Gwizdala covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers. Michael is also an Associate Producer at WNYT NewsChannel 13. Additionally, Michael was once a Media Relations intern for the AHL Albany River Rats. Michael is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.