Ryan Suter, Zach Parise

Five notable numbers from the 2013-14 Wild season


54.3 — The average number of shots in a Wild game. Only New Jersey games (52.3) averaged fewer. In contrast, Senators games averaged 67.5 shots, the most in the NHL. For that reason, you often hear the Wild called a “low event” team (while others just call them “boring”). But at the end of the day, it’s not the sum of shots or chances that has a huge impact on outcomes; it’s the difference between the two opponents. Proof? In 2013-14, the top teams in terms of shot differential were San Jose, Chicago, Los Angeles, NY Rangers, St. Louis, Boston, and Anaheim. Two of those teams met in the Stanley Cup Final, and all of them made the playoffs. The Wild, meanwhile, ranked 21st, suggesting they’ve still got some work to do when it comes to controlling possession.

48.6% — The Wild’s Fenwick close rating, which also ranked them 21st in the NHL. This is, obviously, related to the point made above re: shot differential (Fenwick is the number of unblocked shot attempts). Minnesota actually started the season among the top teams in terms of pucks possession — remember the story about how they’d embraced analytics? — but as the following chart from Extra Skater shows, the club didn’t remain up there with the elite of the league:


Injuries to key players like Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu most definitely had something to do with the decline in possession, but that’s still not a chart any team wants to see.

45 — Power-play goals scored, the 22nd most in the NHL. This is one of the areas where the addition of Thomas Vanek could change things. The Austrian sniper has scored 113 times with the man advantage during his career, and Minnesota general manager Chuck Fletcher said he targeted Vanek in part because he “wanted somebody that could help our power play.”

53 — Power-play goals surrendered. Only five teams allowed more: Arizona, Toronto, NY Islanders, Ottawa, and Florida. Notice anything about those five teams? Yeah, none of them made the playoffs. So in a very tough Western Conference, improving the penalty kill in 2014-15 could go a long way for the Wild.

.913 — Minnesota’s team save percentage, to which five goalies contributed. Given all the injuries they had to endure at arguably the most important position, that’s not too bad. In fact, it ranked them in a tie for 13th in the NHL.

Related: The Wild are ‘definitely comfortable’ with their goaltending situation, but should they be?

Report: Sean Avery was arrested last week

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From the Southampton Press:

Sean Avery, the former National Hockey League player, was arrested by Southampton Village Police last week on two criminal charges.

According to authorities, Mr. Avery was arrested September 30 following a routine traffic stop on Jennings Avenue in the village at about 4:09 p.m. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all misdemeanors.

Police said the criminal mischief charge involved an incident the day before, when Mr. Avery allegedly threw objects at passing vehicles.

As for those counts of possession, according to the newspaper, Avery was found to have “two prescription drugs, acetaminophen with oxycodone and roxicodone.”

He was released on $500 bail and ordered to appear in court at a later date.

Did we mention he’s supposed to get married this weekend?

H/t Gawker

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.