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On Butcher, Yakovlev and Cormier

May 25, 2018, 10:26 AM ET [11 Comments]
Todd Cordell
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From passing percentage to most completed passes to fastest skater, a lot of cool data was tracked at the 2018 IIHF World Hockey Championships that we don't have available – at least publicly – in North America.

They've slowly been releasing some of the numbers in top-10 form and a couple of the New Jersey Devils' representatives have been featured.

In terms of completed passes, only Johnny Gaudreau and John Klingberg – two elite NHL players – ranked higher than Will Butcher.



Butcher didn't only complete a lot of passes because he attempted a lot. He was also very efficient. He finished 7th in completed pass percentage with recent signee Egor Yakovlev slotting just behind him in 8th.



Butcher excelling in that area is not at all surprising. Passing is his bread and butter. It's still encouraging, though, because he played more minutes, and tougher minutes, for USA than he was given in New Jersey.

Eight games is eight games but I'm glad to see Yakovlev crack the top-10 as well. He's not a dynamic offensive talent by any means but the book on him is he's a solid defender who can help smoothly transition out of the defensive zone. Accurate passing is a skill that certainly lends itself to having success with the latter.

**

The Devils have less than a week to sign goaltending prospect Evan Cormier or they lose his rights.

Cormier, a 4th round pick in 2016, is coming off his best OHL season as he set a career high with a .900 save percentage and appeared in 61 of 68 games.

On the surface his numbers don't seem all that impressive but Cormier stands out a little more after digging deeper.

Last season 22 goaltenders started at least 30 games. Among them, Cormier ranked 4th in Adjusted Goals Saved Above Average with a hair more than 19.

Two of the three goaltenders ahead of Cormier are older while the other (Michael DiPietro) was the 64th overall pick in 2017.

Cormier faced the 3rd most high-danger shots in the league and ranked 7th among 22 eligible goaltenders in high-danger save percentage.

Cormier faced the 4th most medium-danger shots and ranked 4th among 22 eligible goaltenders in MD save percentage.

It wasn't a dominant season, per se, but Cormier had a good year while playing a ton of games behind a very young team that finished 8th in the Western Conference.

I think he's shown enough to get a contract, especially considering the Devils' goaltending pipeline isn't exactly overflowing with talent.

Note: OHL numbers via prospect-stats.

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