Jets Depth Scoring: Has It Improved?

Kevin McCartney
October 29 2013 03:44PM

 

A season ago, fans called out for better depth scoring than Kyle Wellwood, Nik Antropov, Alex Burmistrov, and Antti Miettinen. They all left the team in one way or another, and the Jets have four new forwards in their places - Scheifele, Setoguchi, Frolik, and Halischuk.

Are the Jets' new scorers faring any better than the old ones?

Roster Construction

Last year's group hardly had a natural position between them. Wellwood played all three forward positions, Burmistrov and Antropov are both left-handed centre/right wingers, and Antti Miettinen might be a soccer player given his scoring totals. It's an odd assortment.

In that way, fans were pleased to have a more stable lineup card come October 1st. Scheifele is a natural centre, Setoguchi a long-time right winger, and Matt Halischuk plays on his forehand side. Frolik has played all three positions in the NHL, and was billed at the 7th man for his versatility up, down, and across the depth chart. None of that has changed, in spite of Noel's furious lineup changes, and though Halischuk and Setoguchi have faced scratches, no one has been moved to a new position just yet.

The Jets were top heavy last year, just as they are this year. Ladd, Little, Wheeler, and Kane score the points and cash the cheques. Big contracts in the off-season for Little and Wheeler make that truth more obvious, but even last season, those four were all in the top-6 for cap hits.

In real cap dollars, the Jets currently pay a cap hit of $6.85M for Frolik, Halischuk, Scheifele, and Setoguchi, or 10.6% of the cap. Last year's depth foursome of Antropov, Burmistrov, Miettinen, and Wellwood cost $7.86M - a relative cap cost of 11.2%, though a much larger portion of the team's internal budget.

Depth Scoring

Player

GP

P

P/82gp

P/60min*

Nik Antropov

40

18

37

1.65

Alex Burmistrov

44

10

18

1.03

Antti Miettinen

22

5

18

1.12

Kyle Wellwood

39

15

32

1.66

2012/13 Total

145

48

105

5.54

12/13 Average

 

 

27

1.39

Michael Frolik

13

6

38

2.11

Matt Halischuk

10

1

8

0.74

Mark Scheifele

13

3

19

0.70

Devin Setoguchi

12

5

34

1.71

2013/14 Total

48

15

99

5.55

13/14 Average

 

 

26

1.39

*The final column, Points per 60 minutes, includes only even strength scoring and even strength minutes.

It's very early in the season, and so averages tend to exaggerate. Nonetheless, these two groups score at the same total rate and the same even strength rate. The exact same even strength rate.

Of course, not everything is equal, and there are circumstances to these numbers. The Jets have moved to a harder Division and played much of their schedule in the West so far this year.

As well, Mark Scheifele has more upside than Antti Miettinen, and we hope more upside than anyone from last year's comparison group.

Halischuk's single point brings down the group in points per 82 games, but he doesn't play all that much, so his points per 60 minutes adjusts for that.

What have we learned?

In truth, the first lesson of his exercise is that Claude Noel is not particularly interested in scoring rates. Kyle Wellwood and Antti Miettinen played the same number of even strength minutes per game, despite their very different point producing rates. Miettinen even got the push to the second line with Kane, while Wellwood was scoring with lesser mates.

Sound familiar? Frolik has the same even strength minutes as Scheifele while Setoguchi was a healthy scratch earlier this season and has been bounced around the lineup. Sure, development is important, but maybe there's a powerplay Scheifele could help with, instead of averaging 13 minutes a night at evens and struggling.

The elephant in the room, of course, is that this team hasn't acquired appreciably better depth scoring since last season, owing mostly to incorrect evaluations of Wellwood and Antropov. That's true both of fans and the coach, who also misused them so far down in the lineup.

What about Olli Jokinen?

He's not included simply because he was present on both clubs, but his scoring has improved year over year so far.

Last year we talked about his struggles and the idea that Noel had to start giving him fewer minutes in favour of Antropov and Wellwood, however odious the idea. This year he's earning praise, and some want to promote him back to the second line.

In truth, his underlying numbers haven't improved by much, and he's only improved his scoring rate from 25 points per 82 games to 37. It's in the right direction, but it's not a renaissance. 

Bottom Line

This team is still looking for scoring outside its top 4 forwards. There is hope in this group, with Setoguchi coming on of late, and Scheifele still very young and talented. But much of scoring rests on opportunity, and Coach Noel has to put his players in a position to succeed. That's never been his strength as a coach.

38cf2c318f1f284f974b60f35021d346
Kevin is the Managing Editor of Jets Nation. His work has been featured on Bleacher Report, The Sporting News, and around the Nations Network. An enthusiastic over-analyst, his background and interests are diverse, but you might notice he's obsessed with hockey. Track him down on twitter @kevinmccart or @nhljetsnation
Comments are closed for this article.