20 Game Update: Jets Zone Entries

Travis Hrubeniuk
November 15 2013 01:53PM

This season at Jets Nation, I've begun tracking zone entry data. In other words, the number of times and method by which the Jets enter the offensive zone.

Why? A study completed by Eric Tulsky and Broad Street Hockey has shown that teams who enter the offensive zone with control of the puck are the teams that create more offence through control of neutral zone play and maintaining possession.

I've been giving game-by-game updates, but this data is better used with larger sample sizes. Therefore, today we will take a look at the Jets' numbers through their first 20 games and see how they are performing as a group and individually.

Team Performance

5 vs 5

Entries

Shots / Entry

Carries

Shots/Carry

% With Control

Dump-Ins

Shots/ Dump

Shots/60 From Entries

Shots/60 From Controlled

Jets

1256

0.47

604

0.65

48%

652

0.30

38.0

25.3

Opp

1302

0.45

632

0.62

49%

670

0.29

37.7

25.0

OZF

287

0.31

 

Team % of entries:

49.1%

       

DZF

281

0.30

 

Team % of OZF:

50.5%

       
 

Huh?

So what exactly does all this mean?  Here's a quick explanation.  

First of all, it is worth stating that "shots" in this case refer to Fenwick shots.  That is, shooting attempts that either hit or miss the net, but are not blocked.  The Entries and Shots/Entry categories are pretty self explanatory.  It's the total number of times the puck has been brought into the zone when it did not start there (I'll get to offensive zone faceoffs in a minute).  We then break it down a little more into the number of times the puck was carried or passed in (controlled), and the number of times the puck was dumped of tipped in with the team actively purpsuing the puck (we ignore the times the team simply flips it down the ice to get a change or reduce pressure).  

Then just for added information, I give you the number of shots that are attempted over a full 60 minutes from carry-ins and dump-ins. You can see the drastic difference.  

OZF and DZF stand for offensive and defensive zone faceoffs respectively.  What those bottom two rows are showing are the number of shots that are generated for every offensive zone faceoff the Jets start with, and the number of shots generated off of every defensive zone faceoff the Jets start with.  

The "Team % of Entries" number shows what percentage of entries belong to the Jets each game (the higher the number, the more you control the neutral zone) and the "Team % of OZF" is simply showing if the Jets start in the offensive or defensive zone more (so the 50.5% means the Jets have slightly more offensive zone starts that defensive).  Neutral zone starts obviously factor in as well, but are not included in this chart.

Interpretation

As of right now, the Jets play of late has resulted in them climbing the Fenwick rankings, as they sit 16th overall during 5 on 5 play with a 50% FF% rating. They have plenty of room for improvement in regards to their neutral zone play though, where they are currently entering the zone with control less than 50% of the time. Granted, they have managed to keep their opponents below the 50% mark as well, but improvement is needed.

The main reason this needs improvement is easy to see. As is predicted, the Jets shots/entry numbers drop drastically when they dump the puck in. Although I don’t have the exact numbers here, this is a huge issue on the Jets power play as well. They dump the puck in far too often, and it limits their possession time in the offensive zone, which therefore limits shots and chances.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I believe a huge factor in this is the Jets defense not being “allowed” to carry the puck into the zone. Only 28.6% of the Jets defenseman’s entries are carried, where 51.1% of the forward’s entries are. I understand that it’s not always smart to have you D-men join in the rush, but for a team that has historically been known to rely on their defense to provide an offensive spark, this is a bit concerning.

I attribute this to two things. First, the shuffling of the pairings. This limits the comfort levels that the players have with one another, which would naturally mean they are playing more conservative. The second factor has to do with all the preaching we heard in the preseason of the Jets taking a more “defensive” approach to the game. This tells me that Claude likely instructed his defensemen to hang back more and just pound the puck deep, which unfortunately will lead to limited offense. Lately we have seen a few, select defenders joining the rush a bit more often, and this is a trend we will have to monitor more going forward.

Somehow the Jets shots per entry numbers are higher than their opponents, but they remain below average. Personally, I would contribute this a bit to the blowout games against Chicago. The Blackhawks simply played with the puck rather than shooting it. But I have to give a bit of credit to the Jets sudden shooting surge as well. The sample size is still a little small to know exactly how this will play out, as the five game span that has seen the Jets shoot like crazy affects a small sample like this.

I’m not a huge advocate for the importance of faceoffs, but the Jets struggles in that area show up a little bit when you look at the shots they generate following offensive and defensive zone faceoffs. They currently rank 29th in the league in that category, which absolutely has to have some sort of effect on their inability to generate shots when the puck starts in the offensive zone.

Individual Performance

Defensemen

5 vs 5

Player

Entries

Shots/ Entry

Carries

Shots/Carry

% With Control

Dump-Ins

Shots/Dump

% That Fail

2

Pardy

13

0.69

5

0.60

38%

8

0.75

28.6%

4

Postma

6

0.17

2

0.50

33%

4

0.00

60.0%

5

Stuart

13

0.08

0

N/A

0%

13

0.08

N/A

7

Ellerby

4

0.25

0

N/A

0%

4

0.25

N/A

8

Trouba

16

0.56

8

0.88

50%

8

0.25

50.0%

24

Clitsome

21

0.38

4

1.00

19%

17

0.24

42.9%

33

Byfuglien

43

0.58

18

0.83

42%

25

0.40

14.3%

39

Enstrom

31

0.29

7

0.57

23%

24

0.21

22.2%

44

Bogosian

49

0.43

12

0.75

24%

37

0.32

25.0%

63

Chiarot

0

N/A

0

N/A

N/A

0

N/A

N/A

You can see pretty clearly that the majority of Jets defensemen contribute little to entering the zone with control. Outside of Adam Pardy (who is either a dump and chase god, or has had a good run), the only Jets defensemen who has a shots/entry rate above .50 are the same players who carry the puck in over 40% of the time.  Those same defensemen are incredibly efficient (albeit on a limited sample) when they do carry the puck in. See where I’m going with this?

Assuming Claude Noel keeps Enstrom and Bogosian together long term, I will be very interested to see how Bogosian’s numbers change. It comes as no surprise to me that Enstrom has such low controlled entry numbers, as his game is one built around playing smart and safe. That’s why he was such a good partner for Buff. Now that’s he is with Bogosian, I would expect Zach to start taking more chances and joining the rush a bit more often.

I have to give credit to Grant Clitsome. It’s very clear that he has tried to adapt his game to focus more on defense now that he is with Buff. He has among the lowest carry-in percentage in the grouping, and the lowest amongst guys who have tried to carry it in before. My problem with this is the fact the Clitsome is a good offensive guy. He has a solid shot, and I don’t think the Jets brought him in and expected him to completely change his style. Things are certainly going to be shaken up as guys get healthy, and I hope Claude looks at this pairing as something that cold change.

Forwards

5 vs 5

Player

Entries

Shots/ Entry

Carries

Shots/Carry

% With Control

Dump-Ins

Shots/Dump

% That Fail

9

Kane

162

0.51

98

0.59

60%

64

0.38

12.5%

12

Jokinen

75

0.56

34

0.71

45%

41

0.44

26.1%

14

Peluso

27

0.41

13

0.62

48%

14

0.21

13.3%

15

Halischuk

63

0.46

23

0.52

37%

40

0.43

14.8%

16

Ladd

126

0.45

60

0.67

48%

66

0.26

18.9%

17

Wright

65

0.35

22

0.45

34%

43

0.30

35.3%

18

Little

77

0.47

49

0.57

64%

28

0.29

10.9%

19

Slater

17

0.47

9

0.89

53%

8

0.00

10.0%

22

Thorburn

14

0.50

6

0.83

43%

8

0.25

53.8%

26

Wheeler

116

0.41

63

0.59

54%

53

0.21

20.3%

27

Tangradi

71

0.42

33

0.61

46%

38

0.26

15.4%

28

Cormier

3

0.67

2

0.00

67%

1

2.00

50.0%

40

Setoguchi

76

0.57

40

0.90

53%

36

0.19

16.7%

55

Scheifele

80

0.59

52

0.67

65%

28

0.43

11.9%

67

Frolik

88

0.48

44

0.66

50%

44

0.30

17.0%

Evander Kane is an entry beast. He’s far and away the guy who gets the puck down the ice the most, and is in the top half of shot generation off of those entries. Say what you will about his shot selection, he gets the puck towards the net and I don’t see that as a bad thing. One thing he does that I’m not always a huge fan of though is the “self-feeding dump and chase”. It does allow him to run a few defensemen and get physical, but his production really drops when he does it.

Bryan Little is exactly what you want from a center. He controls more than 60% of his entries, generates almost .60 shots per controlled entries, and has close to the lowest failure percentage on the team. His production really is terrible when he dumps the puck though, so let’s hope he continues to minimize those.

By that same note, Mark Scheifele has actually been a pretty solid neutral zone guy. He hasn’t exactly spent loads of time with elite scorers since he was moved away from Evander Kane, but he controls the second highest (highest if you dismiss the tiny Cormier sample size) percentage of his entries and has the highest shots/entry numbers among the forwards.

Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, and Devin Setoguchi have all actually turned out to be decent wingers. The Jets as a whole could use a bit of a boost, but when these guys actually make the effort to carry the puck in they are extremely effective. The process now comes down to being able to develop a system that allows them to control the neutral zone better, allowing them to enter with control more often.

Conclusion

So there are the Jets' numbers 20 games into this 2013-14 season. This team could go one of two ways right now, and past events don’t have me holding me breath. They need to take that next step, and finding a way to better control the neutral zone would be a good route toward that.

271d6798e55ab2ad953f9584515497b2
I write things, you read them. Then tend to yell at me for them. It's okay though, I'm from Winnipeg. I can take it. If you actually do like what I write, give me a twitter follow here (@thrubeniuk): https://twitter.com/thrubeniuk
Comments are closed for this article.