Jets Scoring Chances: Midseason Review

Travis Hrubeniuk
January 03 2014 10:16AM

This week the Jets surpassed the 41-game midway point of the NHL season and I can’t think of a better time than now to give you all a half season update on the Jets scoring chance numbers. Just to be clear, this data if from the first 41 games of the season and therefore doesn’t include the Jets last couple games. Check here for my 20 game update so you can understand my reference points.

The Team’s Scoring Chances

-

Total For

Total Against

Score

Overall

2906

2921

-15

Even Strength

2236

2333

-97

Just for clarification purposes, these numbers are the grand total of all for/against chances for each player. The Jets haven’t given up almost 3000 chances in 41 games; that would be ridiculous. Each chance against the Jets registers for every player on the ice, so for every one chance tallied, you could be adding anywhere between 3-6 chances. The problem that arises is that I don’t separate the 5 on 5 chances at even strength from the 4 on 4 even strength chances, so I chose to display them as a grand total. The individual numbers are still pretty clear, but displaying them as a team is slightly more difficult with how I record everything. (As an extra note, I only displayed player numbers for players who have played over 50 minutes at even strength despite having their numbers available)

That being said, we have seen some interesting developments in the last 21 games. At even strength, the Jets have remained pretty steady within the -90 to -100 range throughout the year. There have been a couple peaks and a few drops, but this is about where they sit on a regular basis. What has actually changed quite drastically has been the overall chance numbers. You can probably credit this to the immense change in the Jets power play efficiency as of late. They have gone from a team that killed penalties pretty well but couldn’t create a thing with the man advantage, so a team that is constantly tallying a good 5-7 power play chances a game. It has resulted in a 43-chance swing in 21 games, before you include the changes at even strength. Special teams are a huge factor for this team, so it’s nice to see them actually providing a bit of a positive.

The Forwards

Player

5v5 TOI

ES Chances For/20

ES Chances Against/20

ES Total/20

Rel Corsi QoC

Kane

445.86

6.06

6.06

0.00

0.851

Jokinen

517.35

5.22

5.03

0.19

0.358

Peluso

107.66

2.60

4.46

-1.86

-1.174

Halischuk

307.4

3.77

3.90

-0.13

0.628

Ladd

503.3

6.48

5.92

0.56

0.967

Wright

292.93

3.07

4.30

-1.23

-0.577

Little

515.65

6.13

6.09

0.04

1.076

Slater

61.1

2.95

5.24

-2.29

-0.758

Thorburn

227.45

3.61

4.22

-0.62

-0.266

Wheeler

512.68

5.70

6.20

-0.51

0.657

Tangradi

252.05

3.57

3.97

-0.40

-0.658

Setoguchi

476.48

6.17

5.20

0.97

0.676

Scheifele

478.93

4.97

5.64

-0.67

0.477

Frolik

468.35

4.57

5.00

-0.43

0.542

We’ve seen a couple things change recently with the Jets top line that has affected their numbers in a very interesting fashion. First, Blake Wheeler has been on the line consistently with Ladd and Little, and playing very well in that time, which has caused his personal numbers to go up. Yet both Little and Ladd have seen their numbers drop a little bit. How is this possible? Well, look no further than the quality of competition they are facing. I didn’t include those numbers in my last post, but they have definitely gone up. Especially since the emergence of the Kane-Scheifele-Frolik line, LLW has seen a dramatic increase in the quality of their competition which I would point to as a direct cause in an evening out in their numbers.

Speaking of the KSF line, all three players have seen their numbers go up. Does that really surprise anybody? They have been absolutely electric lately, and if this included the last couple games these numbers would only look better. Not to toot my own horn too much, but I did kind of tell you all that getting Kane away from Olli Jokinen would result in good things for the guy and has it ever. I also remember stating that if you wanted to keep Scheifele on this team you needed to start playing him under protected minutes, and Claude Noel has actually started doing so. I don’t give Claude a lot of props, but he did finally make some good choices in regards to his top two lines.

The third line though…not so much. I mean props to Devin Setoguchi for continuing to be the Jets best ES/20 guy, but his (and Olli Jokinen’s) numbers have steadily dropped lately. I think it’s pretty obvious why. Chris Thorburn has seen his numbers improve, which is good, but only because Olli Jokinen and Devin Setoguchi are dragging him along. I really want to see someone, almost anyone really, on that third line just to see how things could improve. The Jets bottom six are really what’s killing this team, but if they could find a much better suited replacement for that third line (cough cough…Eric O’Dell?) they might actually start taking solid steps in the proper direction.

The Defense

Player

5v5 TOI

ES Chances For/20

ES Chances Against/20

ES Total/20

Rel Corsi QoC

Pardy

246.55

5.35

4.38

0.97

-0.758

Postma

95.13

2.94

3.36

-0.42

-1.258

Stuart

334.03

3.83

5.93

-2.10

-0.374

Trouba

310.15

5.35

6.26

-0.90

-0.127

Ellerby

264.15

5.45

5.45

0.00

0.501

Clitsome

508.9

4.68

5.54

-0.86

0.847

Byfuglien

690.73

5.85

6.11

-0.26

1.329

Enstrom

635.95

5.72

4.75

0.97

0.978

Bogosian

383.33

5.11

4.80

0.31

0.189

My goodness Toby Enstrom is a great defenseman. I’m sorry, but if you disagree you are just wrong. He plays some of the toughest minutes on the team, has been thrown all over the lineup, plays the second most minutes at 5 on 5, and quite simply continues to be the Jets best defender at even strength. He makes everybody he plays with better, and I am convinced that whatever pairing he is on should be strongly considered to be the top pairing.

If Dustin Byfuglien is such a bad defenseman, why does he play the most minutes against the toughest possible competition on a regular basis? He hasn’t spent nearly the same amount of time with Enstrom as he has in the past, and is still working his way back to a positive number after the terrifying time he spent with Grant Clitsome, so I’m not too concerned about his numbers being in the negative. What does bother me a little bit is that his ES Against/20 continues to rise. It’s quite possible that it is simply a side effect of being on the ice so much, but we’ve seen in the past that he can limit those numbers if he’s with the right guy.

After a pretty rough start, we have seen Zach Bogosian’s numbers continue to go up. The sample size has been small since our last update due to his injury, and he has been playing against relatively easier opponents than some of the others, but at least the Total/20 is improving. Bogosian has been a bit of a mystery lately, but we’ll keep an eye on his performances.

Another player who has steadily improved as the season has gone on is Jacob Trouba. His ice time has gone up and he’s played against some tougher competition which has resulted in his ES Against/20 to go up, but his Chances For numbers have risen even more. A little more time away from Mark Stuart has likely helped quite dramatically in this aspect, so I’m willing to bet that the more time he spends away from him the better. He’s still a rookie, he still plays somewhat protected minutes, and he is prone to some mistakes, but his development really seems to be heading in the right direction.

I think Keaton Ellerby has been playing a little bit out of his element lately. As he has continued to play against tougher competition due to injuries his numbers have dropped despite still being even overall. I like him as a player, but he is a third pairing guy. Adam Pardy on the other hand, has been used in the proper capacity and has excelled in that position. He plays extremely protected minutes but takes advantage of his time on the ice, quite unlike another defenseman who for whatever reasons sees a lot more time on the ice.

Mark Stuart plays some of the easiest minutes on the team, yet has posted the worst numbers at even strength by a huge margin. There are only two defensemen that Stuart has spent time with at 5 on 5 this season and has posted a positive Corsi with. Byfuglien, who he has only been with for less than 20 minutes, and Bogosian who he spent only 37:08 with. Some of the Jets best third line defensive play this season came when Keaton Ellerby and Adam Pardy were put together. In that 66:51 of 5 on 5 time together (the most Pardy has spent with any other defenseman this year) they had a GF% of 100% and a 51.9 CF%. Stuart should not be an automatic regular in the Jets lineup. There are better options available. Claude has to recognize this and take advantage.

Conclusion

The Jets have seen some positive results following a couple of lineup changes lately. With the emergence of Kane-Scheifele-Frolik (albeit under some protection) and the consistent ability of Ladd-Little-Wheeler to play tough minutes and still produce, the Jets have a solid top two lines. In the defensive ranks, Toby Enstrom continues to be a little hero, Byfuglien has steadily improved following his stretch with Clitsome and Jacob Trouba has really taken strides towards being a great player. The problem that still remains is the team’s depth, and the grouping decisions by Claude Noel. Jokinen and Setoguchi are being dragged down by the horrid choice to keep them with Thorburn, the fourth line is constituted by two players who are constantly hemmed in their own zone while Eric Tangradi is often in the press box, Keaton Ellerby is being used outside of his comfort zone and the persistent implementation of Mark Stuart in the lineup is really costing the Jets.

It’s the same problems that continue to prevent the Jets from taking the step forward that they so desperately desire. A lack of depth is at fault, and blame can be pointed towards Kevin Cheveldayoff (although I think there may be some answers within the organization), and/or questionable decision making by Claude Noel (and goaltending, but that’s not the focus for now). Until those things change, I can’t see the Jets really being more than what they are now.

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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
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#1 Kevin McCartney
January 03 2014, 12:12PM
Trash it!
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props

These numbers are great, Travis. It tells us so much about what we're seeing with Big Buf and Stuart, especially.

Buf's a positive corsi player against the toughest opponents without a zone start push and third in NHL scoring among Dmen. But people still want more. We see here that he gives up fewer chances against than Trouba (his heir apparent, as far as I can tell from Byfuglien haters), and that he almost breaks even despite his mistakes and having 5 different partners, most of whom are bad. No one is ready to step into the breach if he were to ever leave, and apart from Enstrom, there isn't anyone who could break even against that quality of competition.

Mark Stuart is ready for the glue factory.

Avatar
#2 X
January 04 2014, 09:00AM
Trash it!
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trashes
+1
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props

The Thorburn Improvement Project makes me sad. I wonder if we can get Thorburn to go out onto the ice wearing a plywood sandwich board instead of a stick and that way Olli and Seto would at least be able to effectively bank shots off of him when he is standing in a dangerous area. That line has frequently looked dangerous in spite of the Thorburn presence (though usually when on the ice with Buff or Toby around), one can only imagine how much scoring the team is giving up with this current arrangement.

Can't the Jets sign that Mouillierat guy to something and get him up here if they don't want O'Dell doing the job? Before O'Dell came was Lowry not playing on the wing or something? Really, just any sort of "or something" arrangement would make me happy right now.. Tangradi!!!1!

I heartily second your Ellerby comments, I want him on the ice, not in the pressbox but he is going to end up undeservedly in the pressbox for mistakes against that tough competition.

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