The Winnipeg Jets have become one of the league's elite defensive teams

Garret Hohl
April 05 2015 05:10PM

The Winnipeg Jets have improved over their term under the supervision of Paul Maurice. They are closer to the playoffs than ever before despite playing in a tougher conference than ever before.

Jets currently sit 9th in 5v5 goal differentials, while placing 13th and 15th in power play goals for and penalty kill goals against per minute. For underlying numbers, the Jets have the league's sixth best score-adjusted Corsi percentage.

The Jets have improved into arguably a top ten team, despite the fact that they may miss the playoffs this year.

The biggest improvement has been due to defense, which we will look at after the jump.

5v5 Shot Rates Last Season

2013ShotRate

(Courtesy of War-on-Ice)

The image above shows the Jets rates of shots on goal relative to league average in three particular zones. Red colouring represents above average number of shots per minute, while blue represents below average. The image on the left is shot volume generation, while the image on the right is the oppositions shot volume generation.

We can see here that the Jets were at league average in both creating and allowing shots against in both the low and high slot areas. In addition, the Jets were above average in both creating and allowing shots against in the outside areas.

Each of these areas represents a significantly different probability in scoring. Shots from the outside on average have a bout a 2 per cent conversion rate. Shots in the high slot are 200 percent more likely to score, with a 4 per cent conversion rate. The low slot represents the highest conversion rate, with 225 percent more likely with a 9 per cent conversion rate.

5v5 Shot Rates This Season

2014ShotRate

(Courtesy of War-on-Ice)

Looking at the image for shot generation, the Jets have not changed much from the previous season. They have improved a bit in the high slot area, while decreasing a bit in the outside region. This does represent a slight improvement in play due to conversion differences but minimally so.

The real improvement has come from the Jets shot repression, significantly so.

The Jets have repressed shots at a highly effective rate, and are the sixth best team at shot repression in the highest danger zone:

Screen shot 2015-04-05 at 3.00.31 PM

Using the conversion factors, by giving all teams league average goaltending, we can then estimate overall impact in terms of goal reduction (as a normalized rate relative to league average):

Screen shot 2015-04-05 at 3.46.13 PM

Closing Thoughts

The Jets are one of the best defensive teams in the NHL, despite how some individuals feel about the team with the recent goaltending struggles.

This is simply looking at shot repression and weighting shots differently due to location. There is the defensive side of the game and the offensive side in the game.

Overall though the Jets have performed fairly well:

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Lines represent rates as function of the season, with team name ending on most recent measurement.

All numbers are from war-on-ice and are score-adjusted for 5v5 minutes unless otherwise stated.

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I like hockey. I like numbers. I like the Jets. I have written for the Winnipeg Free Press, Jets Nations, Hockey-Graphs, Arctic Ice Hockey, and Hockey Prospectus. Currently I am managing Jets Nation and you can catch me tweeting @GarretHohl.
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