A Close Look at Zach Bogosian

 Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets have a couple of

significant restricted free agents

left to sign, not the least of which is 21-year old Zach Bogosian. Attitudes about the former third overall draft pick were sharply divergent in Atlanta last year, particular in how a majority of the fans felt about the player versus how the coaching staff deployed him. He has become something of a controversial player as a result

There’s no question that Bogosian has struggled from certain angles since becoming a regular in 2008-09. Drafted in the top-5 in part because of his high-end offensive output in the OHL (11-goals, 61-points in his draft year), Bogosian hasn’t put up numbers yet in his young career, topping out at 10-goals and 23-points in 2009-10. His offensive contributions actually fell last year to just 17-points, further exacerbating frustrations about his development.

Bogosian doesn’t have the best underlying numbers either. He had the second worst possession rate amongst regular skaters on the back-end of ATL last season (-6.98/60) with only partner Johnny Oduya finishing behind him (-8.32/60). He also scored at a fairly marginal rate (0.54pts/60) at even strength.

With all that in mind, it makes one wonder why the Jets would bother to re-sign Bogosian in the first place. Seems to be a pretty marginal player.

The truth is, the kid has been playing the toughest minutes available for the club over the last two years, which is the main reason his numbers stink. No blueliner faced a tougher quality of competition for the Thrashers last season. Bogosian’s offensive-to-defensive zone start ratio was the second most difficult on the club (47.9%) behind Oduya. Only Dustin Byfuglien averaged more ice time than Bogosian for the Thrash at ES and Bogosian was second the blueline in terms of average SH ice time.

On the other hand, Bogosian was relegated to a lesser power-play role (1:58/game) with Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom soaking up almost all of the ice time on the extra man most nights (4:02 and 4:32, respectively). Those two guys also got the most favorable treatment from Craig Ramsey in terms of starting position at even strength, with zone starts north of 55%, which helps explain their surperior offensive totals.

Bogosian was leaned on heavily in Atlanta to give the high ground to other players. He didn’t exactly flourish under those circumstances, but most defenders at the age of 19 and 20-years old aren’t even in the league, let alone facing other teams top lines from their own end every night.

As such, he figures to be a significant part of the Jets blueline going forward. If new coach Claude Noel decides to deploy his defenders in a more equitable manner, there is no doubt Bogosian’s counting stats will improve going forward as well. Given the trial-by-fire described above, his impressive set of physical tools and his draft pedigree, Bogosian is a decent bet to develop into a high-end, shut-down defender in the next few years.

  • Robert Cleave

    Bogosian was leaned on heavily in Atlanta to give the high ground to other players. He didn’t exactly flourish under those circumstances, but most defenders at the age of 19 and 20-years old aren’t even in the league, let alone facing other teams top lines from their own end every night.

    That’s the nub of it right there, and that’s why I just shake my head at some of the Atlanta fans that spent last year crapping on him. A proper organization with any sense at all would have never put a player of his age in the spots they did, particularly on a team that didn’t have elite forwards to ease the way.

    Even someone like Drew Doughty, who was playing good comp from age 18 onward, got a bit of relief via easier ZS numbers. I don’t doubt that Bogosian might have appeared physically ready at 18, but for a defenceman, that’s hardly even half the battle. I have no idea how he’ll progress from here on out, but Don Waddell and company certainly did the young man no favours with their handling of his development.

  • D'oh-ilers

    Not to be a jerk, but you should always proof read and spell check before you post. Lots of missed words and letters throughout.

    Aside from that, I think it’s good that his previous pro coaches have pushed Bogosian to focus more on his defensive game. The offense will come, given the opportunity, but his development defensively will allow him to become a special talent in the league, should he continue developing the way he has been. He’s a keeper.

  • Good read.

    I heard an interview given with the Jets Gm, he was saying that Bogosian was not on the open market.

    ~Like every true oiler fan I was crushed that the Oilers were not going to make a deal that included a 5th and 6th round pick plus Cogliano, and maybe throw in Brule, plus a conditional pick in 2015 and a 1979 chev malibu~

    …However I would have like him on the Oilers! he would look good in Blue and Orange.

  • RexLibris

    I suspect Bogosian may become an Oiler fans hate-replacement for Regehr after re-alignment.

    I hope the patience TNS showed in getting a franchise extends to how they develop their prospects as well.