With Mathieu Perreault still out with injury and the recent subtractions of Bryan Little and Dustin Byfuglien, the Jets have pushed some skaters above their optimal depth placement.
How have they performed?
(courtesy of War-on-Ice)
The sample sizes are small, so the numbers predictiveness is fairly low but not enough to be neglected.
For those who have not used player usage charts before, the chart represents both usage and performance combined. Generally speaking, top right is easier minutes while bottom left is the toughest.
The x-axis shows how often a player is deployed in the offensive zone versus the defensive zone, while the y-axis represents the average TOI/60 of the players they are on the ice with. The size of the bubble represents the average amount of ice time per game.
The graph does miss competition levels of match-ups. Competition generally becomes insignificant in the long-run, as the differences experienced are small, but at this sample matchup would have some impact.
The colour represents the team’s Corsi percentage with the player on the ice versus on the bench. A dark blue bubble means that the team controls a much larger percentage of shots while the player is on the ice versus on the bench. It is important to note that all players could be above 50 percent but still carry a negative relative Corsi percentage.
Off the bat we see some dichotomy in both the Jets top-two forward trios and also defender pairs.
While Andrew Ladd, Adam Lowry, and Michael Frolik have positively impacted the Jets shot attempt differentials, the trio of Drew Stafford, Mark Scheifele, and Blake Wheeler have impacted the results in an opposite manner.
Similarly, the Mark Stuart and Jacob Trouba pair have excelled while the pairing of Tobias Enstrom and Tyler Myers has struggled relative to their usage.
There are three possible responses that Paul Maurice can make from this information, besides keeping the status quo.
Maurice could shuffle the lines, splitting Frolik and Ladd between Lowry and Scheifele. He could also adjust usage, softening minutes for one while increasing the difficulty for another. Another option would be swapping which defensive pair tends to play with which forward line.
Some may argue that helping one group while hurting the other would just result in an equal but opposite shift for both, but this is not necessarily true.
Differences in skill sets means that certain players perform better in different situations. While all players tend to see decreases when they take more defensive zone starts, the impact differs for individuals. In addition, certain players accent other individuals more than others.
The other incentive for changing the current status with the Jets top players is ice time. Due to the TOI differences, a 53 Corsi percentage for a first line player does not have the same overall impact as a fourth line player putting up the same number.
The Scheifele line has been averaging more minutes than the Lowry line. Improving the Scheifele line would have a larger impact than hurting the Lowry line for the most part, depending on factors like chemistry.
The return of Bryan Little, Mathieu Perreault and Dustin Byfuglien will fix a lot of these issues. Until then, it may be beneficial for the Jets to make some adjustments.
As an aside: the data also suggests that Eric O`Dell would be a stronger candidate for the third line than Jim Slater.
All numbers are 5-on-5 and adjusted for score unless stated otherwise.