The Winnipeg Jets missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons since the move to Manitoba, and the 14th time over 16 seasons over franchise history. The season does not end for us though at Jets Nations.
Welcome to our series where we take an analytical approach, dissecting what went wrong with the Jets 2015-2016 season and how to improve the team for next year.
We introduce our series with comparing the Jets 2015-2016 season from the 2014-2015 season.
The 2014-2015 season was pretty exciting one for Jets’ fans. It marked the first time the Jets made it to the post-season and fans were hoping it to be a sign of the times to come.
The Jets after all had a pretty good showing. Despite barely scratching into the playoffs there was a lot of promise. The core of the team was mostly the same. The Jets were one of the better 5v5 shot and goal differential teams in the NHL. With a mediocre penalty kill, poor power play, and league worst penalty differential, there was still a lot of room to move up.
The next year started off promising with the team starting off with an 8-4-1 record… and then they crashed.
What happened? Where did the goals go?
Simply put hockey is a goal scoring contest. At it’s simplest level it is about how effectively one team outscores its opposition. The Jets goal differential fell by 43 goals, from a solid +19 to a -24. On average one would expect the average NHL team to lose 8.6 wins from this. Sure enough, the Jets picked up 8 fewer wins than the season prior.
I broke up the Jets performance into three situations (5v5, Power Play, and Penalty Kill) and then looked at multiple factors within those situations (shot volume, goal conversion, and TOI). I then looked to see how many goals the Jets’ 2014-2015 goal differential would have changed by if you changed only that particular statistic to the Jets’ 2015-2016 performance, and held all other variables constant.
Left is ordered by statistic to keep each situation similar, while right is ordered in terms of goal differential impact.
The sum of all these impacts works out to -37.1, which is only 5.9 goals off of the Jets true drop of of 43 goals. Not bad considering how many factors are missing.
There were some areas of improvement. The Jets improved their penalty differential substantially, with a reduction in short handed ice time being worth about 6 goals against less. The Jets also generated about 2 goals worth more in generating 5v5 shot volume per minute, and their power play allowed about one goal worth of shots against less.
After that though it looks a bit bleak. The short version is that the Jets could have done a lot better in quite a few areas.
The Jets’ defensive game on penalty kill and 5v5 combined for about 13 more goals against. Jets goaltending in all situations fell by about 22 goals, about half of the Jets’ total drop. The Jets shooting percentage on the power play and 5v5 hurt the team by about nine goals, while the Jets shot volume on the power play (that was bad to begin with) worsened by three goals.
All-in-all it was a tough fallout in performance leading to a tough year.
While an influx in talent, some hopeful rebound years, and better goaltending the Jets’ should improve next season, but will it be enough to push the team back into the playoff picture?