By The Numbers: Jets should start taking chances on players like Mark Barberio

Mark Barberio hit the waiver wire earlier today. The Jets could use a player like Barberio.

It is time that the Winnipeg Jets make a move on a player like this. I will show why the team needs to start taking advantage of situations like this.

The Traditional Scouting

The 26 year old Mark Barberio is a 6’1, left-shooting defender.

In his prospect days he was viewed as a puck-moving defender with a ton of offensive upside. He was drafted in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft after putting up 45 points in 66 games, over the “magical” 0.6 Pt/GP pace, in the QMJHL. The following season he put up well over a point per game pace.

Like most puck-moving defenders, scouts praised him for having excellent offensive instincts and a high IQ. At 6’1, he was noted for having decent size for an offense first defender. And again like most offensive defenders, he was also criticized for needing to be more physical and develop more defensive awareness.

Barberio went on to put up 31 and 61 points in the AHL before moving to the NHL.

In the NHL he has struggled to dominate like he did in the lower levels. Some people would put this as evidence that not all high scorers translate, but the underlying numbers tell another story.

Modern Scouting

Scoring

Scoring

Combining this and last season, Barberio has put up 12 points during 5v5 situations. The Jets other defensive third-pairing options, aside from Mark Stuart, have put up similar points.

When looking at point production relative to ice time, we see that Barberio and Paul Postma stand out the most. For context, the median scoring rates for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd pairing defenders is 0.74, 0.66, and 0.56 points per sixty minutes.

As far as putting the puck in the net, you could do a lot worse than a Barberio and Postma third-lline pairing.

Shot and Goal Metrics

Shots

Relative Control meaning team’s performance with player on ice minus on bench. Ex: If the team controls 54% of all goals with player on ice, and only 52 with the player on bench, then he is a +2.

Two seasons gives a sample where we start to the small sample “shot quality” stats like Scoring Chances and goal differentials begin to look like the more predictive models like Corsi (All Shots) and Fenwick (Unblocked Shots).

We see here that Barberio’s team has performed better in all five categories with him on the ice, while the Jets have been far worse with Ben Chiarot or Stuart. Postma has been about average.

Again, it appears that a Baerberio and Postma pairing would be a best case scenario.

Advance Models

XPM

Numbers courtesy of DTMAboutHeart

DTM’s XPM model is not a total value stat (total value: think baseball’s WAR model). It is, however, a huge component of DTM’s own WAR statistic, with XPM accounting for 54% of a defender’s offensive rating and 100% of their defensive rating. The largest part missing is a player’s point production rates, which we’ve already gone over for Barberio, Postma, Stuart, and Chiarot.

XPM is an expected goal model that takes things a bit further than the model in the previous graph. It adds variables to the shot quality adjustments, like the shooter’s history and whether the skater-power is 5v5 or 5v4 or etc. It also adjusts for usage, like linemates, linematching, coaching, zone starts, and schedule. This allows us to get a more complete picture on how a player helps their team in shot quality and quantity.

The model does not necessarily state Barberio would be the Jets third best defender, but it does suggest that he has been excellent in improving his team outperforming the opposition in both shot quality and quantity. It does suggest that Barberio would most likely be an upgrade on Chiarot and Stuart. (Note: Stuart did not have sufficient ice time, but we’d expect him around or worse than Chiarot)

Once again, a Barberio-Postma pairing seems to be a best case scenario for the Jets third pairing.

Fitting The Team

Last summer, Kevin Cheveldayoff said he would like to add a left-handed shot to the Winnipeg Jets. When the team first arrived to Winnipeg, the roster carried four competent left-handed defenders with Toby Enstrom, Ron Hainsey, Johnny Oduya, and Mark Stuart. Hainsey and Oduya have since left, while both Enstrom and Stuart have diminished substantially (one to a lesser NHL player, and the other to a non-NHL player).

The team’s left side has severely struggled. Things slightly improved with the emergence of Josh Morrissey, although his impact has been diminished with the aging of Enstrom.

Barberio is cheap to acquire. He has a remaining Cap Hit of $279,167. His NHL salary for this season is $800,000. But most importantly, he would not cost any assets to acquire from the waiver wire.

Not only is he cheap, but at 26 years-old Barberio fits in the Jets age demographic. He is just a year older than Chiarot, while younger than than Byfuglien, Enstrom, Postma, and the same age as Tyler Myers.

He has one more year under contract, at an $800,000 salaray, until becoming a unrestricted free agent.

The Winnipeg Jets defensive depth could potentially then be:

  1. Jacob Trouba (RHD)
  2. Dustin Byfuglien (RHD)
  3. Josh Morrissey (LHD)
  4. Toby Enstrom (LHD)
  5. Tyler Myers (RHD)
  6. Mark Barberio (LHD)
  7. Paul Postma (RHD) (UFA this summer)
  8. Ben Chiarot (LHD)

This gives the Winnipeg Jets a cheap upgrade for next year their bottom pair. He also serves as a back up plan for incase the Jets lose Postma to free agency or Myers to either the expansion draft or injury. Besides, the numbers suggest that Barberio could move up the Jets depth charts without too much trouble.

Closing Thoughts

The Winnipeg Jets carry some great players on their roster. They have some strong veterans in Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom, Blake Wheeler, and Bryan Little. They have a huge amount of potential in the youth of players like Jacob Trouba, Josh Morrissey, Nik Ehlers, Mark Scheifele, and Patrik Laine.

They struggle in depth, though, and a large part of it has been due to players the Jets can afford to lose and replace with better and younger talent.

Mark Barberio is an example of how Kevin Cheveldayoff could fix some of the issues with the Jets quickly, easily, and cheaply. This is only one example and there are others.

All numbers courtesy of Corsica unless otherwise stated.


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  • Paul from NZ

    Good article, Garret, I 100% agree that Barberio would be a great pickup for the Jets. If Myers actually plays again this season, Barberio would be a miuch better option to play alongside him. I would be surprised, though, if one of the seven teams ahead of us in line for waiver pickups don’t grab him first.