© Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
The Winnipeg Jets have been struggling to win games, so let’s go over and take a look at the Manitoba Moose… who are also struggling.
Well, at least we can take a look at the individuals on the Moose to gauge the potential future help from the farm team.
The above graph has the players listed in highest to lowest point per game pace, and comparing these their production in each point category as if each skater were to play the full season.
The kids are alright.
The top three producing Moose players are Jack Roslovic, Kyle Connor, and Dan DeSalvo. All three are AHL rookies, and the former two were 2015 first-round draft picks for the Winnipeg Jets. The team hopes and expects big things from Roslovic and Connor in the future.
There is a reason that we separate primary from secondary assists. Secondary assists are, relatively speaking, more luck driven than goals or primary assists. They also tell you relatively less about a player’s offensive talents than the other two statistics, although they still tell you some things.
Secondary assists are worth less, but are not worthless.
To account for this, we can adjust the relative value of these numbers and combine them together. What you then produce is a statistic less about a player’s individual production and more about the player’s individual offensive worth to the team.
The order does not change much. There are some adjustments, however. Scott Glennie and Scott Kosmachuk switch spots. As does Patrice Cormier and JC Lipon.
While the American Hockey League is extremely limited in the data they provide and the value that can be extracted from it, a player’s ability to produce offensively tells you a great deal of how well a player is performing overall.
There is more that we can garner from the AHL’s data as well: shot production.
There is not a huge amount of difference looking at this and the previous lists, although there are a few standout situations.
Dan DeSalvo resides much lower in shots, despite being the highest goal producing forward on the team. DeSalvo has buried sixteen goals for every hundred shots on net; this value is fairly high but we would need to know more about the type and location of shots he is driving to see whether or not the value is sustainable.
Kyle Connor is the leading shot producer, so it is not surprising to see that he is the next highest goal per game producing forward on the Moose after DeSalvo.
The biggest surprise in the list would be Lipon. Lipon is putting nearly as many pucks on net as Connor, Roslovic, and Chase De Leo, despite being one of the team’s lowest scorers. Lipon is pacing about five goals, or eight primary points, per a hundred shots on net; this is less than half the pace of those with similar shot production.
As a statistical analyst for a team working on player development, there would be a two things I would investigate given this information.
I would look at the type and location of shots Lipon is taking. There is skill in garnering the opportunity to produce shots at Lipon’s level. With minor tweaking and coaching, Lipon could become a more effective player overall.
There’s a lot that has to go right for Lipon to get into the situations often enough that he has the puck and the opportunity to put the puck on net, so adjusting his decision making could be a minor change with a large impact. At 23 years of age, Lipon is already nearing the typical peak of a player’s development curve.
The other thing I would look at is linemates. There is a chance that Lipon is overly playing with the Moose’s weakest forwards. Being forced to do too much himself could end up with Lipon taking a large amount of low percentage shots due to being out of alternative options.
We see a lot more variance between goals, primary assists, and secondary assists between defenders than we did with forwards.
Brenden Kichton has yet to score a goal despite being the second highest point per game scorer on the team. On the opposite end of the spectrum we see that Julian Melchiori has yet to produce a secondary assist.
Defenders are a bit different than forwards. Secondary assists are still relatively more susceptible to variance impacts, but they do tell you more about a defender’s offensive value than they did with forwards.
For this reason, a defender’s secondary assists play a relatively larger role than they did with forwards when adjusting for their production value.
The state of the Winnipeg Jets’ defensive prospect cupboards is really quite sad. Only Nelson Nogier and Jan Kostalek are in their prime development ages where we can hope to produce significant gains on their overall ability. The remaining defenders here are either 24-years-old or older.
The one thing we need to keep in mind with shot volume is that a large percentage of it for defenders will be driven by their usage, or lack thereof, on the power play.
Everything we discussed earlier about JC Lipon previously could be applied to Julien Melchiori. The only difference is that Melchiori is less likely to make significant gains being a relatively older player.
From my experience as a consultant with working with developing players, there is a two step process in using numbers to make skaters more effective hockey players.
If a player is not producing points, you start by looking at their shot volume. If they are not producing shots, then you need to look at developing and improving a player in areas that will allow them to generate relatively more shots than they were before. This is not simply telling a player to shoot more. Rather, this is looking at areas like a player’s transition game in zone exits and entries to help them produce more opportunities to shoot. A player can also be further improved by assisting them in understanding when they should shoot versus pass to an alternative option or chip it into a release point.
If the player is not producing points but producing shots, then you look at their shot choices and also pass production. Where a player shoots from, where on the net a player lands their shots, and what type of shot they take will influence the likelihood a player will generate points from their chances.
These would be things I would advise the Jets to do with their younger defensive players, like Nogier and Kostalek, who have limited upside but the Jets would likely wish to maximize that limited potential.
MORE FROM GARRET
- Jets have holes to fill at forward
- Jets have holes to fill on the blue line
- Where do the Jets skaters rank among the NHL
- Jets should start taking chances on players like Mark Barberio
- Trouba is developing into an elite defender
- Moose identify an organizational weakness for the Jets
- Jets struggles in net
- Armia-Lowry-Matthias have been really good
- The Jets’ performance at even-strength
- Despite recent struggles, Hellebuyck’s career has been really good