The Winnipeg Jets’ 2016-2017 disappointing season finally ended. While the extent of disappointment may be subjective from individual-to-individual dependent on expectations, fans without a single franchise playoff win prefer their seasons to carry some post-season excitement.
So, what went wrong? What went well? How do the Jets measure up against their competition? Which areas actually require improvement relative to others?
If your car breaks down, you need to know what is wrong with it prior to dropping cash to fix it. With that in mind, we continue our in-depth investigation on the Jets’ performance breaking down the team player-by-player from worst-to-best according to statistical impact, with some adjustments made by my own, personal analysis.
Up next: Alex Burmistrov.
There was a lot of hope that the Jets had regained a free skilled player with the return of Alexander Burmistrov from the KHL.
Unfortunately the team didn’t really receive anything from the 25-year-old Russian.
Burmistrov only put up two points, with only one at even strength, over his 23 games as a Jet. Some of the poor production came from unlucky percentages, as seen by Burmistrov putting up fourteen points, nine at even strength, over a similar number of games in Arizona.
Goals Above Replacement
Goals Above Replacement data courtesy of @DTMAboutHeart.
Goals Above Replacement (GAR) combines multiple statistics in terms of one currency, allowing one to estimate a player’s overall impact. It is imperfect, as it combines many imperfect statistics, but it is also a severely useful tool.
Burmistrov was another poor performer in GAR, although it was not always the case. In 2011-12 Burmistrov contributed 0.11 goals per 60 minutes over replacement level for even strength situations. This season he was the complete polar opposite, with -0.11 goals per 60 minutes.
The 6’1 forward typically struggled in offense but made up for it in his defensive value. This year was not the case. It is interesting how Thorburn put up the defensive impact that Burmistrov typically would put up and vice versa.
|TOI||CORSI%||REL CORSI%||XGF%||REL XGF%||G/60||A/60||P/60|
Burmistrov struggled last year. He seemed to do better by the counting numbers and the eye-test to many individuals in Arizona over Winnipeg. The underlying numbers seem to match, although they suggest his performance was more along the lines of relatively “less worse” than good.
Could Burmistrov return to his 2011-12 form in Arizona? Will he return to Russia and the KHL?
Microstatistics provide a window into the actions that players take that create the results they do in the previous sections. These statistics suggest Burmistrov still provides the team value, given the right situation, unlike a Mark Stuart or Chris Thorburn.
The easiest way to describe Burmistrov would be that to a defensive midfielder, or a puck-moving defender who isn’t playing defense. He plays well in the defensive zone, prevent high-quality chances against, while efficiently helping transition the puck from the defensive to the offensive zone… but that’s about it.
He generates some pass volume, even some primary shot assists, but he will not create much offense. He’s dependent on linemates to create for him, thus limiting his effectiveness. This is why he worked so well with players like Evander Kane, Kyle Wellwood, Mathieu Perreault, Blake Wheeler, Marko Dano, Mike Santorelli, Tim Stapleton, and Alexei Ponikarovsky, but sunk with many others.
Burmistrov was one of the Jets best forwards in terms of getting the puck effectively out of the defensive zone. With 72 puck touches tracked thus far, we’ve seen Burmistrov exit the zone and the Jets gain the offensive zone 57% of the time, second to only Nikolaj Ehlers. Only Petan had a higher percentage of defensive zone touches become exits and only Ehlers had a higher percentage become possession exits.
In terms of entries, Burmistrov was about average, if just a bit below. About 50% of his entries were with possession and he was second only to Scheifele in getting a pass off after each entry.
Please support @ShutDownLine for his contributions in manually tracking microstatistics.
I criticised the Winnipeg Jets’ management and coaching group a lot for Thorburn and Stuart in the last two posts, and for good reason. However, it’s not just because they turned out bad, but rather they were poor process decisions… Burmistrov was different.
Burmistrov was a former 8th overall pick (although statistics suggest he was taken too early) who had a lot of skill and showcased some offensive upside in rare situations. He was young, cost no assets to reacquire, and took up the same salary cap space as Thorburn.
Acquiring Burmistrov was the right process without the right results. True North made the right move, but unfortunately the right move does not always result in the optimal returns. The one thing we can hope is that the outcomes do not sway them from making the right decision again in similar circumstances.
All numbers courtesy of Corsica.hockey, @ShutdownLine, or @DTMAboutHeart unless otherwise noted.