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: Julian Melchiori.
Another low scoring defender for the Jets, Melchiori only put up two points in his eighteen games. His shot production was actually fairly impressive for a defender without any power play ice time. Interestingly Melchiori put up 89 shots in 40 games in the AHL this season. This shows how being a high volume shooter does not always translate to being a good shot differential or scoring forward.
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.
Melchiori’s value according to GAR sat exactly at replacement level. He provided no value through even strength or power play. He was able to avoid taking penalties but did not draw any either.
At a first glance, looking at Melchiori’s raw shot differentials and relative metrics, the defender looks like he did a fairly good job. When we look more in-depth, we see a bit of a different story. For the most part Melchiori played with Dustin Byfuglien, a fairly good 5-on-5 defenseman.
We see that Melchiori without Byfuglien put up quite the ugly numbers, something we’d expect of a replacement level (or worse) defender.
Microstatistics provide a window into the actions that players take that create the results they do in the previous sections.
Corey Sznajder (@ShutDownLine) has been busy tracking games. At this current point Sznajder has tracked over half of the Jets’ season, but unfortunately only five of Melchiori’s 18 games so far, four beside Ben Chiarot and one beside Byfuglien.
Melchiori’s transitional numbers are essentially non-existent. He has one dump-in play that attributed to zero shots on net. That’s less offensive zone transition than even Nelson Nogier has attributed in the one game we have tracked thus far.
He has controlled the puck 23 times in the defensive zone with the team’s lowest percentage of these touches being defensive zone exits. Only Chris Thorburn sits worse than Melchiori in the percentage of zone exits being in control. With 23 puck touches, Melchiori has zero carry exits, six pass exits, five dumps, four clears, seven failures, and one icing. When pressured he’s cleared once and ten turnovers.
Even defensively Melchiori has struggled. He has only been tracked as targeted 18 times, but has a team high 72 per cent in allowing the opposition gain the offensive zone. Melchiori also has a team high 46.2 per cent in allowing these carry-ins to produce a successful pass.
Please support @ShutDownLine for his contributions in manually tracking microstatistics.
Melchiori, like Mark Stuart, Nelson Nogier, and Brian Strait, were non-NHL calibre defenders who played for the Jets due injuries and a lack of true defensive depth in the farm.
There is some hope of depth in the horizon with Sami Niku, Tucker Poolman, Luke Green, and even Logan Stanley. That said, the team is a far cry from carrying Paul Postma, Arturs Kulda, and Zach Redmond on the farm team. While the Jets’ organization has improved the team’s prospect cupboards in many areas, defense is an area that may have regressed outside of the team’s top five.
All numbers courtesy of Corsica.hockey, @ShutdownLine, or @DTMAboutHeart unless otherwise noted. Please follow them all.