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: Marko Dano.
Dano may have only scored eleven points but he did so with very little ice time. With only 38 games played and most of them spent on the fourth line, Dano only dressed for about 400 minutes, with about 340 being at even strength. To compare, Adam Lowry dressed for 1300 minutes, Joel Armia dressed for 860 minutes, and Andrew Copp dressed for 790 minutes.
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.
The largest issue with the above GAR graph is that it looks at a player’s aggregate contributions, ignoring ice time. Looking at the above graph, we’d assume Lowry as the Jets best bottom-six even strength forward with his 4.4 even strength GAR (combining EV Offense and EV Defense). Copp would come next with 2.0, then Armia at 1.9, and Dano at 1.7. However, Lowry skated for 934 even strength minutes compared to Dano’s 343. We adjust for ice time and we see Dano gave the Jets 0.30 GAR per hour of ice time, with Lowry at 0.28, Copp at 0.22, and Armia at 0.17.
Dano gave the Jets the least value of those four forwards, but he gave the most amount of value for the amount he was used.
The advance statistic breakdown of Dano looks a lot like Andrew Copp, except slightly better.
Dano had a slightly better general impact on his linemates in terms of shot differentials. The Jets were slightly better with him on the bench than on the ice, but his linemates were typically even worse in those situations. Dano also put up a point per 60 minute pace above the third line forward average.
Just like Postma in our last Pilot’s Logbook, Dano was severely undervalued and under used by the Winnipeg Jets.
Visual is for minutes played in 2015-16 and 2016-17 combined.
Microstatistics provide a window into the actions that players take that create the results they do in the previous sections. They allow us to see why Dano performs in the manner he does.
The graph tells us a bit about Dano stylistic offensive performance; his largest contributions are in building up play and dangerous shots. Dano likes to work the cycle and then sneak in front of the net for a pass. He’s oddly skilled at it and it is his IQ that allows him to consistently garner strong results without being a player that will wow you with finesse or skill.
Dano wasn’t a strong puck mover from the defensive zone. He was adequately better than Brandon Tanev, Shawn Matthias, Drew Stafford, or Chris Thorburn, but that’s a low bar to jump over. The same was true in Dano’s efficiency in gaining the offensive zone at the other end of the ice. Where Dano performed well was the number of shots generated from these entries. When the Jets got into the offensive zone with Dano, they stayed there for sustained pressure and multiple shots.
Please support Corey Sznajder (@ShutDownLine) for his contributions in manually tracking microstatistics. He has a Patreon page where you can make a donation for his tireless work supporting the community. Also, give Ryan Stimson (@RK_Stimp) a follow.
I’ve talked about the Jets hopefully better utilizing and deploying their bottom-six forwards next season a lot over the duration of this series. Marko Dano is an excellent piece for this.
He is both physical and gritty enough that he can play on the fourth line with players like Copp, Lowry, Matthias, and Armia. A fourth line that could be trusted to eat minutes, get the puck deep, gain control in the offensive zone, maintain the cycle, and have Dano finish for some supportive secondary scoring.
He is also strong enough point producer to help a skilled third line, provided that that he’s not leaned on to be the primary transitional or set-up forward. The Jets should be fine with skilled forwards like Nic Petan, Kyle Connor, and Jack Roslovic for that type of role.
All numbers courtesy of Corsica.hockey, @ShutdownLine, or @DTMAboutHeart unless otherwise noted. Please follow them all.
This series was intended to be a Monday/Wednesday/Friday post, but with unforeseen circumstances, I will be accelerating posts and changing the schedule to be Monday-Friday posts for the duration of the series.