Photo Credit: © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Flight Recorder: A Weekly Review of the Jets Advanced Stats

Hockey at the end of the day is all about wins and losses, but how a team gets those wins and loses can give us an idea of future performance. I will be doing a weekly look at the Jet’s 5vs5 offense, defense and their special teams play.

The Basics – What You Need To Know

Before I go into this week’s breakdown, here is a refresher on the types of numbers we’ll be using.

All stats are adjusted for game state and venue. I like using adjusted stats because it helps to account for game flow and home ice advantage.

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Here is a brief breakdown of some of the underlying stats that I find are a helpful addition to watching the game in evaluating team play:

CF60/CA60– All shot attempts (Corsi) for and against per hour.
FF60/FA60– All unblocked shot attempts (Fenwick) for and against per hour.
SF60/SA60– All shots on net per hour
xGF60/xGA60– All expected goals for and against per hour. Expected goals are like a super corsi. It is all shot attempts but they are weighted by their likelihood of ending up as goals.
Fsh%– Percentage of unblocked shots taken by a team that are goals.
xFsh%– The expected shooting percentage of the team.
Fsv%– Percentage of unblocked shots taken against the team that are saves.
xFsv%– Expected save percentage of unblocked shot against the team.

If you have any questions about any of these terms, or advanced and adjusted stats in general, feel free to ask in the comments below or reach out to us on Twitter either through JetsNation or myself.

All stats are provided by our friends over at Corsica.hockey.

Now, on to a review of this past week..

5vs5 Offensive Play

The Narrative:

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The Winnipeg Jets are a very talented offensive team and have scored 2.0 goals a game at 5vs5 which ranks 14th in the NHL.

The Underlying Stats:

CF60 FF60 SF60 xGF60 xFsh% Fsh%
Rate  43.92 32.15 25.27 1.81 5.63 7.19
Rank 29th 31st 28th 29th 21st 10th

The numbers suggest that the Jets seem to have trouble generating both shot volume and shot quality ranking near the bottom in virtually every category. So how are the Jets ranking in the middle of the NHL pack in scoring goals? They have shot the puck well so far this season which you can see by Fsh% – an indication that opposing goalies have had a tough time stopping shots that the Jets have taken.

What I See:

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The Jets have struggled on offense so far into this young season, but their individual shooting talent has kept them afloat. They dump the puck in far too often and seem to value offensive zone time over shot volume. They have also received zero production from their bottom six forward group. Lastly, the defensive system they are currently running seems to hurt their ability to transition to offense (more on that in my defensively breakdown).

5vs5 Defensive Play

The Narrative:

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The Jets are a poor defending team and give up far too many goals and chances. On the year so far, the Jets have given up 2.6 goals a game at 5vs5 which puts them at 29th in the NHL.

The Underlying Stats:

CA60 FA60 SA60 xGA60 xFsv% Fsv%
Rate  51.02 36.79 28.8 2.13 94.22 91.71
Rank 19th 10th 20th 12th 13th 27th

The defensive numbers actually don’t look that bad, but few things stand out. First, the Jets will give up shot volume but exchange that for a focus on limiting shot quality. Second, they block a lot of shots. Third, the  Jets goaltending hasn’t been good and it doesn’t look like it’s a quality of shot issue considering they are 14th in the league in xFsv%.

What I See:

When I look at those numbers and watch the game there is a disconnect. I don’t think the Jets are a bad defending team, I think it’s a case of the Jets defending far too much.

The Jets play a man to man/zone hybrid system in their half of the ice and collapse to the front of the net. This concerns me on two fronts. The first is that trying to keep everything to the outside (along the boards and at the blue line) gives teams so much zone time and space. Teams are far too talented and they will make you pay in due time. The second concern is that the Jets roster is just not designed to wait (and wait, and wait) until a puck battle is created and then hope to win the 1 on 1 puck battle to regain possession. Teams have already adjusted to this strategy and send player support right away to create a puck battle in their favor with little risk knowing the rest of the Jets are collapsing to the crease.

The last concern over the Jets defense is about the transition game. Transition starts with the breakout and puck support on those breakouts, but the Jets have really struggled with the puck support side of things. Second is how passive the Jets are at defending their own blueline. They are more than happy to push teams to the outside and give up controlled zone entries. This has hurt the Jets transition offense and lead to teams getting even more zone time.

The Power Play

The Narrative:

Jets PP is running at 17.4% and is 17th in the NHL which is ok, but needs to improve.

The Underlying Stats:

CF60 FF60 SF60 xGF60 xFsh% Fsh%
Rate  55.15 42.08 36.73 2.6 6.18 5.19
Rank 10th 11th 3rd 17th 22th 18th

Here, the Jets seem to favor shot volume over quality and have been a little unlucky shooting the puck.

What I See:

The Jets like to load up the big bomb from the point and have tried to force the big one timer a little too much so far this season. Moving the set up to below the goal line would help open up shooting lanes for the one timers they are looking for.

The Penalty Kill

The Narrative:

The Jets are flat out bad on the PK running at 72% which is the worst in the NHL sitting at 31st overall.

The underlying Stats:

CA60 FA60 SA60 xGA60 xFsv% Fsv%
Rate  64.98 53.79 46.34 4.28 92.05 92.88
Rank 30th 30th 31th 31th 28th 23th

Sometimes the narrative is either wrong, or is correct but with a few caveats. In this case, the narrative is not wrong at all. The Jets are the worst team in the league killing penalties and have been lucky that their goaltending has been ok.

What I See:

It’s ugly. The Jets seem to be playing a super passive penalty kill where they just collapse to the crease and pray the puck hits them.

Final Word:

Jets have a lot of issues to address if they want to make the playoffs. The good news is it’s still really early and at a record of 4-3 they’ve managed to do fairly well despite the issues. They set to have a good year if they can clean up some of their problems defending and in the transition game.

  • FishWhiskey

    Spot on TONYD. A fine piece of research, analysis and writing. The analytics were well balanced with “eye ball test” analysis…. Well done sir and I look forward to reading more of your fine work.

    Poor Paul Maurice. He has the best systems in the NHL. Just can’t get players who are talented, smart and gritty enough to execute them, eh? Well keep on trying Paul. You will get all those square pegs into those round holes someday. How does that definition of insanity go again? Something about repeating the same actions over and over and expecting a different result?

  • Skallagrimson

    Very nice work! Keep them coming.
    When you have time an analysis of zone entries would be nice. The eye test says Elhers & 55 must be killing it, the rest of them not so much.

  • Dr. Rocktopus

    Well done! Well researched, well written. Thumbs up.

    Your analysis of the numbers coupled with your observations from the games outline a fundamental disconnect that I have been trying to put my finger on for some time. The Jets certainly do value their ability to suppress high-danger chances against – I have heard PoMo discuss this many times. As you rightly point out, this has the side effect of increasing O-Zone time for the opposing team. Yet on the attack, as you say, I too have observed that the Jets seem to emphasize O-Zone time over shot volume. So the fundamental problem, as I see it, is that their O-Zone strategy is the inverse of their D-Zone strategy. I find this very confusing. When defending, they seem content to allow the opposing team to take their time in the zone, moving the puck around the perimeter, and essentially wait for their chance to score. But on Offence, their strategy is essentially to do the thing that they *prefer* the opposing team do to them, i.e. to move the puck around the perimeter and wait for their opportunities. But if they defend this way on the basis that it will reduce high-quality chances against, does this not have the same effect on their own attack?

    Sorry that was convoluted, as I say, I find this rather confusing. I would appreciate anyone able to explain this situation to me in clearer terms, or who can offer further explanation as to what’s going on on the strategic level.

  • Great article. I totally agree that this team is far to passive in allowing their opponents entree into their zone. They back up past the slot which should be changed asap. Also too passive in their own end 5 on 5 and on the penalty kill. This team has implemented this same so called system of play for the past 2 years with little positive results. Why Maurice and his staff hasn’t addressed this is beyond me. If no change is made in these so call systems or philosophies they will struggle to make the playoffs yet again.

  • Travis

    The penalty kill is bad, but not mentioned is the fact that the Jets are actually the 4th best team in the leauge right now when it comes to NOT taking penalties (Penalites in Minutes per game). And also, part of the reason the PK has been so terrible is a certain netminder with an abysmal save percentage.

    • tonyd

      Every single PK metric we have says the jets are bad on the PK. Goaltending has actually been a little better than expected on the PK as well. Goaltending on the PK is not the issue.

  • Jets55

    Great article. Maurice’s use of players based on some thing other than results is exceptional frustrating. With most teams going top 9 we seem to be stuck in the past of the top 6 bottom 6 thinking. Look at what Pittsburgh did by splitting up 87/71/81. The “third” line HBK was a force on the road to their 1st of the 2 cups. Imagine if the jets split up Maruice’s top 6 into pairs and spread them over 3 lines:

    Could you imagine the damage that “3rd” line could do against other 3rd lines and d pairings without having to worry as much about defending? 40 and 19 could also be swapped out for 56 or even 48. It would be nice to see what some of the underused more talented ” bottom sixers” could do with more time with higher end talent, and keep the lines together for more than a period….lol