I read a good post today at Arctic Hockey by Tim Bonnar, talking about what he perceives as being the problem with the Jets. Here’s his conclusion:
On the ice, the reason that the Winnipeg Jets continue to pile up losses is because their bottom six forwards and bottom end D men are horrible. The Jets 3rd line features a player (Matt Halischuk) that is playing for league minimum salary on a 2-way contract. A bottom feeder that plays in the same division as the Jets let him go when he was available for league minimum dollars. They didn’t want him playing on their 4th line and he plays on the Jets 3rd line. Meanwhile the Jets fourth line is comprised of being worse than Matt Halischuk. This is why the Jets are where they are.
The Jets problem is that their depth players are deplorable. James Wright, Eric Tangradi, Chris Thorburn, Matt Halischuk, Anthony Peluso and John Albert are at best 4th line NHLers – none of them are above an assignment to the AHL – yet they all dressing for the Jets regularly. On the back end, everybody who plays with Mark Stuart enters a black hole of Corsi. Their numbers go from OK to some of the worst in the entire NHL.
I fooled around with something a little bit this summer that I didn’t end up publishing. If we assume that the coach uses his best players the most, we would expect that the Corsi% for when the most heavily used defenceman and the most heavily used forward are on the ice to be the highest on the team, barring something really unusual – a defenceman who plays exclusively in the defensive zone or something.
Given Bonnar’s conclusion, I thought it might be neat to whip something like this up for the Jets. This is 5v5 Corsi% for a given F/D combination on the ice (min. 10 GP and min. 60 min. of TOI together):
If my theory’s right, things should get worse as we move from more frequently used to less frequently used players. Looking at this, it seems to hold up pretty well – the Jets look pretty good with Byfuglien and a top six forward on the ice (although we’d need to construct league wide tables to know whether they’re good relative to other 1D/1F etc. combos, which we would probably expect to be above 50%).
There’s a blue band that runs horizontally across the table once you get past the top six and then the bottom three defencemen look pretty bad too. On balance, I’d say that this supports the point that Bonnar was making. More importantly, there’s an idea here that can be fleshed out in a way that provides a better look at hockey teams. If someone created the comparator that I’m talking about, you’d then have a great tool that you could use for a quick and dirty look into where a team is excelling or falling short.Email Tyler Dellow at firstname.lastname@example.org