How the Jets are being used

WINNIPEG, CANADA - OCTOBER 22: Jim Slater #19 of the Winnipeg Jets lies on the ice after being hit by Brandon Sutter #16 of the Carolina Hurricanes in NHL action at the MTS Centre on October 22, 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

Let's take a quick look at the OZQoC charts for the Winnipeg Jets, which tells us at a glance how their players are being used.

On the x-axis is the Offensive Zone starts in reverse order, so those on the right are starting mostly in the defensive zone.  The y-axis has the Quality of Competition, so those at the top are being matched up against their opponent's top lines.

First let's look at the forwards.  The close a player is the top right, the tougher their jobs have been, and the sheltered players in whom the coaches have the least confidence are tucked in the lower left.

Ozqocforwards_medium 

If you ignore Brett MacLean (small sample size), coach Noel has given Jim Slater the toughest job, starting in the offensive zone under 30% of the time - about as low as it gets, and against top opposition - usually with Chris Thorburn and Tanner Glass (one of whom is dealing with the tough ice-time far better than the other!).  

Blake Wheeler, Tim Stapleton and 18-year-old rookie Mark Scheifele have fortunately only had to line up against third and fourth lines, and generally in the offensive zone, but they only have 1 even-strength goal between them to show for it.

Everyone else seems to be thrown into a pile and rotated roughly equally competition-wise, but their leading goal scorer Evander Kane is enjoying far more time in the offensive zone than Kyle Wellwood or Bryan Little.

Let's look at the defensemen.

Ozqocdefense_medium

If you once again ignore Brett Festerling's small sample size, you don't see the same skew among forwards (zone starts between 30% and 70%) among the defensemen, all of whom are in a tight band from 50% to 56%.  

The distinguishing factor is therefore in the Quality of the Competition.  Tobias Enstrom is facing the top opponents, and 2nd to Alexander Burmistrov in +/-.   After that, Zach Bogosian is getting a slightly tougher job than Mark Stuart and Dustin Byfuglien, who is 2nd last to Chris Thorburn at -6.  The others (Mark Flood, Randy Jones and Johnny Oduya) are being slightly protected by Coach Noel.

As we approach the one-quarter mark of the season that's how the players are being used.  Keep that in mind to place all other analysis in proper context.

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