Jets Comparables

OTTAWA - NOVEMBER 09: Andrew Ladd #16 of the Atlanta Thrashers celebrates his goal with teammates Nik Antropov #80 and Dustin Byfuglien #33 while Daniel Alfredsson #11 of the Ottawa Senators skates away dejectedly during a game at Scotiabank Place on November 9 2010 in Ottawa Ontario Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

Jets Comparables


Every Monday we'll be using the Snepsts System to search the NHL's history for players with comparable era-adjusted statistics to today's Jets, and featuring the analysis here at Arctic Ice Hockey. A description and example of the methodology can be found on Hockey Prospectus. To see how this worked for the Calgary Flames last season, visit Flames Nation.


Andrew Ladd, LW


Andrew Ladd, a 4th overall selection by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2004, is the new Winnipeg Jets captain, and an excellent place to begin our journey.

The big winger had a huge 2010-11 season, scoring 29 goals after setting a five-season career high of 17 with Chicago the previous season. Ladd, who turns 26 this December, is a two-time Stanley Cup winner, and has scored 61 goals and 146 points while missing only one game in the past three seasons.


Age Player Season GP G A Pts
25 Eddy Beers 1984-85 74 20 29 49
28 Ted Donato 1997-98 79 17 24 41
24 Dave Creighton 1954-55 63 10 9 19
26 Alan Haworth 1986-87 50 19 12 31
26 Tom Williams 1977-78 58 12 19 31
28 Dustin Penner 2010-11 81 23 22 45
28 John Sorrell 1933-34 47 24 17 41
24 Rick Tocchet 1988-89 70 18 14 32
25 Sergei Krivokrasov 1999-00 75 10 27 37
25 Tony McKegney 1983-84 75 17 19 36


GP G A Pts
VUKOTA 74 23 28 51
Worst (Creighton) 82 13 12 25
Best (Sorrell) 82 42 30 72
Average 82 23 25 48


Given his 59 points last season, this is where you're supposed to say "23 goals and 48 points for Andrew Ladd? This Snepsts System is stupid!" - but I'm actually glad this came up right away.


The Snepsts System dispassionately searches history for players with similar era-adjusted statistics to our target players, and tells us how they did the following season. There are obviously a great number of reasons why a player would find themselves with similar statistics to any particular player, which is why this approach is commonly used to start the discussion, not to end it.


In Ladd's case, his big jump in scoring was a consequence of being promoted from playing 13-14 minutes per game on Chicago's depth lines, to playing 20 minutes a game on Atlanta's top unit - which was clearly not the case with many of these historical comparables. Making the incredibly safe assumption that will remain the case this season, his scoring should be at the upper end of this list of historical comparables.


While it's hard to imagine that data from the 1930s would be at all useful to evaluate Ladd, "Long John" Sorrell's jump in scoring was also due to a promotion to the top lines, making 72 points a reasonable high-water mark for Ladd this season, and likely more accurate than the 25-point low end. In all 98 historical matches, there were three others who scored even higher than John Sorrell, and about 20 more that were close, so there's certainly adequate precedent for a 70 point season.


On the other hand, even the VUKOTA projection system pulls Ladd down to 51 points, so it's not only history trying to make us aware of a potential step back. In all, his 98 historical matches averaged roughly the same as our ten-man sample group - 22 goals and 27 assists for 49 points.


For most of the comparables on our list, whatever scoring brought them up, quickly brought them down again. As a more recent example, Edmonton's powerful left-winger and Stanley Cup champion Dustin Penner jumped up to 32 goals and 63 points from his usual 37-47 points, only to retreat right back down to 45 last season.


In any event, if the expectation is 48-51 points, we'll obviously take the over.


Nik Antropov, C


The giant Nik Antropov, also a first-round selection - 10th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1998, turned 31 in February, and is looking to bounce back from 15 goals and 40 points after three straight 20-goal seasons, including a career-high 67 points for Atlanta in 2009-10, when he finished 4th in the league with a 19.0% shooting percentage.


Age Player Season GP G A Pts
32 Pit Martin 1975-76 80 26 33 59
29 Jason Williams 2009-10 44 6 9 15
29 Ron Duguay 1986-87 74 10 19 29
33 Shayne Corson 1999-00 70 8 20 28
31 Dirk Graham 1990-91 80 19 17 36
30 Yvon Lambert 1980-81 73 16 24 40
31 Mikael Renberg 2003-04 59 13 14 27
30 Brent Ashton 1990-91 61 9 19 28
32 Butch Goring 1981-82 67 10 12 22
31 Dmitri Khristich 2000-01 70 13 25 38


GP G A Pts
VUKOTA 64 16 26 42
Worst (Goring) 76 12 14 26
Best (Martin) 76 24 31 55
Average 76 14 21 35


Unfortunately for Antropov, a drop-off like his last season has often signaled a permanent drop in scoring. In all there were 105 historical matches, averaging 16 goals and 24 assists for 40 points in 76 games. While he's likely to enjoy lots of opportunities both at even-strength and with the man advantage in Winnipeg, odds are he has become more of a 35-40 point player.


If Antropov can stay healthy (he has played 76 games in each of the past two seasons), the Vukota system, and two of the comparables (Pit Martin and Dirk Graham) put him within striking distance of 20 goals and 50 points, but unfortunately there doesn't appear to be a great deal of historical basis for another 67 point season.


In Antropov's case, if the expectation is 35-40 points, we'll still take the over.


Next Week


Next week we'll look at Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom. Until then, I'll be happy to answer any questions about the system, and look forward to any comments you have about these comparables.


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