Jets Comparables VI: The Blue Line

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.

 

Over the past couple of weeks we've looked at Andrew Ladd, Nik Antropov, Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Bryan Little, Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler, Eric Fehr and Chris Thorburn. This week, we'll take a wide paint brush to the other defensemen of primary consequence, Ron Hainsey, the unsigned Zach Bogosian, Johnny Oduya, Mark Stuart and Randy Jones.

 

Ron Hainsey

 

Ron Hainsey has led two different teams in defensemen scoring. Let's just stop right there rather than point out which teams they were – no need to spoil the achievement.

 

For three straight seasons 2006-07 to 2008-09 Hainsey topped 30 points, but has been on a slide ever since, from 26 in 2009-10 to 19 last season, when he also lost over 4 minutes of playing time. Now he's 30 – any chance he bounce back up?

 

Vukota 66 4 15 19

Snepsts 66 3 13 16

17 matches, closest comparable: Doug Jarrett, 1973-74

 

Vukota has him down for 66 games, despite his missing just 7 in the past 5 seasons.

 

There are two promising historical comparables among the 17 close matches, Grant Ledyard, who had an era-adjusted 39 points in 1993-94, and Jason York's 37 in 1998-99. Otherwise the point totals are like a Justin Bieber concert: nothing but a sea of teens.

 

Zach Bogosian

 

Zach Bogosian, the 3rd overall pick in 2008, right after Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty, and before Alex Pieterangelo, Luke Schenn and Nikita Filatov, scored 19 points in 47 games as an 18-year-old in 2008-09. Since then he scored 40 points in 152 games, playing 22 minutes of tough ice-time a game, resulting in a combined -45.

 

Is he really a 20-point defenseman, or at 21 is he poised to break out?

 

Vukota 67 8 18 26

Snepsts 67 9 15 24

6 matches, closest comparable: Bucko McDonald, 1937-38

 

I know just what you thought when you first saw Zach Bogosian play - “Hey, he's just like Bucko McDonald!” I searched deeper through Bogosian's historical comparables to find something either more meaningful or more promising, but there's obviously not a lot of useful data for 20-year-olds. Nevertheless, 30 points seems a reasonable target if he's healthy.

 

Johnny Oduya

 

Originally a 7th round pick, Oduya was acquired in the Kovalchuk deal. He scored 26 and 29 points in his final two seasons in New Jersey, but just 13 and 17 in the two seasons since. At age 30, and on a team with more promising offensive options, Oduya's probably going to remain in a low-scoring defensive role.

 

Vukota 64 3 12 15

Snepsts 64 2 10 12

6 matches, closest comparable: Bill Hajt, 1981-82

 

If it means anything, Johnny Oduya's closet comparables included a number of tight defensive-minded defensemen, like Mike Ramsey and Rod Langway. Snepsts doesn't take anything defensive into account, so it's likely just a coincidence, but an interesting one nonetheless.

 

Mark Stuart

 

Acquired in the Blake Wheeler/Rich Peverley deal, I'm sure Stuart was thrilled to miss out on the Stanley Cup run in order to score 1 point playing 23 games on Atlanta's depth line. Other than a 17-point, +20 season on the statistically fascinating 2008-09 Bruin season, Stuart's career high is 8 points in 82 games.

 

Vukota 51 2 6 8

Snepsts 51 2 5 7

4 matches, closest comparable: Jassen Cullimore, 1998-99

 

We regret that we couldn't put an end to the endless “will Stuart score 7 points or 8 debate.”

 

Randy Jones

 

Randy Jones, from Quispamsis, New Brunswick, scored 31 points in 71 games for Philadelphia in 2007-08. Having scored 22 points in 66 games the season before, his career appeared to be on a promising arc.

 

Unfortunately, as what happens to a lot of defensemen that show a brief glimpse of greatness, Jones signed a deal so hefty that the Flyers had to hide it in the AHL when he began to slump. He did score 21 points in 48 games with Los Angeles the next year, but just 13 in 61 for Tampa Bay last year.

 

Now 30 years old, and reasonably priced, Jones may have one last chance to achieve his potential (whatever that may be).

 

Vukota 55 3 12 15

Snepsts 55 2 12 14

2 matches, closest comparable: Dollard St. Laurent, 1957-58

 

Dollard St. Laurent is an interesting match, for it was the 1957-58 season where, at age 28, he jumped to 23 points after a seven-season career that peaked at 17. He was then dealt to Chicago where he played four more seasons in the 12-19 point range.

 

Next week

 

We'll take look at Winnipeg's secondary forwards with enough data for Snepsts: Jim Slater and Tanner Glass, and use an alternate system for Alexander Burmistrov.

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