Blame Game: Who Killed the Winnipeg Jets Penalty Kill?

Greg Fiume

Despite their reputations as shut down players, Jim Slater and Mark Stuart didn't do much for the Winnipeg Jets penalty kill. In fact, they made it worse.

It has been a while, but you may recall the series we ran on Winnipeg Jets penalty kill effectiveness or lack thereof. We all know the penalty kill was bad, but why it was bad is a bit of an unknown. Was it related to the system, or is it as simple as who was out there? If so, can we pinpoint the problem?

Maybe! So let’s play the blame game!

In the previous posts we speculated that some players may have dragged down the numbers of others, so let’s take a look at how the Jets top PK forwards and defenders have performed over the last five years and add a little clarity.

Note: Statistically, shot totals have been proven to be more repeatable than goal totals as they rely less on chance, but scoring and preventing goals are the aim of players. Therefore, it will also be included in this analysis.

In order to remove small samples, this analysis will be limited to players who played twenty games or more. Also, the averages were calculated based on season totals, they aren’t based on TOI.

Defensemen

As we saw in the analysis of the 2011-12 season, Mark Stuart and Ron Hainsey dragged down the Jets penalty kill from a statistical perspective. They allowed a lot of shots and a lot of goal against. Tobias Enstrom wasn’t great either, but his role was more limited. Let’s compare their 2011-12 production to what they've done previously in their careers.

Zach Bogosian

SEASON

NAME

TEAM

TOI/60

GF On/60

GA On/60

SF On/60

SA On/60

2011-2012 Season

ZACHBOGOSIAN

WPG

2.85

0.65

7.12

9.1

43

2010-2011 Season

ZACHBOGOSIAN

ATL

1.96

0.43

7.75

12.9

44.3

2009-2010 Season

ZACHBOGOSIAN

ATL

2.09

1.77

6.39

8.5

50

2008-2009 Season

ZACHBOGOSIAN

ATL

1.39

3.67

5.5

12.8

41.3

Average

2.0725

1.63

6.69

10.825

44.65

Notes:

  • Bogo played big minutes last year and he had one of his best statistical campaigns. The future appears to be bright with this one.
  • Aside from a bit of a blip in his sophomore season, Bogo have had pretty good career numbers.
  • The shots for per 60 to totals have been pretty dang solid with Bogo on the ice. That indicates his effectiveness at clearing the puck out of the defensive zone.
  • Holy crap, look at the goals for per 60 minutes from 2008-09! The goals for / against ratio was pretty impressive that year. Obviously, that shouldn't be expected regularly, but Wow!

Mark Stuart

SEASON

NAME

TEAM

TOI/60

GF On/60

GA On/60

SF On/60

SA On/60

2011-2012 Season

MARKSTUART

WPG

2.78

0.54

9.44

5.9

48.8

2010-2011 Season

MARKSTUART

ATL

1.95

1.14

5.12

11.4

46.1

2009-2010 Season

MARKSTUART

BOS

1.2

0.89

3.57

8

41.1

2008-2009 Season

MARKSTUART

BOS

1.19

1.23

7.41

3.7

45.7

2007-2008 Season

MARKSTUART

BOS

1.26

1.74

9.86

6.4

53.4

Average

1.676

1.108

7.08

7.08

47.02

Notes:

  • As noted in the 2011-12 analysis, Mark Stuart is not great at shot prevention on the PK. He was the worst of this bunch last year and his career numbers also show this to be true.
  • It is also interesting to note now Stu was used in Boston. As a Bruin, Stu never ranked higher than 6th in PK timeon ice per game. He was not leaned on to do heavy lifting on the PK until he moved to Atlanta. Results have been a mixed bag since.
  • Stu has posted some solid GA numbers in past years, especially in 2009-10, but it is worth noting that he was 7th on that team in PK time one ice per game that year and he only played 56 games. Be careful not to put too much into numbers with small sample sizes.
  • Stu was serviceable in a big minute PK role in 2010-11, but he hasn’t done much to prove he can handle though minutes on a regular basis.

Ron Hainsey

SEASON

NAME

TEAM

TOI/60

GF On/60

GA On/60

SF On/60

SA On/60

2011-2012 Season

RONHAINSEY

WPG

2.5

0

8.99

5.1

47.5

2010-2011 Season

RONHAINSEY

ATL

1.74

0.42

5.89

11.4

46.3

2009-2010 Season

RONHAINSEY

ATL

3.5

0.43

6.85

6

49.9

2008-2009 Season

RONHAINSEY

ATL

2.74

0.54

7.03

8.1

48.2

2007-2008 Season

RONHAINSEY

CBJ

1.5

1.53

8.69

14.8

36.3

Average

2.396

0.584

7.49

9.08

45.64

Notes:

  • Ron hasn’t had great PK numbers over the last five years either. That doesn’t surprise me as he was initially brought into Atlanta for his offence.
  • Mark Stuart and Ron Hainsey played together a lot last year. It should be no surprise that their numbers were similar.
  • Hainsey has historically played bigger minutes than Stu and performed similarly. He allowed fewer shots, but allowed goals at a slightly higher rate. It is also worth noting that bigger minutes usually means tougher opposition.
  • Hainsey’s goals against on per 60 minutes were out of whack when compared to his past numbers. Anticipate those numbers normalizing back towards 7.5 GA On/60 in the future.

Tobias Enstrom

SEASON

NAME

TEAM

TOI/60

GF On/60

GA On/60

SF On/60

SA On/60

2011-2012 Season

TOBIASENSTROM

WPG

1.15

0

9.24

10.9

44.5

2010-2011 Season

TOBIASENSTROM

ATL

0.76

2.2

5.5

8.8

46.2

2009-2010 Season

TOBIASENSTROM

ATL

0.43

1.7

1.7

13.6

56.1

2008-2009 Season

TOBIASENSTROM

ATL

3.27

1.79

9.19

9.2

44.1

2007-2008 Season

TOBIASENSTROM

ATL

3

0.98

6.6

6.6

42.5

Average

1.722

1.334

6.446

9.82

46.68

Notes:

  • Toby was paired with Stuart for almost all of his 2011-12 penalty kill ice time.
  • Toby’s usage has varied a lot. He led the team in shorthanded ice time in 2008-09 and was dead last in 2009-10. This makes his numbers hard to analyze.
  • Toby’s has done an excellent job of shot prevention on the PK, but the goals against numbers have fluctuated quite a bit. Could this be a result of being out muscled? Who knows. Consistency would be nice.
  • It may be worth giving Toby a little more shorthanded TOI, but Noel’s preference for specialized defensive pairings may prevent this from happening.

My Take on the Defenders:

Bogosian was the Jets most used penalty killer last year, but Stu and Hainsey weren’t far behind and neither of them performed particularly well. Based on their career numbers, I am inclined to believe that Hainsey can do better, but I have no idea what to expect from Stuart. Based on his 5 on 5 productions, I am not overly hopeful.

It will be interesting to see who eats up the remaining PK minutes next year. Toby will be the favourite to fill out the top four although Grant Clitsome may get some spot duty. I don’t expect Paul Postma or Dustin Byfuglien to be given too many tough minutes.

Forwards

In our analysis of the 2011-12 analysis penalty killing forwards, we noted how effective Alexander Burmistrov, Andrew Ladd and Nik Antropov were, but there was a substantial drop off after that. Bryan Little was ok at goal prevention, but allowed a lot of shots. Jim Slater, Chris Thorburn and Tanner Glass were terrible by both measures. Was this a case of one subpar player dragging their unit down? Let’s take a look!

Jim Slater

SEASON

NAME

TEAM

TOI/60

GF On/60

GA On/60

SF On/60

SA On/60

2011-2012 Season

JIMSLATER

WPG

2.14

0.36

10.07

3.6

48.9

2010-2011 Season

JIMSLATER

ATL

0.9

0

7.44

5.6

48.4

2009-2010 Season

JIMSLATER

ATL

1.61

0.61

6.12

11

52

2008-2009 Season

JIMSLATER

ATL

2.6

0.77

8.84

8.5

46.9

2007-2008 Season

JIMSLATER

ATL

1.2

1.44

10.83

5.1

46.2

1.69

0.64

8.66

6.76

48.48

Notes:

  • Jim Slater has been used fairly regularly on the penalty kill throughout his career, but has never excelled.
  • Jim’s career numbers (both shots and goals against) are the worst on this list, and this is a list of bad penalty killers. Is it unfair to suggest that Jim Slater is the worst regular penalty killer on the team?
  • One must assume Slater has been handed shorthanded minutes because of where he sits in the lineup, as it seems quite clear that he isn’t great at preventing goals or shots against.

Tanner Glass

SEASON

NAME

TEAM

TOI/60

GF On/60

GA On/60

SF On/60

SA On/60

2011-2012 Season

TANNERGLASS

WPG

1.73

0.44

7.55

4.4

50.6

2010-2011 Season

TANNERGLASS

VAN

1.04

0

8.66

7.1

37

2009-2010 Season

TANNERGLASS

VAN

0.77

2.33

9.31

8.2

32.6

1.18

0.92

8.51

6.57

40.07

Notes:

  • Glass was never particularly effective at preventing goals, but his shots against numbers in Vancouver were dang impressive.
  • It seems Glass is not very effective on the PK, but he has historically been better than Jim Slater. He isn’t likely the weakest link, but he didn’t much help the cause.

Bryan Little

SEASON

NAME

TEAM

TOI/60

GF On/60

GA On/60

SF On/60

SA On/60

2011-2012 Season

BRYANLITTLE

WPG

1.48

0.55

7.67

12

48.2

2010-2011 Season

BRYANLITTLE

ATL

1.65

1.91

8.12

13.4

47.7

1.57

1.23

7.90

12.70

47.95

Notes:

  • Little was not used on the PK in his first couple seasons, but has since taken on some big minutes.
  • Thus far Little hasn’t done much to prevent goals or shots, but he the team did generate a surprisingly high offensive shot totals with him out there.
  • Little hasn’t been great, but he has been better than Jimmy Slates.

Chris Thorburn

SEASON

NAME

TEAM

TOI/60

GF On/60

GA On/60

SF On/60

SA On/60

2011-2012 Season

CHRISTHORBURN

WPG

0.48

0

10.35

1.7

44.8

2010-2011 Season

CHRISTHORBURN

ATL

1.78

0

6.99

9

43.6

2009-2010 Season

CHRISTHORBURN

ATL

2.28

1.04

5.19

4.8

55.4

1.51

0.35

7.51

5.17

47.93

Notes:

  • Thor was used with Slater at the start of the season, but didn’t play much on the PK late.
  • His numbers in 2010-11 were pretty solid, but that is sandwiched between a year of terrible shot against and a year of terrible goals against.
  • It may not hurt to see a little more out of Thor in the future, but he probably shouldn’t be a top option.

My Take on the Forwards:

The numbers seem to indicate that Jim Slater is not effective on the penalty kill. This being the case, the team would be better served to give Antropov, Burmistrov, Ponikarovsky, Ladd or even Bryan Little a larger share of the shorthanded ice time.

Summary

It would be hard to pin the Jets PK struggles on the system as there were a few players that performed very well, unfortunately for the Jets, it was the team’s four worst penalty killers got the lion’s share of the ice time. Mark Stuart, Ron Hainsey, Jim Slater and Tanner Glass were among the worst on the team at preventing both shots and goals this year and those numbers are in line with what they have done historically.

If the team wants to improve the penalty kill the first thing they are going to have to fix is the penalty kill personnel. This will require roster additions or a significant restructuring of the minutes.

Jim Slater and Mark Stuart are often lauded for their "shutdown" ability, but there isn’t much in the way of statistical evidence to back this up. The reality is, a 3rd pairing defender and a should be 4th line centre probably shouldn't be doing a team’s heavy lifting. Whether changes com via system changes or personnel, fixing the penalty kill will go a long way towards improving the team. After all, the Jets were in playoff contention despite having the 5th worst PK in the league.

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