Analyzing the development of the Winnipeg Jets

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

We look into the numbers to see how the Jets have performed over their last three seasons and try to make some predictions about where they are heading.

The Winnipeg Jets are in their third season since calling the Gateway to the West home. While the supporting cast has changed dramatically, the team's core has stayed largely the same. Many have stated that on paper the Jets have a far stronger roster with the alterations. In addition, Claude Noel and company have had three years to implement their preferred playing style and systems.

With all these factors, improvement should be an expectation. The Jets have reached the 20 game mark, which historically has been a good threshold for using shot metrics for evaluating team play and predicting future success. With that in mind, let's look at how the Jets have performed in five-on-five situations, which make up the vast majority of all gameplay.

First, we will look at the Jets' position within the thirty NHL teams for the most common 5v5 statistics.

The Raw Numbers

5v5 Goals Shots on Goal Non-blocked Shot Attempts Shot Attempts On-Ice Percentages

GF60 GA60 GF% SF60 SA60 SF% FF60 FA60 FF% CF60 CA60 CF% Sh% Sv% PDO
2011-12 12 23 17 10 14 10 7 17 10 11 18 13 20 23 23
2012-13 11 26 21 15 18 20 11 22 17 9 25 15 10 26 19
2013-14 9 22 16 4 26 15 4 24 15 7 19 15 16 13 13

* Note: numbers are rankings for Jets within the 30 teams

* All numbers are derived from extraskater.com or hockeyanalysis.com

As expected, the Jets have consistently been better offensively than defensively. We can't extract much information from the goal metrics as they are extremely muddied by the fluctuations of on-ice percentages from sampling space issues (which can be seen clearly when looking over the patterns). This is why we look at shot metrics.

Fenwick (non-blocked shot attempts) and Corsi (all shot attempts) are the best in this regard for indicating team strength; however, even these metrics have some issues; the main factor being score effects. Shot metrics have been noted to be dependent on the score, as teams try to hold onto leads and go into defensive shells.

To adjust for this, we look at the shot metrics while the score is close (within two goals).

Score-Close Numbers

5v5 Close Goals Shots on Goal Non-blocked Shot Attempts Shot Attempts

GF60 GA60 GF% SF60 SA60 SF% FF60 FA60 FF% CF60 CA60 CF%
2011-12 13 25 20 13 15 12 7 18 11 13 17 13
2012-13 5 15 6 17 17 21 10 24 16 8 26 16
2013-14 20 23 24 17 23 20 17 25 25 16 23 24

* Note: numbers are rankings for Jets within the 30 teams

* All numbers are derived from extraskater.com or hockeyanalysis.com

Score-close goal scoring and prevention becomes even less reliable than regular (which is already bad on it's own) due to sample sizing, but is still shown for interest. The shot metrics seem to indicate an interesting trend. While according to some the roster has improved and the coach's systems should be well installed, the overall results have trended down, and we're not just discussing this season.

For fun, let's average the positions for the Jets' three shot metrics, allowing a cleaner look at the trend.

Shot Metrics Trend For Against Overall
2011-12 11.0 16.7 12.0
2012-13 11.7 22.3 17.7
2013-14 16.7 23.7 23.0

* Note: numbers are the average of the rankings for Jets within the 30 teams

* All numbers are derived from extraskater.com or hockeyanalysis.com

Offensively, defensively, and overall, the Jets are not moving in the right direction. Some of the blame may be placed on the Jets' moving to a tougher division; however, the Jets on average have only faced a 51.9 Corsi%, which is above average, but not damning enough to be the sole and exclusive suspect.

So, what then?

Thoughts and Predictions

The Jets' overall results versus their goaltending has been uncharacteristic of previous seasons. One reason for this is the small sample size. While shot metrics are somewhat stable at this sample size and pretty predictive of future results, save percentage needs at least 5x shots against before it becomes extremely reliable.

The big questions, then, are whether or not the players' overall results will improve and will the improvement be enough to counter the likely (but not guaranteed) eventual regression of the Jets' goaltending to its historical average performance.

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