Through 23 games played the Winnipeg Jets have collected 23 of a possible 46 standings points and find themselves ranked sixth in the Central Division and eleventh in the fourteen team Western Conference. The Jets are also falling well behind in in the NHL's number one tie breaker, regulation and overtime wins (ROW) with 5 through 23 games.
The only teams with fewer ROW at this stage of the season are the embarrassing Buffalo Sabres, awful Florida Panthers and horrible Edmonton Oilers. To their credit, the Jets have managed to pull out wins in the shootout. This isn't a sustainable strategy, but the five bonus points are keeping them out to cellar.
Alas, here are the divisional standings:
- The Jets are number one in losses and seventh in ROW. That is ugly.
- The Jets are also number one in games played.
- It isn't listed here, but the Jets have a much better goal differential than Nashville. Minus 5 to minus 17.
- Their goal differential is still sixth in the division - only two teams are in the minus.
Early standings can be funny. Different teams have faced different opponents and not all opponents are created equal. The win totals in the Central are extremely high and the pacing at the top is a little ridiculous, but this will even out as Central division teams go head to head later in the season. Will this create some opportunity for the Jets? Perhaps. Let's break down the records a little and take a look.
First lets take a look at how central division opponents have fared versus their divisional rivals:
- Yuck. That's gross.
- If the Jets are going to make any headway in the division they need some divisional wins.
- The Jets lead the division in divisional games played and they have the worst record, so they don't have much room to rebound.
- The fact that most other teams have played very little within their division is a little refreshing. Somebody has to lose those games.
The Jets division is downright nasty. The teams at the top have been scary good. If the Jets are going to get back into the playoff picture it will probably have to be as a wild card. They will be competing with Dallas, Colorado and Pacific division teams. Competition will be fierce.
One more thing, if Stl, Chi, Min and Col aren't playing divisional games, who the heck are they playing?
The short answer is - The Eastern Conference:
- The Jets have played pretty well versus their Eastern Conference opponents - almost everybody has.
- The Jets have the fewest games played versus Eastern opponents. Perhaps this creates an opportunity.
- Chicago, Minnesota and Colorado have collected more than half of their standing points versus opponents from the East. That is weird.
All in all those numbers paint a pretty bleak picture, but are there any other numbers? Perhaps more encouraging numbers?
WARNING! WARNING! NERD ALERT!!
Time to take a look at the nerd stats - you know, the ones that tend to hold more predictive value.
|2||Los Angeles Kings||21||57.20%||56.30%|
|3||St. Louis Blues||19||56.70%||57.00%|
|5||New Jersey Devils||20||54.00%||53.20%|
|6||San Jose Sharks||21||53.50%||53.90%|
|11||Tampa Bay Lightning||20||50.80%||50.40%|
|13||Detroit Red Wings||21||50.20%||50.80%|
|14||New York Islanders||21||50.10%||49.80%|
|15||New York Rangers||20||50.00%||51.10%|
|24||Columbus Blue Jackets||20||47.10%||47.00%|
|29||Toronto Maple Leafs||20||43.30%||42.00%|
- The Winnipeg Jets look far better by shot metrics than they do by the standings.
- The Jets rank 18th in Corsi For Percentage (49.1%) and 20th in Fenwick For Percentage (48.1%) - both numbers are for close games situation.
- The Jets have also been surging of late. This side of their ugly loss to the Habs on October 15th the Jets have a CF% of 51.48% and a FF% of 50.39%. Of course this is me sampling selectively and perhaps creates an unfair sample, but the team appears to have improved from that point. I have no idea of the recent sample is more indicative of what the Winnipeg Jets really are, but it will be interesting to see if their upward trend can continue.
- The leagues top 3 Fenwick teams are all from the Central Division.
- Six of the top 7 Fenwick teams are from the Western Conference.
- Eight of the top 10 Fenwick teams are from the Western Conference.
- The Jets are 11th in Fenwick among Western teams with only Edmonton, Phoenix and Calgary behind them.
- The Western Conference sucks.
- More West versus West will perhaps even this out. Hopefully.
- Buffalo really sucks.
What does it all mean?