The Jets currently have played 25 of their 48 games this season, and sport a 12-11-2 record. Let's have a look at how the forwards have done so far, shall we?
The Winnipeg Jets have now flown past the halfway point of their season, as they skated in their 25th game in last night's 3-2 shootout loss in New Jersey. It's now time to grade how the players have done so far on the year, only three and half weeks away from the trade deadline.
Earlier this season, I put together the first quarter grades for the forwards which you can see right here. Using both the basic stats of NHL.com and the advanced stats found at BehindTheNet, I've compiled the following charts from which to assign a grade. Today, we look at the forwards and how they've fared.
To those not familiar with the advanced stats that I'm using, here are brief descriptions about what the numbers represent (hat tip to behindthenet.ca):
- TOI/60: Time on Ice per 60 minutes.
- CorsiQoC: Average Corsi of opposing players, weighted by head-to-head ice time. The higher the number, the tougher the competition the player faced.
- CorsiOn: On-Ice Shot Differential (goals + saves + missed shots + blocks). This is expressed as a rate stat per 60 minutes. A positive number means that more shots were directed at the opponents net than on their own while that player is one the ice.
- OZS%: Offensive Zone Start % = Offensive Zone Starts / (Offensive Zone Starts + Defensive Zone Starts). Records where a player started his shift.
- PDO: PDO is the sum of "On-Ice Shooting Percentage" and "On-Ice Save Percentage" while a player was on the ice. It regresses very heavily to the mean in the long-run: a team or player well above 1000 has generally played in good luck and should expect to drop going forward and vice-versa.
It will be interesting to see what the Jets decide to do with Antro, as if it were up to the callers to TSN1290 he would traded for a bag of pucks. But his stats aren't actually that bad. His +7 is tied for the team lead, and though his offensive production leaves lots to be desired, he has gone up against tough competition (CorsiQoC of 1.79) and nearly battled them to a draw, Corsi-wise. He has done enough this season to ensure that he will have value at the deadline. Grade: C+
Oh, boy... Burmistrov was scratched for all but one shift in the final two periods last night, and has apparently taken over Kyle Wellwood's spot in Coach Noel's doghouse. I'm not sure why, as his underlying numbers are quite good. Obviously his boxcar stats are low and more production is needed, but his +6 rating is T-3 among the team and his 3.25 CorsiOn is 3rd among forwards if you include Peluso and his 5 games. He isn't a liability out there, yet was stapled to the bench last night. I hope that something good comes of this, but I fear that the worst-case scenario would be Burmi bolting for the KHL after all. Grade: B-
Olli has struggled this season, that's a given. His -11 is worst on the team, but so is PDO of 924 so it stands to reason that Jokinen has struggled with plenty of bad luck. His CorsiOn is just below zero so he's not getting dominated out there, but bigger things were expected out of the veteran Finn. Hopefully his luck will improve in the second half. Grade: C+
Evander Kane sure does like to shoot the puck, doesn't he? The NHL leader in shots has really picked up his game of late, as he's tied for the second on the team in scoring and has raised his CorsiOn into the positives against pretty good competition. Coach has been double-shifting the young star forward like crazy lately, and his production has gone up. Lots of positives to be found here. Grade: A
What more can you ask out of your captain? Averaging just under a point-per-game and leading the team in goals, he is also going up against the toughest CorsiQoC among the forwards and is still on the positive side of the CorsiOn battle despite his 48.5 OZS%. Fantastic stuff. Grade: A+
Bryan Little is tied with Antropov for the team lead in +/-, and is producing offense of late as Ladd's Little Wheeler has been on fire (last night notwithstanding). The difficult CorsiQoC, when combined with his low OZS%, allows me to give him a break for his -4.30 Corsi On. It is obvious that Noel likes to use him in the defensive zone, yet he's producing at the other end of the rink as well. I bet coaches like that. Grade: B+
Hard to get a read on poor Mittens, as he just came back from his second injury and hasn't had a chance to establish himself. He did add an assist last night, so that's good. And he didn't hurt himself, so that's better. Grade: C+
It's really too bad that Peluso busted up his hand while rearranging Aaron Volpatti's face. He appeared to have found a groove, as he added his first two NHL points and possessed a huge (and likely unsustainable) CorsiOn of 29.98(!). Sure, the competition was very weak and he started over 70% of his shifts in the offensive end, but it's still pretty impressive, small sample size or not. Get better soon Tony P. Grade: B
Jim Slater possesses the worst CorsiOn on the team, but his 29.7 OZS% should give you a good idea why as he spends most of the game taking draws in his own zone. It has become apparent though that Noel no longer uses him in a shutdown role as his CorsiQoC is pretty average, and his lack of offensive production is glaring. But his 54.3 FO% helps. Grade: C+
Eric Tangradi finally broke through and scored his first goal as a Jet a few nights ago, but until than he hadn't done much in the offensive zone. Well, anything at all. But his underlying numbers suggest that he's done an okay job. He'll need to provide more offense if he's to keep his job, as he was also benched for much of the game last night. Grade: D+
Chris Thorburn can take a punch in the face. That's about the only good thing I have to say about his play this year, as he hasn't done much else. It's very good that Noel has realized this though, as his place in the press-box is warranted. Any chance a team looking for "grit" would take him at the deadline? I sure hope so. Grade: F
#TeamWelly is back in the good books. After sitting those four games in the press box, Wellwood has returned and has looked much better. Still, in my opinion, he wasn't doing that badly before he was sat. His 9.35 CorsiOn against tough competition is second on the team (first if you remove Peluso), and he's done this with a >50.0 OZS% and a low PDO. I expect much more production out of Welly in the 2nd half. Grade: C+
Wheeler is having a weird year. He's second on the team in scoring, but second-last in +/-. His low PDO and tough competition likely have something to do with that, but he just doesn't seem like the same Wheeler that ended the season last year. He's been better of late, but as a pending RFA he'll need to do more to hit the big pay-day. Grade: B
I still like Wright, as his work on the PK and his overall heart and hustle are apparent. But what isn't apparent is why he is being used more and more, as his underlying numbers are poor. Against weak competition his CorsiOn is 3rd-worst on the team, and he's hardly helped fill the net with just one point on the season. His PDO is low, so hopefully he can add some offense or at least get his +/- back to even, but it bugs me that Wright gets a pass from the coach for lack of production but guys like Burmistrov and Wellwood get benched or scratched. Grade: C-
The Jets are currently 21st in the league with 2.52 goals per game, while their power-play is 28th at 13.5% and the penalty-kill is 27th at 76.9%. Despite all of that, they are only two points out of the 8th and final playoff spot and three points out of the division lead and home-ice. They are about where we thought they'd be.
So, what do you think about the rankings? Do you agree? Disagree? What do you expect out of the forwards as we approach the trade deadline? Let us know in the comments section below.