The Winnipeg Jets reached the halfway point of this shortened season this past Friday, and have actually crossed into the second half by playing their 25th game the other night in New Jersey. Yesterday I released my mid-point grades for Winnipeg Jets forwards, so today it's time to look at the back end.
Earlier this season, I put together the first quarter grades for the defense and goalies 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 again look at the defenseman and goalies to see 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.
Bogo has stepped right into the lineup and contributed, as he has taken on the toughest competition and performed very admirably. Some more offensive production would be nice, but until Toby returns I imagine his role will continue to be as the shutdown guy. I actually do wonder sometimes if he's being pulled down by Hainsey... Grade: B-
Buff has taken advantage of the return of Bogo, as he has been able to get away from the tougher assignments and his production has increased. The "Bustin" moments have few and far between, and he has chosen his spots much better as the season has gone on. The big guy is a good defenseman, whether you like him or not. Grade: A-
"New Guy", as TSN 1290 radio personality Rick Ralph calls him instead of other "colorful" nicknames, has scared me a fair amount this season with his questionable decisions in his own end. Still, his underlying numbers and boxcars would suggest that he has actually done a nice job this season. I'm as surprised as you are. Still, for a guy playing on the "top-pairing", you'd like to see him not be sheltered from tough competition like he has been. Grade: C+
Toby was injured in the game when I wrote the previous grades, and though he obviously hasn't done anything to change his number I bumped him up a grade. Why? Because the power-play has been an absolute embarrassment without him and he's still the leading scorer on the blue-line. Hurry back Toby, we miss you. A lot. Grade: A
Ron Hainsey is being forced to play above his head. I realize that. But does he have to be doing such a poor job? Ronny still doesn't have a goal on the season, and his CorsiOn is still the worst among all defenders. He is being relied upon for too many minutes against too tough of competition, which is apparent to me virtually every night, as I'm literally terrified whenever he and the puck is in the defensive zone. I'll give him credit for logging some important minutes, but if he can be moved at the deadline, I'm all for it. I hope Arturs Kulda is ready to play. Grade: D+
Hard to give Meech a grade after only one game, but Noel did get him out there against some tough competition last night so that's a positive. Grade: Incomplete
Paul Postma has found his way into the press-box, which is quite deserved as he has been a train-wreck defensively at time and has stopped producing offense as he's only added one assist since the quarter-pole. While his CorsiOn is still quite high, it is in very sheltered minutes, and if he isn't helping on offense I'm not sure he can help the team. Grade: D+
Poor Zach. The freak injury that almost cost him his life was just a horrendous break, and I'm sure we can all agree that we are just happy that he came through with his health. Sadly, from the hockey angle, we will miss his solid play for the rest of the year, as he did so much with his minutes against easy competition that it was ridiculous. Get well soon Zach! We're all rooting for a full recovery. Grade: B
Stu tripled his offensive totals with his two-point effort the other night, which is a nice bonus as that isn't what he's there for. Still, he's been losing the Corsi-battle against pretty average competition so that's a concern. His shot-blocking and toughness are intangibles that coaches love, but his stats do leave a lot to be desired and it's no surprise that he's found a home on the third-pairing. Grade: C+
Ondrej Pavelec was well on his way to another F at the midway point of the season, and it resulted in me writing this blog about why he isn't an elite goalie. Well, I should have gotten on him earlier apparently, as he has played very well in his last two games since and has helped pull his numbers back up into the "below-average" range as opposed to the "awful" range. He is literally the only reason the Jets got 3 points out of the last two game, and if he keeps up that pace than perhaps we can get into the conversation of "good" starting goalies. Perhaps. Grade: C-
Al has done a great job, and has proven to his coach that he can step in and win a game when he wants to give Pavelec a break. I wish he'd get into the cage a little more often, as he's done nothing except win games. And even though the sample size is smaller, his numbers are still better than Ondrej's on the season. I have a lot of confidence when he's in the net, which is high prize for a back-up, though he could easily be a 1-B. Grade: B
So, what do you think about the rankings? Do you agree? Disagree? What do you expect out of the goalies and defenders as we approach the trade deadline? Let us know in the comments section below.