Alex Burmistrov, the Winnipeg Jets very own possession wizard

Bruce Fedyck-US PRESSWIRE

What do the numbers say about the Jets top secret top performer for possession? Read on to find out.

Just last Wednesday, we were privileged enough to experience what Claude Noel called one of Alexander Burmistrov's better games as a Jet. Not too long ago, MSM was establishing Burmistrov's trade value as rumours spread that he was possibly on his way out of town. Meanwhile, some here at Arctic Ice Hockey were trying to show his value to the team.

Now, three weeks after the trade deadline, we're seeing Burmistrov in an entirely different light, which begs the question: what radical changes has he made in his game?

Firstly, we'll defer to Coach Noel:

"That line had good chemistry. They were excellent. They really played well at both ends of the ice. They were dangerous in the offensive zone. They were really good in the defensive zone. I really trusted them a lot."

Sounds eerily similar to what we here have been saying here for a while. A solid possession game stemming from defensive self-awareness.

Now, what do the numbers say about Burmistrov's possession prowess?

As it currently stands, Burmistrov leads the team in raw Corsi and RelCorsi. For those who are new to the realm of advanced statistics, Corsi is a differential stat much like plus-minus, except that it accounts for all shot attempts and that is per a unit of time -- thus levelling the playing-field between those getting first and fourth line minutes. Over a large enough sample size, this can then estimate possession time and scoring chances.

What's really interesting is Burmistrov's ability to improve the play of those around him. Line-mates Eric Tangradi and Mike Santorelli now rank in Winnipeg's top four for both of the previously mentioned stat categories. Even more impressive was his affect on Chris Thorburn. Thorburn has never previously been a possession positive player in his career; in fact, Chris started of this season in the NHL's bottom 20, which was similar where he placed last season. The real question then is: are these examples of outliers or is the norm?

Burmistrov's WOWY (with or without you)

Player TOI With CF% TOI Without CF%
Evander Kane 191 0.50 477 0.50
Nik Antropov 146 0.51 359 0.48
Alexei Ponikarovsky 93 0.59 331 0.54
Kyle Wellwood 87 0.55 329 0.51
Eric Tangradi 74 0.60 239 0.49
Olli Jokinen 62 0.48 530 0.49
Andrew Ladd 50 0.65 551 0.51
Chris Thorburn 46 0.57 163 0.50
Bryan Little 39 0.57 570 0.49
Blake Wheeler 28 0.52 581 0.49
Mike Santorelli 27 0.64 267 0.50
Mark Scheifele 18 0.73 24 0.36

All numbers are from http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/

Some Extra Thoughts and Points

  • The difference seems significant, although I haven't run any tests to determine if it is statistically significant (stay tuned for this).
  • Regardless, it's no secret that his teammates seems to play better with Burmistrov than without.
  • Burmistrov's affect on the team has been consistent throughout the season.
  • The exception to this math seems to be Jokinen, who may be more deserving of the demotion Burmistrov has received a few times.
  • Worse yet, Kane only has 7 points in 434 minutes and is well in the negatives for +/- (GF% 0.35) with Jokinen. Conversely, he has 9 points in 191 minutes and is a very solid positive for +/- (GF% 0.82) with Burmistrov.
  • It will be interesting to see what if the return of Nik Antropov triggers the return of #Noelogic, which buried Alexander deep on Winnipeg's depth chart.
  • There was a TOI sample size cutoff which Scheifele didn't meet, but I put him in just for giggles and interest.
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