The Winnipeg Jets and the "Big Bad" Western Conference

Jeff Gross

Realignment is coming and the Winnipeg Jets are moving West. There has been a ton of talk about what this means and how the Jets will have to adjust when they move to the "bigger" Western Conference. This begs the question, How much bigger is the West? Turns out, it isn't.

The Winnipeg Jets will be changing conferences and with this change will come a whole new set of divisional opponents. Every division is different and being able to win games within your division will be the number one priority under the new playoff format. What will it take to win in the new Western Conference? Many have cited team size as a primary concern for Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. Is this a valid concern?

Teams Ranked by Size:

Conference Team HT HT Rank Wt WT Rank
East Maple Leafs 73.888889 1 207.14815 3
East Panthers 73.882353 2 204.58824 9
West Kings 73.875 3 210.75 1
West Jets 73.821429 4 206.39286 4
East Capitals 73.678571 5 206.32143 6
West Sharks 73.62069 6 208.75862 2
East Flyers 73.514286 7 201.62857 23
East Senators 73.40625 8 203.09375 13
East Lightning 73.393939 9 203.48485 12
East Sabres 73.310345 10 203.75862 11
West Ducks 73.241379 11 204.17241 10
West Blackhawks 73.241379 12 202.37931 17
West Oilers 73.214286 13 202.03571 20
East Bruins 73.2 14 202.4 16
East Penguins 73.193548 15 206.32258 5
West Coyotes 73.178571 16 202.75 14
East Blue Jackets 73.133333 17 202.33333 18
West Predators 73.125 18 201.875 21
East Rangers 73.060606 19 205.42424 7
East Hurricanes 73.057143 20 200.54286 28
West Canucks 73 21 201.58065 24
East Devils 72.909091 22 202.66667 15
East Islanders 72.88 23 201.76 22
West Stars 72.866667 24 200.6 27
East Red Wings 72.827586 25 201.10345 26
West Avalanche 72.821429 26 202.17857 19
West Wild 72.740741 27 201.48148 25
West Flames 72.59375 28 196.84375 30
West Blues 72.444444 29 205.07407 8
East Canadiens 72.37931 30 200.17241 29

Notes:

  • The numbers represent the average height and weight of everybody that dressed for these team.
  • Goalies were not included in this analysis.
  • The Jets are a pretty big team ranking 4th in both height and weight.
  • The Jets ranked 2nd in the East and would have ranked 3rd in the West this year.
  • The numbers used here include the likes of Kyle Wellwood, Antti Miettinen and Mike Santorelli who are likely gone.
  • On the whole, the Eastern Conference actually looks pretty big too.
    • The "Big Bad" Western Conference is actually smaller than the Eastern Conference.
    • The East is taller than the West on average.
    • The East is heavier than the West on average.
    • The Eastern Conference is BIGGER than the Western Conference.
    • EVERYBODY who talks up the size of the West is kinda out to lunch.
    • Storylines and narratives are fun, especially when they have no factual basis.
    • Eastern Conference's top 60 Centres are a little bit taller that those in the West.
    • The West is indeed a little bit heavier that the East by an average of 2 lbs.
    • All of these numbers are counting Winnipeg as a Western team, and Columbus and Detroit as Eastern teams.
    • This is a swap of one of the biggest teams for two smaller teams. The East is still bigger on average with them.
    • The Jets will be one of the biggest teams in the league and they will be moving to a smaller division.
  • To summarize these numbers:

    HT Rank WT Rank
    East 73.24 1 203.27 1
    League 73.19 2 203.23 2
    West 73.12 3 203.18 3

    Notes:

    But sometimes that narrative is about size down the middle...

    Well lets take a look at the average size of top 6 centres (based on TOI):

    HT Rank WT Rank
    East 72.98 1 197.08 2
    West 72.72 2 199.12 1

    Notes:

    One more for fun - The Jets old division compared to their new division:

    HT Rank WT
    South East 73.57 1 204.27 1
    Central 73.01 2 202.85 2

    Notes:

    Conclusion:

    Will the Jets have obstacles as they move West? Sure.

    Will the Jets obstacles be related to size? Probably not.

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