Comparing the Winnipeg Jets to Stanley Cup Winners between 2007-2012

Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

How do the 2012-13 Winnipeg Jets stack up against the last six Stanley Cup Champions?

Goals Versus Threshold (or GVT for short) is an imperfect stat, like all stats when used alone and without context. It has its uses and its faults. There have been multiple articles written on the pros and cons of GVT but I won't bore with the details.

I will say that I'm not the largest supporter of GVT. In fact, I don't even like it as a stat, to be honest. The statistic greatly favours the "what have you done for me lately" motif, fluctuates with the natural variance of shooting percentage and only appoints 75% responsibility on a goalie's save percentage. However, if you are a person that puts stock into plus/minus then this stat is everything.

It is the best (or least worst) indicator that we have for all-encompassing statistics that can be utilized across all player positions and it would take months to attempt to do this research with something more accurate like a shot-based metric.

So what exactly is GVT?

Goals Versus Threshold. Developed by Tom Awad 
of Hockey Prospectus, GVT measures a player's 
worth in comparison to a typical fringe NHL player. 
GVT has two major advantages over most metrics: it's 
measured in goals, which are easily equated to wins, 
and it is capable of comparing players across multiple 
positions and multiple eras. GVT is the summation of 
OGVT, GGVT, DGVT, and SGVT.

Essentially, GVT estimates how much a player improved his team's goal differential relative to what the average replacement player would have been able to accomplish that year.

GVT of Stanley Cup teams 2007-2012

NHL team lines tend to be very organic; changing throughout the season and even throughout a single game. You can safely estimate the approximate makeup of the team by looking at TOI, a players particular TOI with certain linemates and/or the common occurrence of particular line combinations.

The previous six Stanley Cup winners were Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, and the Los Angeles Kings.

With this in mind here is the GVT make up of the 2007-2012 Stanley Cup Winners:

2007 ANA 2008 DET 2009 PIT 2010 CHI 2011 BOS 2012 LAK AVG
1W 11.1 24.3 9.3 14.4 12.4 11.9 13.90
1C 15.0 24.0 18.7 17.1 9.0 14.6 16.40
1W 24.7 0.6 4.6 19.1 8.5 9.6 11.18
2W 6.9 9.6 9.3 5.4 8.6 2.2 6.85
2C 13.1 4.7 23.4 2.1 9.5 8.3 10.18
2W 8.1 7.4 -0.7 15.0 5.9 4.8 6.75
3W -0.8 9.9 2.8 1.9 4.7 0.7 3.20
3C 0.7 0.4 7.6 2.8 0.1 2.7 2.38
3W -3.9 7.4 7.6 9.4 0.6 -0.2 3.48
4W -0.5 7.5 2.7 3.2 0.0 0.3 2.20
4C 2.7 -0.9 -0.9 4.5 2.4 0.2 1.33
4W -0.4 0.4 4.9 2.8 1.6 0.6 1.65
1D 17.6 26.4 5.4 22.4 7.6 3.1 13.75
1D 6.8 19.2 2.5 11.1 4.7 9.8 9.02
2D 21.3 9.1 2.9 11.4 3.7 6.9 9.22
2D 4.0 2.3 6.4 6.2 1.5 12.1 5.42
3D -1.2 1.0 1.0 2.7 0.2 2.4 1.02
3D 0.3 6.3 3.2 2.7 4.7 7.2 4.07
1G 25.2 6.3 11.3 11.0 34.1 34.6 20.41
2G 3.0 -2.3 -0.8 -5.0 5.9 -0.1 0.12

Even with all its faults, GVT still highlights some things that the statistical community has pointed out before:

* No team has picture perfect depth as even the best team's have "holes" filled with sub-par players.

* Goaltending doesn't win you championships, but it is sure hard to win them without a semblance of competency between the pipes.

Keep in mind that these numbers insinuate a player's success in regular season for teams that were successful in the post-season. This means that GVT will ignore all hot streaks or cold streaks that occurred during the playoffs.

Now, break things down into a line-by-line chart:

2007 ANA 2008 DET 2009 PIT 2010 CHI 2011 BOS 2012 LAK AVG
1st line 16.9 16.3 10.9 16.9 10.0 12.0 13.8
2nd line 9.1 7.2 10.7 7.5 8.0 5.1 7.9
3rd line -1.3 5.9 6.0 4.7 1.8 1.1 3.0
4th line 0.6 2.3 2.2 3.5 1.3 0.4 1.7
1st D 12.2 22.8 4.0 16.8 6.2 6.5 11.4
2nd D 12.7 5.7 4.7 8.8 2.6 9.5 7.3
3rd D 4.8 2.5 2.7 2.1 3.7 -0.5 2.5
Forwards 6.3 7.9 7.4 8.1 5.3 4.6 6.6
Defense 7.1 10.7 3.6 9.4 3.7 6.9 7.1
Goaltending 14.1 2.0 5.3 3.0 20.0 17.3 10.3

Again, not much to this chart that hasn't been previously discussed aside from:

* Nicklas Lidstrom was (and probably still is) a legendary defenceman.

* The Penguins were very fortunate to have an All-Star tandem at centre in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

* Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer were a crazy good defensive pairing.

Now, don't burn too many brain cells trying to make in-depth comparisons between these teams. The bigger picture is to detect the trends (if any) between them. There is no player usage taken in mind with GVT, so if a fourth line forward on one team faces easier minutes than another, they could be equal in skill level but garner very different results.

With the forward and defensive averages, keep in mind that it is not weighted by TOI, but rather a strict regular average. Also, backups are rarely used in the playoffs so to calculate goaltending stats, it is suggested to go off of the originals and look at the starter and backup splits.

Winnipeg Jets 2012-13 GVT

The Jets' lineup used for this exercise was as follows:

Andrew Ladd Bryan Little Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane Olli Jokinen Antti Miettinen
Nik Antropov Alexander Burmistrov Kyle Wellwood
Eric Tangradi Jim Slater James Wright

Tobias Enstrom Dustin Byfuglien
Ron Hainsey Zach Bogosian
Grant Clitsome Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

This line combination was Claude Noel's most common top-six forward and top-four defencemen configurations. The rest were selected out of Noel's usage of said players, except Mark Stuart and Chris Thorburn, who omitted because I like bullying them and their numbers weren't that impressive anyway.

Jets SC Avg Diff
1st Line 12.4 13.8 -1.4
2nd Line 2.9 7.9 -5.1
3rd Line 4.3 3.0 1.3
4th Line 0.6 1.7 -1.2
1st D 10.2 11.4 -1.2
2nd D 5.6 7.3 -1.7
3rd D 6.2 2.5 3.7
Starter 0.5 20.4 -20.0
Backup -1.1 0.1 -1.2
Forwards 6.5 8.3 -1.7
Defense 7.3 7.1 0.2
Goalies -0.3 10.3 -10.6

These numbers are averages and taken with a bit of leeway. It would be a safe practice to place a bit more room with an imaginary +/- percent error.

Summary

What's can we decipher from these numbers?

  • Save for an underwhelming shooting percentage from Olli Jokinen and the terrible play of Antti Miettinen, the Jets' forwards were relatively decent given the standards set forth by Stanley Cup winners.
  • The trio of Nik Antropov, Alexander Burmistrov and Kyle Wellwood would have been a pretty good third line and probably could have done better than Kane-Jokinen-Miettinen as a second line (though not Kane's fault as his GVT is much higher than anyone else in the middle six).
  • Speaking of Kane, it's a damn shame that he'll be likely stuck with the lead anchor that is Olli Jokinen yet again next season.
  • Winnipeg's defence is really, really, really under appreciated by its fan base.
  • #TeamPavelec... that's ok, apparently Ondrej Pavelec would be as good as Tuukka Rask if he were in Boston... /sarcasm

As always, leave your comments and thoughts below...

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